By Ted LernerㄥWPA Media Officer
Photo of Yu Lung Chang by JP Parmentier
(Las Vegas) — Any discussion by pool fans about which countries produce the world’s very best players will invariably find the Philippines and Taiwan at the top of the list. And this week in Las Vegas, not surprisingly, those arguments came through loud and very clear.
After three days featuring the very best pool players from all corners of the globe, the 64 player field at the inaugural WPA Players Championship has been whittled down to four, with both race to 9 semi-finals on Friday at Griffs Billiards in Vegas featuring the Philippines vs. Taiwan.
In one semi-final the Philippines’ Carlo Biado, the 2017 World 9-ball Champion, will square off against Taiwan’s Chang Yu-Lung. In the other semi-final, the Philippines Johann Chua will match wits against Taiwan’s Kevin Cheng, who captured the 2015 US Open.
All four players put in wonderful performances today, each winning two matches to advance to the semis. The Philippines Chua has been living on a high wire all week and has managed to survive and tell the tale. After storming back from 6-2 down in the round of 32 against two-time world champion Mika Immonen, Chua pulled another fast one in the round of 16 today in his match versus Greece’s Nick Malaj. Chua found himself down 6-3 in the race to 7, alternate break match but tied the score at 6 to force an overtime. In the win by two format Malaj lead 7-6, 8-7 and 9-8 before a stingy Chua finally caught up. Chua took the nervy sudden death rack to advance, 10-9.
Chua finally had a chance to catch his breath in his quarters match against Vietnam’s Duong Quoc Hoang. The Filipino was never really challenged and won, 7-3.
Chua will now face Taiwan’s Kevin Cheng, who has looked impervious this week. Cheng first came back from a 4-1 deficit to the USA’s Shaun Wilkie to win 7-4. He then dueled with defending US Open champ Jayson Shaw in the quarters. The match was even through 5 before Cheng stepped on the gas and closed it out, 7-5.
In the round of 16, Biado, who is ranked world number 3, had to go into extra time to take down Taiwan veteran, Yang Ching-Shun, 8-6. In the quarters Biado met up with the USA’s Shane Van Boening, who had, up to this point, looked like he had plans on lifting the trophy on Friday. The match was tight early, but Biado was just too focused and too sharp. The Filipino star made some nervy clearances on the way to a convincing 7-4 win.
Biado’s semis opponent will be Chang, who put in two rock solid efforts this afternoon. In the round of 16, the Taiwanese veteran had to go extra innings before outlasting the Philippines latest hot shot, James Aranas, 8-6. In the quarterfinals, Chang outpaced hall of famer Ralf Souquet, 7-5, to advance to the semis.
The first race to 9, alternate break semi final between Johann Chua and Kevin Chang will begin at 12 noon Vegas time. The second semi-final between Carlo Biado and Chang Yu Lung begins at 2pm. The race to 9, alternate break final will take place at 6pm.
The online tournament brackets can be found at www.CTSonDemand.com.
The entire event is being streamed live by CSI media, a division of CueSports International (CSI). The production, complete with full-time commentary led by former World 8-Ball Champion, Karl Boyes, begins each day at noon pacific time. To watch live, visit www.playcsipool.com/watch-live.
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards and is comprised of six member federations representing North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Austral
The WPA Players Championship is made possible by the following sponsors:
WPA 球員錦標賽在拉斯維加斯決出四強，亞洲選手完成了對半決賽席位的包攬。張玉龍將對陣2017年9世錦賽冠軍Carlo Biado，另一位台灣選手將迎戰另一位菲律賓選手Johann Chua。
經過3天的激烈角逐，來自世界各地的64名選手只留下了最後4人。張玉龍、Carlo Biado、鄭喻軒和Johann Chua進入半決賽，4位選手將捉對廝殺，爭取最後進入決賽，進而獲得爭奪1萬美元冠軍獎金的機會。
菲律賓選手Johann Chua再一次經歷了刺激的晉級之旅，面對希臘選手Nick Malaj，Chua在3-6落後的情況下辛苦的將比數追成6-6平，並在隨後的加時賽中先後經歷6-7、7-8和8-9的落後，Chua在最後時刻連勝2局，以10-9的比分驚險晉級。此後的八強賽，Chua迎來喘息之機，7-3戰勝越南的楊國煌 (Duong Quoc Hoang)。
Chua半決賽的對手是鄭喻軒，鄭喻軒曾在2015年奪得美國公開賽冠軍。本屆比賽中，鄭喻軒的表現同樣無懈可擊，他先是在1-4落後的情況下7-4逆轉美國本土選手Shaun Wilkie，隨後又在與Jayson Shaw打成5-5平後連勝2局，7-5擊敗強敵。
上半區的半決賽將在Carlo Biado和張玉龍之間進行。Biado展現了9球世界冠軍的風采，先以8-6戰勝楊清順後，Biado又以7-4的比分將最後一位美國選手Shane Van Boening淘汰。張玉龍在16強賽中先以8-6擊敗了今年相當火熱的菲律賓年輕選手James Aranas，緊接著八強賽再以7-5戰勝了名人堂成員的德國名將Ralf Souquet挺進半決賽。