Jian To Face Lai in Final Snooker Showdown

New York's Jian Qiang Wang pictured at the Championship

New York's Jian Qiang Wang scored a fantastic 4-1 semifinal defeat over the defending champion and number one seed Jack Kung to book his place in the final of this year's United States National Snooker Championship, where he will take on the former twice champion and number two seed George Lai at the Embassy Billiards Club in San Gabriel, California.

Jian stated his early claim to this prestigious title as he won Group B in the round robin stage ahead of the former champion Paul Kimura, and has only lost one frame in the knockout stage in progressing to the final.

In the last-16 he faced Chris Sheerin from Las Vegas and comfortably advanced into the quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory, where he would then take on his fellow New Yorker Henry Wong.

Wong has worked hard at improving his snooker over the past few years, and has competed well during this Championship in reaching his first quarterfinal. He ran Jian close in the first frame as he narrowly lost it on the final colored balls, but Jian then went onto easily secure the following two frames to record a 3-0 success.

Up against Kung in the semifinals, Jian's run of 33 assisted in winning the first frame and he then went 2-0 ahead by pinching the next frame on the final black ball.

The Californian sealed the third frame to open his semifinal frame account, but Jian restored his two-frame lead by securing frame four on the final colored balls.

Jian finished off the match to defeat the favorite for the Championship, by winning the fifth frame helped by a break of 35 and advancing into his first final.

Lai's passage to the final in the knockout stage had been a little more difficult than Jian's, as he came through his last-16 match against California's Jeff Szafransky 3-1.

He then had to face the former champion Ajeya Prabhakar in the quarterfinals, who was always going to give him a tough competitive match.

Prabhakar, who lost in the quartfinals last year to the eventual champion Kung, ran Lai close in the first frame but went onto level the match by capturing frame two.

Lai then went 2-1 up over the San Jose, California, resident but was again pegged back to 2-2, to take the tie into a tense final frame.

In a close fifth frame, it was Lai who went onto prevail in this battle of the former champions as he went onto seal it on the final colored balls by a scoreline of 55-43.

For the second successive year Lai had to play against New York's Raymond Fung, who he defeated in the quarterfinals 3-0 last year.

Fung, who plays at the Prince Snooker Club in Brooklyn, came back from a 2-0 deficit in the quarterfinals against Tom Kollins to win 3-2 for the right to play Lai in this year's semifinals.

Both of the first two frames went down to the final colored balls and were shared, but from that moment on Fung struggled in the tie.

Lai won frame three and then with a break of 52 he then forged into a 3-1 advantage.

The Las Vegas resident then secured his fourth appearance in a United States National Snooker Championship final by winning the following frame for a 4-1 success.

The race-to-five-frames final between Lai and Jian will commence at 1pm Pacific Time at the Embassy Billiards Club on Sunday, May 25.

Knockout Draw Results:

Jack Kung (California) def. Ruan Zhi Ming (California) 3-1
Cheang Ciing Yoo (Washington) def. Henry Nogiec (Nevada) 3-2
Henry Wong (New York) def. Michael Chan (California) 3-1
Jian Qiang Wang (New York) def. Chris Sheerin (Nevada) 3-0
Raymond Fung (New York) def. Sridhar Shrinivasan (Pennsylvania) 3-0
Tom Kollins (Illinois) def. Paul Kimura (California) 3-0
Ajeya Prabhakar (California) def. Christopher Szarek (Illinois) 3-0
George Lai (California) def. Jeff Szafransky (California) 3-1

Kung def. Cheang 3-0
Jian def. Wong 3-0
Fung def. Kollins 3-2
Lai def. Prabhakar 3-2

Jian def. Kung 4-1
Lai def. Fung 4-1