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Pin-Yi Ko for the men and Si Ming Chen for the women win All-Japan Championships

Pin Yi Ko (File photo courtesy of Matchroom Sport)

Home field advantage did not appear to be a factor in the 44th Annual  All-Japan Championships held from November 14-20 in Amagasaki, Japan. Emerging undefeated from the men’s field of 128 players was Pin-Yi Ko from Chinese Tapei, who faced Jia Qing Wu from China in the finals.  In the Ladies event, it was China’s Si ming Chen who worked her way through the field of 48 female entrants.

The initial field included US Open 9-Ball Championship winner Darren Appleton, and US players Hunter Lombardo and Shane Van Boening. Among those representing the Phillippines were Dennis Orcollo, Lee Van Corteza and Antonio Lining. Germany was represented by both Thorsten Hohmann and Ralf Souquet. Alex Pagulayan from Canada was on hand, too, as was Finland’s Mika Immonen. The original field of 128 played a double elimination format until half of the competitors were gone, at which point, the event became a single elimination race to the finish line.

By this point, only Hohmann and Lining among the group above had been eliminated. The others were grouped in four separate brackets of 16, each. The eventual winner, Pin-Yi Ko was in a group of 16 with Mika Immonen. Ko’s eventual finals opponent, Jia Qing Wu was in a group of 16 with Souquet, Lombardo, and Appleton. Pagulayun, Van Boening, and Van Corteza were in another group, while Orcollo was in another.

Appleton defeated Japan’s Hironori Tojo 10-5 and Allen Cuertero of the Philippines 10-7 to move among the event’s final 16. Souquet, in the same bracket got by Japan’s Kazuki Nishimura 10-4, but was defeated by China’s Han Hao Xing, who had just eliminated Lombardo 10-4. Wu Jaixing, in the meantime, destined for the finals, got by Hong Kong’s Bobby Lee 10-4 and Japan’s Toshiyuki Wada 10-5.

Pagulayun got by Japan’s Kiyoshi Suzuki 10-3 and Hidetaka Kitatani, also of Japan, 10-7 to move among the final 16. He was joined by Van Boening, who’d defeated Shintaro Saito 10-2 and Ryoji Aoki 10-4 (both from Japan). Van Corteza defeated countryman Vareriano Pajuay 10-1, but fell to Japan’s Yoshihiro Kitatani 10-8.

Immonen moved among the final 16 with victories over Filipino Roel Esquillo 10-4 and Singapore’s Kenny Kwok 10-5. Pin-Yi Ko advanced with victories over  Katsuji Teruya 10-2 and Yukio Akagariyama 10-5 (both from Japan). Orcollo fell to Japan’s Hiroshi Takenaka 10-7.

Of those listed, only Van Boening survived the cut down to the final eight players. He defeated Pagulayan 10-6 to remain in the hunt. Appleton fell to the eventual second place finisher Jia Qing Wu 10-6, while Immonen was dropped by Chinese Taipei’s Chang Jung-Lin 10-6.

Van Boening fell 10-6 to Chinese Taipei’s Chang Yu-Lung in the round that narrowed the field to four. Wu Jiaxing defeated countryman Liu Hai Tao 10-3, while Pin-Yi Ko shutout his countryman from Chinese Taipei Jung-Lin Chang. Last among the event’s final four was Takenaka, the last competitor from the host country, who’d eliminated Toru Kuribayashi 10-6.

The semifinal matchups saw Ko defeat Takenaka 10-4, while Jia Qing eliminated Yu-Lung 10-7. Ko completed his undefeated run with a 10-4 victory over Jia Qing to capture the 44th Annual All Japan Championship Men’s event.

China’s Chen Siming continued the non-home field advantage by emerging victorious from the field of women. She bested Japan’s Junko Mitsuoka  9-4 in the finals. From among the event’s final 16, Siming had defeated Japan’s Chihiro Kawahara  9-7, and then defeated Xiao-Ting Pan 9-8 to advance to the finals. Mitsuoka had gotten by countrywoman Midori Akamatsu 9-4, and then defeated two opponents from Chinese Taipei – Yuan-Chun Lin, 9-6 and then, Ya-Ting Chan 9-6 – for the right to face Siming in the finals.