German Champions Trounced in Manila

Thorsten Hohmann was just one of the Germans to fall on the TV Table Wednesday

The television matches on Wednesday were not kind to the German contingent of heroes. The first match to unfold on the show table found 2003 World 9-Ball Champion Thorsten Hohmann favored to emerge victorious over young Filipino upstart Jericho Benares. Benares had begun his week with an unimpressive loss to Stevie Moore of the USA. Moore dominated the match and won easily 9-4. He had then beaten his countryman Elvis Calasang 9-3 to lift his spirit going into his final opportunity in the group stages against Hohmann.

Hohmann had opened his campaign with a 9-5 win over Albin Ouschan of Austria. But then he seemed to lose form against Mark Gray of the UK and lost an unimpressive match to Gray 9-8 in a contest that seemed to hinge on who made the fewest errors rather than who played the best.

This led to the do or die situation that both players faced on Wednesday. Again, Hohmann simply could not find his game. The break shot seemed a total stranger to him and he often found himself forced into push-outs or safeties to begin his racks. Benares, on the other hand, showed moments of greatness but could not maintain consistency and kept giving Hohmann opportunities that would not be converted into wins. In the end, Benares claimed the win with a calculating 9-7 performance that allowed him to progress to the final field of 64.

The second mach under the lights featured Austrian superstar Jasmin Ouschan in a similar win-or-go-home situation against Thomas Engert.  Engert found himself in this dire situation owing to a week in which his confidence never surfaced. He suffered a surprising loss (9-7) in his first round against Farhad Shaverdi of Iran. He then squeaked by Oscar Dominquez of the USA (9-8) to gain entrance to his final-chance match against Ouschan.

Jasmin had a great start to her week when she defeated the current Women's World 9-Ball Champion Lin Yuan-Chun of Chinese Taipei 9-6. But then Roman Hybler of the Czech Republic sent her to the dramatic side of the charts 9-5 where she entered the match with Engert.

Early on it appeared that Engert would have little problem advancing. He was controlling the games and led 2-0 in the race to 9 while Jasmin struggled to the point of going errant on a ball-in-hand attempt that rattled out when she over-cheated the side pocket. But Ouschan regrouped after this and from there on out she displayed the form that is rapidly converting her to the biggest sensation the game has known in many years. Once she took the lead in the match she simply never gave Engert any air at all and took advantage of break shots that left her dominating rack after rack. By the time she got to seven racks she was treating the table like a loyal servant. Her cue ball was on a string and every shot split the heart of the pockets. That was not the only heart she split. Engert appeared to put so much pressure on himself to perform that his game deserted him. When the final 10-ball dropped Ouschan had proven her case for equal respect with a 9-4 drubbing and the arena was simply abuzz with praise for her powerful game and her charming manner. Jasmin Ouschan is proof positive that beauty and power can ally into a devastating force that disarms opponents and wins over fans. She may yet prove to be the Great White Hope for pocket billiards to surge back into the limelight it once knew.