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CORTEZA CASHES IN!
FILIPINO LEE VANN CORTEZA IS ALL BUSINESS AS HE CAPTURES THE CHINA OPEN 9-BALL CROWN
By Ted Lerner
WPA Press Office
Photos Courtesy of Jin Li, www.top147.com
(Shanghai)--Playing with his trademarked calm and cool demeanor, all the while exhibiting a deadly stroke and a fierce, quiet fortitude, the Philippines Lee Vann Corteza staked his claim to stardom today as he defeated Taiwanese veteran Fu Che Wei to win the 2013 China Open 9-ball in Shanghai.
The win means that the China Open title, one of pool’s biggest tournaments, remains in the Philippines at least one more year, as Corteza’s win follows countryman Dennis Orcollo’s victory in 2012.
The victory, besting a quality field of 64 top players from around the globe, is easily Corteza’s biggest to date in a professional career that has spanned nearly two decades.
For the last five of those years, Corteza’s pedigree had already been established far and wide. Everywhere he has played fellow players and fans could see that under Corteza's humble veneer and boyish smile lay a deadly serious and focused professional with a noticeable swagger that oozed confidence. This is a man who has something inside him that doesn't allow him to flinch under pressure. This is a man who knows how to close out a match.
All of these traits were on full display today in front of over 500 people at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium arena. The match was played at an extremely high quality with 12 of the 17 played racks being break and run outs. The outcome turned on just a few mistakes, and it was Corteza who took advantage and nailed the door shut every time he was given the opportunity.
As they had all week, both Corteza and Fu remained untouchable in their respective semi-final matchups which took place earlier on Sunday morning. Corteza easily defeated surprise entry Omar Al-Shaheen of Kuwait, 11 – 3. Fu put a halt to the marvelous run of former two-time world champion Wu Jiajing, 11 – 8.
In the finals, the 34 year old Corteza won the lag and broke and cleared the first rack in the alternate break match. The pair traded racks and neither missed a single ball as the Filipino led 2-1. Corteza’s first chance to gain some distance came in rack four when he cleared off a Fu miss on the 1-ball to take a 3-1 lead. Corteza broke and ran the next rack to move up 4-1. The Filipino would never be threatened the rest of the way.
Fu continued to play well, and continued to break and run racks, but so did Corteza plunking the cue ball dead square in the center of the table on the break and potting 2, 3 and once even 4 balls. Down 7-5, Fu had a brilliant opportunity to narrow the lead in rack 13 when Corteza scratched. Fu was clearing the table beautifully until he missed an easy 8-ball and was soon down 8-5.
Fu forced a foul in the next rack to close to 8-6, but Corteza, as all great champions do, put pedal to the medal and sprinted home, while Fu wilted down the stretch. Corteza won going away, 11-6.
Afterwards the low key Corteza was typically reserved, but the satisfaction of his accomplishment was all too clear.
“I’m so happy right now I really don’t know what to say,” Corteza said. “This tournament is so hard there are so many good players. I tried not to be under pressure and I really enjoyed myself this match. That was one of the keys today. I was relaxed. And that also helped me to stay focused the whole time.
“For me this means a lot to win this tournament. It’s been three years since I won a big tournament. And the way I won this, playing really well and of course I get a few lucky rolls, this is going to give me a lot of confidence in the coming months. This is a big win for my career.”
As expected Fu was disappointed as the loss meant his second defeat in the final of major in the course of one year. In 2012 he lost in the finals of the World 8-ball championship in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates to fellow Taiwanese Chang Jung Lin. Fu indicated that while he was playing well all week, he could never get 100% comfortable with the new tip he had put on his cue stick the just before the China Open began.
“I had a problem with my cue tip today,” Fu said through an interpreter. “Just before the tournament I changed my tip and I’m really not used to it. But before rack 13 I felt like I was playing good. Then when I missed that 8-ball in that rack, that was it. After that I didn’t play good. And he also played good. He deserves to be the champion.”
For the victory Corteza takes home $40,000 while Fu pockets $20,000.
ALL FOR LIU
LIU SHASHA COMES FROM BEHIND TO DEFEAT CHEN SIMING TO WIN THE WOMEN'S CHINA OPEN 9-BALL TITLE
By Ted Lerner
WPA Press Officer
Photos Courtesy of Jin Li/www.top147.com
(Shanghai)--Coming into Sunday’s finals of the 2013 China Open, Liu Shasha knew she was on the cusp of a golden opportunity to vault her way back to the upper echelons of not only the fiercely competitive world of Chinese women’s pool, but also the entire world of women’s professional pool.
