Defending Champs China Advance At World Cup of Pool

He-wen Li and Jian-Bo Fu

DEFENDING World Cup of Pool Champions China survived an early scare to advance into the last 16 at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam following an 8-6 win over India.
Represented by He-wen Li and Challenge of Champions winner Jianbo Fu, it looked an easy task against versatile cueman Alok Kumar and the inexperienced Summit Talwar.
Talwar, who was making his World Cup debut, gave it too much on his break shot as the cue ball flew off the table to give China ball-in-hand.
However, a missed green six from Fu helped the Indians to a 1-0 lead, which then became 2-0 when Fu again failed to pot an effort, this time on the 2-ball.
But the Indians were having problems with their break and a dry break in the third brought the Chinese team to the table. They finished off that rack and then won the next for a 2-2 scoreline.
They shared the next four racks for 4-4 before a 7-9 combination from Fu in the fifth restored the Chinese lead. India pulled it back to 5-5 and then China won the 11th but another dry break, the fourth in 12 racks, kept things alive.
A two-rail escape on a snooker from He-wen Li was unsuccessful and he was then unlucky to scratch on another shot at the 2-ball.
India clinched that rack but China moved to the hill by sealing the 13th. The winner's break format meant China were shooting for the match.
The 1-ball was deposited on the break, the two soon followed and a 3-9 combination from He-wen Li was enough to move holders through to the last 16 where they will meet the Swiss pair of Marco Tschudi and Dimitri Jungo.
The pairing from Switzerland overcame Hong Kong's Lee Chenman and Kenny Kwok in a mistake-filled match.
Switzerland won the lag and Dimitri Jungo nearly secured the first golden break of the tournament. However, no balls fell to gift Hong Kong a golden opportunity. Kenny Kwok downed the 1-ball but Lee Chenman, who was part of the Hong Kong side that reached the quarter-finals in 2006, missed a simple looking 2-9 combination.
Switzerland made no errors with a similar shot for an early lead. However, in a nervous opening from both sides, a Swiss mistake brought Hong Kong to the table in the second and it was 1-1.
In an error-strewn start, an ambitious effort at the brown seven from Kwok missed its target and Tschudi then made it 2-1 to Switzerland.
Switzerland took the fourth for 3-1 but Tschudi left the 8-ball on in the next and Hong Kong pulled one back for 3-2.
But a 4-9 combination from Jungo restored the two-rack advantage before Chenman scratched to give Switzerland ball-in-hand and within minutes it was now 5-2.
Hong Kong won the next two and Kwok secured the first golden break of the tournament as the 9-ball went straight in from its spot.
The tenth went Switzerland's way as did the 11th, courtesy of the best shot of the competition so far with a fine 3-9 billiard from Dimitri Jungo.
He then had an opportunity to win the match in the next but missed when trying to send the 9-ball into the top corner pocket. Kenny Kwok made it 5-7 but a poor break, which saw the cue ball crash into the pocket with the 9-ball hanging over another pocket, gifted the victory to Switzerland. Marco Tschudi completed the formality of the 1-9 combination.
In the final match of the afternoon session, Finland, who so nearly won this event last year, fell at the first hurdle as they went down 8-4 to the Korean duo of Young-hwa Jeong and Woong-dae Kim.
The Finnish pair of Markus Juva and Mika Immonen didn't enjoy the best of fortune but some confident shot-making from their opponents told in the end.
Finland, the eighth seeds, had been pre-match favourites but at one stage trailed 4-0 and then 5-1. Despite a fight back that saw the score move to 5-4, the Koreans were too good on the day to secure an 8-4 win, with victory coming courtesy of a golden break.