Big Guns Beginning to Fire
In a re-run of the 2007 final, China repeated their victory over Team Finland by a comfortable 8-3 score line the SM Mall North Annex in Manila, in sharp contrast to the hill-hill 11-10 thriller in the final two years ago.
It was the same two teams contesting the match as at Rotterdam in ’07 – Fu Jianbo and Li Hewen for China and Mika Immonen and Markus Juva for Finland.
In front of another great Manila crowd, Finland won the opening two racks before China levelled things with two in quick succession.
China took the next and then ran out from the break in the sixth game to put a bit of distance between themselves and Finland at 4-2. A loose safety from Fu in the next gave Finland a chance and they took advantage to reduce the deficit.
There was some drama in the eighth rack as Immonen played a kick shot off the rail and connected with the 1-ball. The Chinese players claimed that no ball then hit a rail but referee Cielo Lopez did not call a foul.
All four players then viewed the TV replay with head referee Michaela Tabb and they showed that Lopez was absolutely correct. The gentlemanly Chinese duo then apologised to the ref and their opponents for wasting their time.
The Chinese put the incident behind them as they took the next two games to move into a 6-3 lead.
Finland had the opportunity in the tenth after Fu missed the 1-ball but the next shot saw a dejected Immonen scratch. He looked furious with himself and his mood wasn’t helped as China went on to win the rack and move to the hill at 7-3.
China could see the finish line but needed to wait before they could cross it as an illegal break gave Finland an opportunity to stay in the match. Immonen though, left the 3-ball on and knew that could be their last shot in the competition as he slumped back to his seat.
China went on to win the match and book a quarter-final encounter with defending champions USA. It means the winners of the last two events will meet in one of the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Both teams recorded heavy first round victories – 8-0 v Hong Kong and 8-1 v Canada respectively but the smart money was with the Germans.
France were also the last unseeded team in the competition following the departure of Indonesia yesterday but they got off to a bad start as they lost the opening rack. A perfect safety by tactical genius Ralf Souquet left Facquet with a tricky two-rail escape.
Unfortunately for him, he hit the 4-ball instead of the 2-ball and Germany used the ball in hand well to lead 1-0. The French though, returned the favour and Souquet failed to get out of the snooker and with ball in hand it become 1-1.
France started to look good as they took the next two racks to go into a 3-1 lead but a bad miss on the 1 ball by Cohen derailed their momentum and it was soon 3-2.
The Germans have worked well on and off the table this week as Hohmann was now sporting a trimmed hairstyle after having his locks shaved by Souquet yesterday. Part-time barber Souquet helped tie the scores at 3-3.
Germany almost took the next on three fouls but Cohen saved his team on the last attempt and even managed to pocket the blue 2. That led to them taking that rack to regain the lead at 4-3.
Cohen scratched in the next to allow the Germans to level it and they quickly moved into the lead at 5-4.
France seemed to go off the boil as Germany coasted towards victory and when Cohen missed the 9 ball in what was the final rack of the match, it was all over.
“We didn’t perform the way we wanted. I missed two balls and Thorsten missed one and misjudged a few but it’s a team event,” said Souquet.
“We both have to improve, take the mistakes we made and try to make fewer in future. We were lucky that France gave a chance to comeback,” he added.
Complete Results To Date
Germany 8 – 4 France
China 8-3 Finland
Philippines 8 – 5 Italy
USA 8 – 5 Indonesia
Holland 8 – 3 Vietnam
Russia 8 – 3 Denmark
Poland 8 – 0 Belgium
Chinese Taipei 8 – 6 Singapore
Philippines A 8 – 5 Thailand
England 8 – 4 Malaysia
Germany 8 – 0 Hong Kong
Japan 8 – 6 Croatia
Italy 8 – 5 Austria
Finland 8 – 3 Sweden
Philippines B 8 – 3 Qatar
USA 8 – 7 Malta
Indonesia 8 – 3 India
Spain 8 – 3 Australia
China 8 – 5 Korea
France 8 – 1 Canada
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