Since coming out of nowhere and winning the 2009 Women’s World 9-ball Championship held in Shenyang, China, the diminutive and glamorous youngster has maintained her place on the Chinese national team, but she hadn’t won any tournaments. In the lead up to this week’s tournament, with 48 top women players from all parts of the globe, Liu hadn’t been playing well in practice and was only hoping to at least reach the quarterfinals.
But suddenly she found herself in the finals of one of the biggest tournaments of the year. Indeed on Sunday, in front of packed house at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium arena, Liu seized the moment , coming from behind in crunch time to overtake fellow teammate and young star Chen Siming to win the China Open by a nose, 9 – 8.
With the win, Liu can now claim two of the biggest prizes in women’s pool. She also joins her close friend and “sister” Fu Xiaofang who also has won these same two prestigious events.
For Chen, the loss had to be a massive disappointment. The hard working and prodigious player, who many feel is China’s best natural talent, led the contest nearly the entire way only to see the dream die right when the finish line was in sight.
Chen was in stride early and jumped out to a 3 -1 lead in the alternate break match. Liu quickly got it together and tied up the match. But then Chen hit one of her high gears, which can be a thing of beauty to watch. Chen went up 5-3, then 6-4, then 7-4. She seemed to have an answer for everything Liu tried and appeared capable of fending off her opponent at will.
But as so often happens in pool, one mistake sends the momentum over to the other player’s side. After a break and run by Liu to move to 7-5, Chen broke, but saw the cue ball get kicked into the pocket for a scratch. Lui made a calculated clear to close the gap to one, 7-6. Liu then stepped to the table and tied the match with a break and run out.
With the title down to a mere race to two, Liu got Chen once again as Chen left a safe open and allowed Liu to grab her first lead of the night, 8-7. Chen’s the consummate battler, however, and she broke serve in the 16th frame after winning a nervy safety exchange to leave one final rack to decide the champion.
Chen broke and sent two balls down on the break. Position for the two ball was tricky and Chen bobbled the 1-ball in the jaws. Liu came to the table with a look at the one and steadily picked off the colors. As she got down to the final 8 and 9 balls, she held her chest and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as she stood on the cusp of victory. With raw nerves jangling, she potted the last two balls for the championship.
On the floor afterwards, Liu was greeted with warm hugs by a tearful Fu Xiaofang. The two are not really sisters, but they are practically inseparable, living together and playing pool together every day.
As she drank in the accolades, Liu expressed surprise that she was even standing in the winner’s circle.
“I am very surprised that I won this tournament,” she said through an interpreter. “I have not been playing well lately. We had a practice tournament before this tournament and I got 8th place. I was hoping to get at least to the quarterfinals in the China Open. I didn’t think I could win it. I’m very happy. This is my first championship in three years so this is something I am going to celebrate tonight.”
As usual with the Chinese women players, Chen, who also hasn’t won a big tournament in China in three year, was gracious to a fault in defeat.
“I think I played well. I missed one ball in the first half of the match. The second half I also played well but it was then that Liu didn’t miss a shot. When I missed she took that and played well. I’m happy that at least two Chinese players reached the finals.”
Liu won $30,000 while Chen took home $15,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association(WPA) is the governing body of the sport of pool.
Ultimate 10-Ball Championship
by Thomas Overbeck
The Third Edition of the Ultimate Ten Ball Championships will unfold June 17-20, 2013 at the Harrah's Resort in Tunica, Mississippi. This WPA World Professional Ranking, BCA Professional Ranking and WPBA Professional Ranking event will carry a total prize fund of more than $170,000!
Features of this year's event include two-table free live streaming by PoolAction TV, Tournament Direction by Ken Shuman, free live scoring by AZBilliards, and referees managed by Randy Goettlicher. Representatives of the World Pool Association and the Billiard Congress of America will be present and the WPA Sports Director will oversee the entire event.
The competition will occur on Diamond 9-foot Pro-Am tables covered with Simonis 860 cloth and equipped with Aramith Pro Cup balls and Master Chalk.
In an effort to assist the professional player with their travel costs this event will conclude the day prior to the Diamond Billiards Southern Classic in the same venue so the pros get to participate in many well-paying events on only a single air ticket.
Beginning Friday, March 22nd full details and entry forms for the Ultimate 10-Ball Championship will be found at: http://www.ultimate10ball.com
WPA Sets World Championships in Dubai,
Oslo, Shenyang and Doha for 2013
World Pool Calendar
By Ted Lerner
WPA Press Officer
For pool fans around the globe, the wait for championship action is almost over. After a quiet first third of the year, the World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA) announced its schedule of World Championships and other big time ranking events for 2013.
