Final Fields Decided in China Open

(Shanghai, China)--Chinese women pool players are massively popular throughout China, loved not just for their sporting prowess on the pool table, but also for a certain demeanor beloved by the local culture, including plenty of sweet charm, humbleness and their decidedly demure ways.

And tonight the home country contingent gave their legions of fans plenty to feel good about as eight Chinese women players stormed into the knockout round of 16 as the 2011 China Open 9-ball moved into the business end of things at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium in suburban Shanghai.

In the men's event held simultaneously inside the modern, cavernous arena, the field of 68 players from all corners of the globe has finally been whittled down to 32 for the single elimination knockout stage beginning Saturday.  Plenty of big names were sent packing, but the remaining players comprised lots of the games stars and a few surprise entries promising a knockdown, drag out slugfest on the road to the title. Among those moving on to the single elimination stage were Finland's Mika Immonen, China's Fu Jan Bo, Germans Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann, Chinese Taipei's Chang Jun Lin, and Shane Van Boening of the USA.

And while the men's event will surely produce plenty of fireworks, the local crowd here in Shanghai will surely be geared up for their favorite ladies. Defending champion Siming Chen, only 17 years old and already considered one of the best they've ever produced in China, fell to Ireland's Karen Corr early on Friday, but eventually clawed her way into the final 16 with a hard fought  victory over fellow teammate Bai Ge.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came from local Shanghai player Ren Qiuyue. The 37 year old came through the brutally tough qualifiers earlier in the week, and tonight found herself in a do or die match on national television against Korean star Ga Young Kim. The always popular Kim, who had just fallen to China's Han Yu, would normally be a crowd favorite in China, but in this prime time match she found herself on the opposite end of the fans affection. With the crowd strongly behind her, Ren raced out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back. She advanced to the knockout stage with a convincing 7-1 victory. 

It was looking to be a total onslaught from the home team on Friday night until Great Britain's Kelly Fisher stemmed the tide for the foreigners by knocking out China's Zheng Xiaochun 7-4 and advancing to the final 16.  Jasmine Ouschan had a productive day. The Austrian star had lost her first match on day 1, then roared back with three straight victories today to grab a spot in the sweet 16.

Perhaps the biggest match of the day was Korea's Yu Ram Cha against Pan Xiaoting. Pan, known throughout China as “The Queen of 9-ball” draws adoring crowds and camera clicking media wherever and whenever she plays.   Pan, though, appears to not be the talent she once was as she struggled throughout the night.  Cha dominated the match and advanced with a 7-4 win. Pan then headed for an outside table where she got eliminated  by Chinese Taipei's Chou Chieh Yu.

The final 16 women will now play race to 9, alternate break. All but two players will be eliminated on Saturday and the final will be played on Sunday afternoon.

All the matches in the men's event Friday night were sudden death and as could be expected there were plenty of dramatic moments inside the arena.  Germany's Thorsten Hohmann found himself down 8-6 in a race to 9 to Britain's Karl Boyes only to storm back to win 9-8. On an adjoining table, the Philippines Lee Van Corteza battled toe to toe with China's Wu Hao and held on to advance 9-8. 

One of the biggest surprises of the tournament has been the performance of the men from Vietnam. Three Vietnemese players,  Luong Chi Duong, Vu Trong Khai, and Nguen Phuc Long all moved on to the round of 32. 

In a matchup of two of the games' biggest stars, Ralf Souquet easily defeated Francisco Bustamante 9-5. Former World 9-ball champion Ronnie Alcano advanced with a 9-5 over Han Hao Xiang of China.

The field of 32 will be cut to the final four on Saturday, with all matches race to 11, alternate break. 

The third annual China Open 9-ball tournament is offering a total prize fund of $275,000 with $162,800 for the men, and $112,800 for the women. 

The World Pool Association(WPA) will be providing live scoring for the remainder of the tournament. Up to date brackets are also available by clicking the “Live Scoring/Results” icon and scrolling down to the brackets link.

Dennis Orcullo(PHL)
Kenny Kwok(HKG)
Kuo Po Cheng(TPE)
Lee Van Corteza(PHL)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Ralf Souquet(GER)
Liu Wei(CHN)
Corey Duel(USA)
Neils Feijen(NED)
Chan Keng Kwang(SIN)
Fu Chei Wei(TPE)
Antonio Lining(PHL)
Ahmad Taufiq Bin Murni(BRU)
Mika Immonen(FIN)
Chris Melling(GBR)
Liu Haitao(CHN)
Fu Jan Bo(CHN)
Chang JunG Lin(TPE)
Wang Ming(CHN)
Yukio Akakariyama(JPN)
Scott Higgins(GBR)
Vu Trong Khai(VIE)
Nguen Phuc Long(VIE)
Shane Van Boening(USA)
Wang Can(CHN)
Ko Pin Yi(TPE)
Darren Appleton(GBR)
Hsu Kailun(TPE)
Huang Yong(KOR)
Zhang Yulong(TPE)
Ronnie Alcano(PHL)
Luong Chi Duong(VIE)


Chen Siming(CHN),
Han Yu(CHN)
Gao Meng(CHN)
Ren Qiuyue(CHN)
Fu Xiaofang(CHN)
 Li Ja(CHN)
Chen Xue(CHN)
Liu Sha sha(CHN)
Jasmin Ouschan(AUS)
Kelly Fisher(GBR)
Yu Ram Cha(KOR)
 Karen Corr(IRE)
Liu Shin Mei(TPE)
Chou Chieh Yu(TPE)
Akimi Kajatani(JPN)
 Lim Yun Mi(KOR),