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Tournament Coverage

Taiwanese Stars Lead Final 16 Charge
by Jul 18, 2002, 6:49 PM EST

Yang, Taipei's No.1, ended the hopes of Brit Hero Davis.

As the field at the 2002 Hasseroder World pool Championship is slowly whittled to the final 16, a trio of nations has dominated the action. The U.S., the Phillipines, Japan and China each have three players through to the next round, with America's top-ranked Cory Deuel awaiting the evening's final match-up against Sweden's Marcus Chamat.

While the strong showings by the Philippines, the U.S. and China was somewhat expected, the play of the Japanese has surprised many. Although both veteran star Takeshi Okumura and Kunihiko Takahashi both boast WPA World 9-Ball Championship title trophies (Okumura in 1994, Takahashi in 98), only Akikumo Toshikawa has placed in the top eight in any of the previous three championships held in Cardiff. (Toshikawa placed eighth in 1999.) But Okumura posted a spirited comeback from an 8-3 deficit to upend Filipino Ramil Gallego Thursday afternoon, and the 33-year-old Takahashi pounded Mexico's Ernesto Dominguez, 9-3. The real surprise has been Hiroshi Takenaka. The 20-year-old from Osaka followed up his 9-6 win over Spain's David Alcaide with a 9-3 trouncing of Italian Fabio Petroni.

Takenaka will face a much stiffer challenge on Friday against Chinese Taipei's Ching-Shun Yang in a battle of tomorrow's champions. Yang, just 24, has already risen to the No.1 ranking in talent-rich China. His biggest win to date was the World Games gold medal in Akita, Japan. He looked unstoppable in a 9-4 win over English snooker hero Steve Davis Thursday night. Lu-Kung Hung (9-1 over American Shannon Daulton) and former world championship runnerup Kun-Fang Lee (a 9-3 winner over Stephan Cohen of France) also advanced Thursday.

As for the Americans, Deuel was awaiting a late start in an effort to join Thursday winners Johnny Archer, Earl Strickland and Jeremy Jones in the final 16. Jones was an easy 9-2 winner over Germany's Thorsten Hohmann, while Strickland jumped to an early lead, then held off Korea's Sin-Young Park, 9-6.

The Filipino trio of Efren Reyes, Antonio Lining and Francisco Bustamante also moved on, with Lining whitewashing Germany's Thomas Engert, 9-0, and Bustamante pummeling another German, Christian Reimering, 9-2. Dutchman Alex Lely, German Oliver Ortmann and Canadian-by-way-of-the-Philippines Alex Pagulayan round out the players still alive in the race for the $65,000 top prize.

For complete Group standings, and Final 64 pairings, http://www.worldpoolchampionship.com/results.asp";>click here:

Tournament Notes
Cardiff Insider
by Gary Baker

* EARL STRICKLAND has not been the most happy man around Cardiff this week, believing he has been 'ignored' in favour of the home snooker favourite Steve Davis.

Strickland will finally get his chance to play on the main TV table on Friday when he takes on American colleague 'Double J' Jeremy Jones in the last 16.

However, while JJ won his match on the main table against Germany's Thorsten Hohmann, The Pearl was again, for the umteenth time, reduced to playing on an outside court against Korea's Sin-young Park.

And he complained afterwards: "I've had to play all my games on these tables. Why is it that Steve Davis is on the main table all the time and I don't get a chance on there?"

The Pearl has also, previously in this tournament, complained about the movement of the balls on the tables as players walk around and, while struggling to get past Park, who won three racks in a row when Strickland only needed one to win, he started gazing around the arena and set his eyes on the main table again to watch Jones' match, probably dreaming of having a game on there in front of the TV cameras.

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