King Kung Advances into Snooker Championship Last-16

Defending champion Jack Kung has cruised into the last-16 knockout stage of this year's United States National Snooker Championship, as the number one seed won all of his five Group A matches at the Embassy Billiards Club in San Gabriel, California.

Kung, from Monterey Park in California, won his first three matches 3-0 over Chris Sheerin from Las Vegas, Tommy Chen of New York and Michigan's Charles Looney respectively.

Kung was then tested thoroughly by Tom Kollins from Chicago in his next match, as he secured the tie with two narrow frame wins before the five-times former champion claimed the final frame for a 2-1 success.

Kung was up against the champion of 2000, Ajeya Prabhakar, in his final Group match which was to decide the Group champion, and he lost the first frame before going onto take the match 2-1 in what was a very tight encounter.

The twice former champion George Lai also claimed the top spot in Group B, but he also had to play a final Group match shoot-out to determine his place.

After winning his three initial Group matches 3-0 respectively over Patrick Gui Gui of California, Sridhar Shrinivasan of Pennsylvania and New York's Marlin Lee, Henry Wong of New York took the lead over the number two seed in their match, before breaks of 58 and 38 helped Lai take the following two frames for a 2-1 victory.

The 1997 and 2005 champion then found his form against an undefeated Henry Nogiec in their final Group match, as Lai fired in two breaks of 55 on the way to a routine 3-0 success

Number three seed Raymond Fung did not have the best of starts to his Championship challenge, as the 2004 runner-up from New York suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of California's Jeff Szafransky, who recently traveled to the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, England, to receive coaching.

After that shakey start, Fung followed up with a 3-0 defeat of Arizona's Wayne Tang and then respective 2-1 victories over California's Michael Chang and Washington state's Cheang Ciing Yoo.

Fung won Group C by completing a 3-0 win in his final Group match over Pravin Patel of Texas, helped by consistent runs of 37, 34 and 39.

There was also a nervous start by the number four seed in Group D, Paul Kimura of California.

The 2006 champion lost to New York's Jian Qiang Wang 2-1 in his first Group match, though won his second match 3-0 over New Jersey's Jo Ong which was a tie that was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests.

Kimura followed that up with a 2-1 win over Chicago's Christopher Szarek, and then in his fourth Group match claimed another 2-1 win this time over California's Nick Tong.

However, despite winning his final Group match 3-0 over Ruan Zhi Ming of California, that first match defeat cost him the Group's top spot as his conqueror Jian went onto win the Group by virtue of a superior frame difference.

Szarek finished on an identical Group record to Kimura, but was demoted to third place as he lost their Group encounter, however he still advances into the last-16.

The Championship now moves into the critical last-16 knockout stage (see below for full draw details), with the number one seed Kung taking on Ruan Zhi Ming.

Number two seed Lai faces Szafransky, while number three seed Fung will meet Shrinivasan.

Number four seed Kimura will match up against Kollins in a battle of the former champions, with the winner of that encounter up against the winner of Fung's match in the quarterfinals.

Last-16 matches are played over the best-of-five-frames with the first four matches scheduled to start at 12pm Pacific Time, and the remaining four matches at 2:30pm Pacific Time.

The quarterfinal matches are also played over the best-of-five frames and are all scheduled to start at 5pm Pacific Time.

Should the top four seeded players win their groups, they will be on course to meet each other in the semifinals, played over the best-of-seven-frames, which are scheduled to start at 7:30pm Pacific Time.

The best-of-nine-frames final will commence at 1pm Pacific Time on Sunday, May 25.

Last-16 Knockout Draw (Best-of-five-frames)

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