Top Seeds Advance in Asia 10-Ball Championships
Day one of the Fifth Annual Asia 10-Ball Championships has concluded with relatively few upsets. Number-one seed Mika Immonen (FIN) had an easy day with a bye and then a 9-0 win over Korea’s Sung Ho Seo. Thorsten Hohmann had almost as easy task with wins over Won Jae Lee (KOR) 9-2 and Au Siu Wai 9-4 (HK). Rodney Morris struggled after his first-round bye against an unknown Korean amateur player 9-7 as well as Heoun Ho Kim (KOR Charlie Williams) who barely defeated Korean amateur champions Moon Suk Jang 9-7 and Su Bok Park 9-8.
“I love tight tables. You have to be able to really play well to defeat the better player,” commented Immonen on the pocket toughness.
“When me and Mika arrived, I told Mika I must be really tired ‘cause the tables from even a distance looked super tight,” said Rodney Morris.
This year’s event has drawn the largest contingent of amateur players for a pro event in Korea, with 20 top amateur players vying in both men’s and women’s divisions. The amateurs were well-represented, with the biggest upset of the day coming from Korea’s Yhong Hwang’s 9-6 victory over number-five seed Hayato Hijikata (JPN), who is ranked in the top five in Japan and a former World Junior 10-Ball Champion. Australia’s Todd Hayward also fell in both of his matches to Korean amateurs. The Filipino contingent of Renemar David, Jech Limen, and number-six seed Rodrigo Geronimo all easily advanced to the second day unscathed. The Hong Kong contingent of four players had a rough day, with defeats by the Koreans, save for number-seven seed Lee Chenman, who had an easy two wins, including a 9-0 shutout to advance.
In the women’s division, number-one seed Gui Young Lee defeated Ha Na (KOR) 7-4 and number-four seed Kaori Ebe (JPN) 7-4. Number-five seed Junko Mitsuoka (JPN) upset number-two seed Neslihan Gurel (TUR) 7-6, with both players missing the 10 ball twice in the final exciting game.
“In Korea the tables we used traditionally would be considered very forgiving. We promised the international players that in the future as the Korean players get better, we would make conditions tougher and more favorable to the better players. In the past four years, the Koreans have made dramatic improvements to their skill levels as we have grown the sport and brought the best players of the world here. So living up to our word, I doubt anyone can argue that the tables are loose now,” said Cindy Lee, CEO of Dragon Promotions.
The XTM Asia 10-Ball Championships is produced by Dragon Promotions and played on Min Tables with Simonis Cloth and Aramith Balls. Official Cue is Poison Cues and Predator Cues. Final day will have six matches airing on XTM and XPORTS.