World Pool League Final Four Set

Po-Cheng Kuo

Session Five - Sunday October 16 2005

Alex Lely (Ned) 3 - 7 Francisco Bustamante (Phi)

Francisco Bustamante sealed his semi-final spot with victory over Alex Lely in the final round of group matches at the World Pool League in Warsaw, Poland.

Lely had endured a disastrous weekend - losing all five of his matches, looking badly out of form in comparison with his recent showings on the international stage.

Bustamante won the lag and the first three racks produced simple run-outs, before both players missed pot attempts on 1-balls on their own breaks, allowing the other to clear and take the score to a 3-2 lead for the Filipino at the halfway stage.

Lely scratched on break in rack six but Bustamante was forced to play a shot to nothing with a reverse cut on the 3-ball which he missed but left Lely hooked with.

The Dutchman fouled and Bustamante cleared to seal the vital fourth rack which would guarantee his place in the semi-finals.

With the table breaking well, Bustamante sunk three balls from his break in rack seven but was forced to play safe on the brown 7 and then missed a double after Lely left a half-chance on for him.

Lely cleared to close the gap to one rack and then benefited from a ball in hand after snookering his opponent on the 1-ball when he played safe following his break.

But a cut on the 3-ball hit the jaw of the centre right pocket and Bustamante rolled through the remaining balls to take the eighth.

He ran rack nine to secure the win and took the tenth for good measure following a missed cut shot from Lely on the 2-ball - a weak shot which brought to an end a miserable Warsaw experience for the European Champion.

Tony Drago (Mlt) 4 - 6 Thorsten Hohmann (Ger)

Thorsten Hohmann completed the group stages with a perfect record after a narrow victory over Tony Drago in the World Pool League.

With both players already through to the last four, the match was played in a relaxed atmosphere and produced six run-outs.

Drago ran the first in double quick time and then found himself snookered behind two balls at the start of rack two. He escaped but left the ball on and Hohmann capitalised to level the match and take the one rack he needed to mathematically guarantee his position as group winner.

The next two racks produced run-outs from breaks and rack five went Drago's way after Hohmann scratched to bring to an end a safety exchange on the 1-ball.

Hohmann cleared the sixth from the break and Drago did likewise in rack seven. Hohmann left himself tangled up on the yellow 1 at the start of the next rack, and Drago did the same to himself on the 3, fouling to give the German ball in hand and the chance to level at 4-4.

An attempted double on the 1-ball by Drago in the penultimate rack left the pot on for Hohmann, who cleared the remaining balls to ensure he would end the group stages undefeated and then took the last with a run-out to make it five wins from five.

Kuo Po-cheng (Tpe) 8 - 2 Vilmos Foldes (Hun)

Kuo Po-cheng came back from the dead to make the World Pool League semi-finals by sealing victory with a large enough margin over Vilmos Foldes.

Foldes needed to win four racks to make the semi-finals, but after losing the first five to the 2005 World Pool Championship runner-up, he always faced an uphill battle against Kuo, who had seemed out of the running after losing his first three matches.

Kuo ran the first rack from the break and was back at the table in rack two when Foldes missed a thin cut on the 3-ball.

He banked it in and cleared the remaining balls to open up a 2-0 lead before running the third to give himself a major lead.

Foldes looked nervous as he snookered himself on the 2-ball in rack four, and paid the penalty as he missed the ball and Kuo cleared up to move within three racks of the last four.

Three became two with another run-out before Foldes got off the mark with a run-out of his own to keep the outcome in the balance.

Kuo had to play safe on the 3-ball in rack seven, snookering Foldes behind the 4, and the Hungarian fouled for the second time in the match, leaving himself with no option but to watch on as Kuo took another rack.

Foldes kept his dream alive with an eighth rack run-out and the ninth rack break didn't fall kindly for the Taiwanese player, as he was forced to snooker Foldes behind a cluster of balls.

Foldes produced a magnificent escape when he needed it most and Kuo had to jump, banking in the 1-ball with a slice of luck and then hooking Foldes again, giving him no clear shot on the blue 2.

Another great escape followed as the tension mounted with both players' fate depending on the outcome of the rack. Kuo finally sunk the 2-ball with a well-placed long cut and sealed his last four spot with a clearance before adding the last to confirm his semi-final match-up against Thorsten Hohmann.

FINAL TABLE Played Won Drew Lost Games Won Games Lost Pts
Thorsten Hohmann 5 5 0 0 34 16 10
Francisco Bustamante 5 3 0 2 30 20 6
Tony Drago 5 3 0 2 23 27 4
Po-cheng Kuo 5 2 0 3 25 25 4
Vilmos Foldes 5 2 0 3 23 27 4
Alex Lely 5 0 0 5 15 35 0

Play concludes on Sunday evening with the race to eight semi-finals and final.

Semi-Final 1: Thorsten Hohmann v Kuo Po-cheng
Semi-Final 2: Francisco Bustamante v Tony Drago
Final: Winner Semi-Final 1 v Winner Semi-Final 2