The World 8-ball Championship returns to the United Arab Emirates, but this year for the first time ever, the tournament will be held in the cosmopolitan global city of Dubai from May 6-11. 128 of the best male players from over 50 countries are expected to gather at Dubai's World Trade Center to fight for the $200,000 prize fund.
The World 8-ball Championship has been contested just seven times in pool history and all seven events were held in the Emirate of Fujairah. The World 8-ball Championship always brings out the best of the best and a look at the roster of champions over the years is testament to that fact. Past winners include the legend Efren Reyes(2004), Wu Chia Ching(2005), Ronnie Alcano(2007), Ralf Souquet(2008), Karl Boyes(2010), Dennis Orcollo(2011). The defending champion is Chinese Taipei's Chang Jung Lin.
Soon after the 8-ball party in Dubai, the center of the pool universe moves to Shanghai for the always popular China Open to be held May 12-19. 64 men and 48 women will be competing in separate events that, as usual, are sure to provide a stern and nervy test to any player looking to grab a spot on the podium. The prize fund and venue for the China Open have yet to be released but this annual gathering of pool's best men and women will surely offer one of the biggest paydays of the year in the sport.
The defending China Open champion on the men's side is the Philippines' Dennis Orcollo. The defending champion on the women's side is 2012 WPA Player of the Year Kelly Fisher of Great Britain.
In June, the World 10-ball Championship returns after a one year hiatus, this time to brand new venue, Oslo, Norway. The 10-ball crown was last contested in 2011 in Manila, Philippines and was won by Holland's Huidji See. This year, from June 8-14, 128 of the best men players from around the globe will do battle at Oslo's Domus Athletica for a share of the $250,000 prize fund.
In August the world's best women players will once again travel to the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang for the 2013 WPA Women's World 9-ball Championship. The massive popularity of women's pool in China makes this event one of the most hotly contested events in all of pool. In 2012, Kelly Fisher broke through to claim her first ever World 9-ball crown with a scintillating victory over national hero Fu Xiao Fang in an event seen by millions live on Chinese state television. The Women's World 9-ball Championship takes place from August 6-12.
Doha, Qatar will once again be the site to determine the very best in men's 9-ball this coming September as the World 9-ball Championship returns to the desert kingdom for the fourth straight year. Produced by the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation, and held from September 2-13, the World 9-ball Championship has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. Each year the drama seems to get better and better although one would be hard put to top last year's final, when Great Britain's Darren Appleton blew a seemingly insurmountable 12-3 lead over China's Li Hei Wen, only to barely scrape by at the end,13-12, to claim his first world 9-ball crown.
The WPA will have more information regarding all of our World Championship and ranking events in the coming weeks.
Fans can follow each major event through the WPA website at www.wpapool.com. The WPA offers a live scoring platform, daily articles, photos and updates right from table side in the arena, and Twitter updates.(@poolwpa)
Here is a complete list of WPA sanctioned events for 2013
World 8-Ball Championship - 5 / 11 May, Dubai - UAE
China Open - 13 / 19 May, Shanghai - China
World 10-Ball Championship - 8 / 15 June, Oslo - Norway
Ultimate 10-Ball - 17 / 20 June, Mississippi - USA
World Artistic Championship - 18 / 21 July, USA
World 9-Ball Championship - 2 / 13 September, Doha - Qatar
World Cup of Pool - 17 / 22 September, Venue TBA
Nicaragua Open - 1 / 6 October, Managua - Nicaragua
International Challenge of Champions - 15 / 18 October, Connecticut - USA
World Pool Masters - 25 / 27 October, Venue TBA
All Japan Championship - 18 / 24 November, Tokyo - Japan
Mosconi Cup - 2 / 5 December, Las Vegas - USA
World 9-Ball Championship Wheelchair Athletes, 3 / 7 December, Johannesburg, South Africa
Amway Cup - 11 / 17 March, Taipei - Taiwan
China Open - 13 / 19 May, Shanghai, China
World 9-Ball Championship - 6 / 12 August, Shenyang - China
World 10-Ball Championship 26 Oct / 3 Nov, Manila - Philippines
Juniors (boys and girls divisions) & Wheelchair Athletes
World 9-Ball Championship - 3 / 7 December, Johannesburg - South Africa
*The World Pool And Billiard Association is the governing body of the sport of pocket billiards. For more information please visit the WPA website at www.wpapool.com. For Twitter updates please follow @poolwpa