QF 1 – Chinese Taipei 9-5 USA
QF 2 – China A 9-8 Spain
We are down to the last four in Shanghai and there are three Asian teams plus defending champions Austria contesting the semi-final matches at the Luwan Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In the final last eight matches, Chinese Taipei defeated USA in a match of two halves, while China A took a last rack decider to put paid to Spanish hopes.
The $250,000 tournament originated in 2006 and has since moved around the world before touching down in Shanghai. The World Cup features 32 pairs from across the globe including two from host nation China. Running from 15th to 20th May, the event is on live TV in over 100 countries around the world.
The third quarter-final match was a definite game of two halves as Chinese Taipei defeated the USA by a 9-5 margin. The USA had opened up a 5-1 lead and looked in a commanding position.
However, the tide turned as the Taiwanese pair began to pull back the racks. They got the match to 5-4 before Cheng Yu Hsuan (Kevin Cheng) locked the US up in a super-tight safety and Van Boening fouled trying to escape.
That gave Chinese Taipei the lead for the first time and they never looked back, playing flawless pool to take the next four games for the win. Both players looked superb but in Cheng, the Taiwanese look to have the player of the tournament.
Commented the 2015 US Open champion, “It is exciting for us to be in the semi-finals and like yesterday we are very happy with our win. At 5-1 down I was thinking, just give us a chance because they were playing almost perfect. Tomorrow we will just play our game. Whoever we come against we will just play our game, that is it.”
“The turning point was that safety in the tenth rack. After that we didn’t really get a shot. I think this team can win the whole thing tomorrow night,” said Woodward for the USA.
The final match was a thrilling affair that went to the wire as the China A team survived some rough patches to win by the narrowest of margins over David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.
China – the excellent Wu Jiaqing and Liu Haitao –took the early lead at 3-0 but Spain got back into it at 3-3 as the two teams traded racks. 6-4 to China was the last time either team held a two-rack lead and it eventually reached hill hill.
The final rack was full of intrigued as both teams played safeties on the 1 ball. After what seemed like an eternity, Alcaide missed the one as he tried to lightly clip it and send the cue ball down table. It was the Spaniards last visit as China A ran out for the win.
Play continues on Sunday afternoon with the two semi-final matches.
Sunday 20th 14:00
Semi-Final 1 – Chinese Taipei v China A
Semi-Final 2 – Austria v China B