World Cup of Pool – Asian Domination Continues In Rotterdam

Keng Kwang Chan celebrates with a fan

THERE WAS more success for Asian teams at the 2007 World Cup of Pool both Singapore and China advanced to the quarter-finals, beating Austria and France respectively with a pair of solid performances.

There was joy too for the Canadian pairing of Alain Martel and Edwin Montal as they cruised past Korea to make the last eight.

Four of the five quarter finalists to date are from Asia and with the big guns of Taiwan scheduled to meet the minnows of Belgium later tonight, that could well become five out of eight.

The best performance of the day came from the Singapore duo of Chan Keng Kwang and Toh Lian Han who barely put a foot wrong in their dismantling of Austria.

In fairness to the Austrian pair of Martin Kempter and Albin Ouschan spent vast parts of the match as spectators as the classy Singaporeans broke and ran four racks on the spin to take an early 5-0 lead.

At last, the Austrians got back to the table in the sixth and Ouschan made a great pot on the 2 ball to give his side a chance. They took it well as they ran through the balls to open their account.

A crafty safety battle ensued in the next before Ouschan jumped out of trouble but left the 1 ball on. In stroke, the Singaporeans made no mistakes as they ran out to take the score to 6-1.

There was more safety in the next before Ouschan opened up the rack by potting a long blue and from there, they cleared up to get to 6-2.

Kempter was the villain of the piece in the next as he missed an easy 7 ball and left it perfectly for Team Singapore who made no mistakes to get to the hill at 7-2.

Chan threw Austria a lifeline in the next as he scratched on the break as he lost control of the cueball to gift ball in hand to his opponents. Oushan though showed it wasn't be the Austrians day as he missed the orange 5.

That was it as Singapore cleared the table to secure their spot in the last eight.

CHINA AND France enjoyed a ding dong battle that swung from team to team before the Chinese pair of Li He-wen and Fu Jian-bo closed it out as they took the final two racks for an 8-6 win.

China took the early lead as the French pair of Vincent Facquet and Stephan Cohen mixed quality play with glaring errors but they bedded in and at 5-5 they had very chance.

The French went on top in the 11th game as a magnificent long ball from Facquet set up the rack for a run out as France took the lead for the first time.

Facquet fired home a decent break in the 12th game to leave a shot on the 1 ball. The problem lay with the 5 ball which was locked up with the brown 7. Cohen tried to break the balls up as he pocketed the 3 ball but ended up snookering his colleague.

Facquet missed the two rail escape to give ball in hand to the Chinese and they made no mistakes to take the score to 6-6.

Li hooked himself in the jaws of the pocket, screwing back off the 3 ball for position on the 5, forcing Li to go off the bottom rail. He made contact but left a long one on for Cohen, but the Frenchman drew the cue ball right back into the corner pocket.

With ball in hand, Team China got to the hill at 7-6. The last rack was a formality for Li and Fu as they broke and ran out to book a quarter-final berth against Team Philippines on Saturday.

CANADA OVERCAME some shaky moments before they asserted themselves to run out comfortable winners over the South Korea pair of Ryu Seung-woo and Kim Woong-dae.

The Canadian pair of Alain Martel and Edwin Montal enjoyed good fortune throughout as missed balls drifted into opposite pockets and cue balls rolled up behind intervening balls.

At 4-2 ahead and with nerves creeping in, the game could have gone either way as Montal over ran the white going from 8 to 9 but Martel made a great shot to take the rack and increase the lead to 5 - 2.

Martel was looking in great shape and made up for his team mate's nerves. However, there was even more good luck for Team Canada in the seventh as Martel tried to force the 8 ball to get onto the 9 but it rattled the jaws only to roll across table and drop into the opposite bag.

Montal deposited the 9 ball to give his team a four rack lead at 6-2. There was a ball in hand opportunity in the next and Canada made no mistake, assisted by some good fortune, to reach the hill at 7-2.

Yet more good luck followed the Canadians in the next as Martel missed the 1 ball but saw the cue ball lock up behind the 2 ball.

Kim missed the basic one rail escape and with another ball in hand the Canadian pair of Alain Martel and Edwin Montal completed the run out for a comfortable 8-2 victory.

Canada 8 - 2 Korea
China 8 – 6 France
Singapore 8 - 2 Austria