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Filipino elder statesman ousted by Taiwanese “Draw Shot King”; Souquet also through
Nov 11, 2006, 2:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Scratch one Filipino in the quarterfinals of the World Pool Championship. One to go.

The home-country crowd lost one of its two final hopes in the first round of the quarterfinals as 49-year-old Rodolfo Luat lost to 33-year-old upstart Fu Che-Wei, 11-7. Fu, nicknamed the “Draw Shot King” in his native Taiwan, took advantage of sloppy play by Luat to take control of the match early and never let up.

Fu’s ascension is just one of the many surprises in this year’s WPC, in which almost every favored player has fallen by the wayside. Indeed, Fu’s quarterfinal win represents his best performance by far in four years of WPC play, having finished tied-for-32 in 2003 and 2004, and tied-for-64 in 2005.

“This is a confirmation of all the work that I have done,” Fu said through a translator. “All my practice has paid off.”

Fu is just one of the many precise pool-playing machines that Taiwan now seems to pump out by the dozen. A testament to the depth of the country’s pool-playing talent: Fu is ranked a lowly 10th in Taiwanese league play.

Luat abetted Fu in his win with spotty play, often making a sensational shot only to hook himself for the following ball. Luat also had trouble with the tight pockets on the Brunswick Metro tables, jawing several balls.

Fu’s win keeps Taiwan’s hopes alive in the WPC, as his countryman Liu Cheng-Chuan fell to Germany’s Ralf Souquet, 11-8, in the other round-one matchup in the quarterfinals. Souquet led the whole way, opening up a 6-2 lead and holding off a charge by Liu to earn a spot in the semifinals.

The third Taiwanese player left in the field is 17-year-old defending champ, Wu Chia-Ching. He’ll face off against the Philippines’ final hope Ronato Alcano in the second round of the quarter finals, in what many observers consider a finals-quality matchup.