WPA WORLD 9-BALL CHAMPIONSHIPS – JUNIORS & WHEELCHAIR
Gold Reef City Casino & Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa
By Ian Anderson, WPA
Natasha Seroshtan of Russia is the new world champion for junior players after defeating Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi 6/2 in the final. Natasha played too solid in the final, winning the first, third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth racks to claim the title. She did not make too many mistakes which kept her opponent from the table. Yuki was very gracious in defeat and was delighted to have made the final and was full of praise for her victor. Both girls will be eligible to play again next year, Natasha is 17 and Yuki 16.
Fred Dinsmore of Ireland certainly let it be known he was not going to give in easy was on the attack from the outset. In his first match he very nearly blew a commanding lead against three-time world champion, Jouni Tahti. Fred fell over the line, winning 7/6.
In another match defending champion Henrik Larsson lost 5/7 to UK’s Roy Kmberley. Kimberley also won his next match defeating Emil Schranz 7/5 before being ousted by Dinsmore.
Jauni Tahti relegated to the loser’s side, wasted no time disposing of Tony Southern 7/2 and then in the semi finals he defeated Kurt Deklerck 7/5. Tomorrow’s final will surely be very competitive with the two finalists in fine form.
Defending champion Henrik Larsson made short work of his two matches today to qualify himself into the single elimination stage. Larrson defeated Frederik Roussow 7/0, and Charlie Hans 7/3, thereby eliminating both these players from the competition.
Both semi finals were played at a very high standard. Pink Chung Ko of Taiwan defeated Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp 8/4 in the first semi final. Ko played very strong, missing only a few shots and thereby not leaving very many chances to his opponent. Both Yapp and Ko were undefeated until this stage. In this match, Ko had three break & runs, and Yapp had 2.
In the other semi final, Sebastian Batkowski of Poland defeated Daniel Schneider of Switzerland 8/4. Just like the other semi final, both these players were very strong and misses were not too frequent. Batkowski had three break & runs during this match. He will now play Ko in the final.
What a great match. Sebastian Batkowski vs Ping Chung Ko. Just as Ko looked like he was going to win easy, leading 6/2, but there was a short break of five minutes and when the match resumed, Batkowski won the next three racks to close it to 6/5. But he couldn’t sustain his run and Ko won the next two and the championship. It is fair to say that Batkowski didn’t get the run of the balls, often when he got his chance the balls were laying awkward.
The standard of play was worthy of any championship. Ping Chung is the younger brother of former world junior champion, Ko Pin-Yi who won this title in the years 2007 & 2008. An interesting stat for Ko, in this event he played a total of 61 racks, and 27 of those were break & run-out. So the stat is more extraordinary when the format was alternate break.
Next year the World Championship for Juniors will be held in Shanghai, China.
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