Wu and Yu Claim China Open

Sha Sha, Yu, Wu, Cheng

The China Open has come to an end and we have two new Champions to celebrate. The first one crowned was Han Yu. This was a match between World Number Three (Yu) and World Number One Liu Sha Sha.


Both players began very tense, obviously trying to be extra careful not to make any mistakes. It appeared that two-time world champion Liu Sha Sha had the title in her bag when she led 8/5, but an illegal break allowed Han Yu back into the match to go 6/8 down. On Han’s break she was able to clear and make it 7/8, then Sha Sha made another illegal break. But Han put her opponent back into play and then Sha Sha made a mistake which allowed Han to level at 8/8. In the final rack, Han broke and, after making a ball off the break, the rest of them were left in a very favorable position to which Han took advantage and ran the rack to clinch the title of 2016 China Open champion.


The Men’s’ side of the roster began with two semi-final matches. The first was Yushan Cheng (Americans know him as Kenny Cheng) taking on Kunlin Wu. This was the fourth match in a row that Cheng won on the hill 11-10. Cheng had to overcome a 0-4 deficit at the start as his opponent Wu got away to a quick start. Cheng led 10-9 before Wu won and levelled the scores at 10/10. After an amazing shot on the 2 ball in the deciding rack, Cheng went on to clear up and win the match.


The next Semi featured Wu Jiaqing versus Ko Pin Yi. Wu has been in sparkling form throughout the event and certainly deserved his spot in the final. Wu has been comfortable in all his wins, with only the match against Niels Feijen in the double elimination sector that was at risk, winning 9/8. From there his scores were 11-6 (Denis Grabe), 11-3 (Zeng Zhaodong), 11-5 (Wang Can) and then 11-6 against Ko Pin-Yi. As usual, Ko put in a tremendous effort and another high-end finish in a major tournament. Despite losing a match in the double elimination sector, he qualified for the single elimination stage and convincingly defeated reigning World 9-Ball Champion, Albin Ouschan 11-6, then an easy victory over Jeffrey De Luna 11-3, but then a marathon match against Alex Pagulayan where he won by the barest of margins 11-10. That match may have taken a bit out of his sharpness as he fell to Wu 6-11. 


This set up our Mens’ final between Wu Jiaqing and Cheng. Wu Jiaqing was the in-form player of the tournament and for all of the event he looked and played like the Wu Jiaqing everybody knows and enjoys. Some leading players commented on the high level of play for a final. After a tardy start, Wu’s play was fluent and precise, never really giving his opponent, world number 1 Cheng Yuhsuan, much of a chance and winning convincingly 11-4. Full credit also to Cheng for the magnificent effort throughout this event, winning four matches in a row with a score of 11-10 to reach the final. Cheng’s performance in this event will ensure he retains his number 1 spot on the world rankings.