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Manalo Squeaks Past Immonen, Wu womps Hohmann in WPC Quarterfinals
by Mason King Jul 9, 2005, 7:54 AM EST

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, July 9 - Mika Immonen halted Marlon Manalo's streak of successful games, but Manalo still won their quarterfinal match.

In a roller-coaster dogfight, Manalo took advantage of an errant 6-ball shot by Immonen in the last rack to finish off the Finn, 11-9. It might have been a different match had Immonen not handed Manalo the first two games on a silver platter, allowing the Filipino to win his 24th and 25th games in a row at the World Pool Championship.

Immonen recovered and reeled off four straight games, initiating several lead changes. Manalo came from behind twice to tie it up at 7-7 and then 9-9. He broke and ran out the 19th rack to reach the hill, but then left himself an impossible layout after the next break. Immonen took advantage of a lame Manalo safety, but the misjudged the 6 ball. Manalo mopped up from there.

"It was a good match," 29-year-old Manalo said, seemingly happy to finally be tested in a match. "I'm happy because I'm feeling the pressure. It makes me concentrate more on each shot. Of course, it's when I concentrate really hard that I miss."

At nearly the same time in the Kaohsiung Business Exhibition Centre, Taiwan's teenage sensation Chia-Ching Wu dropped the final 9 on 2003 world champion Thorsten Hohmann. The 16-year-old lost the first game then won the next five, on his way to an 11-5 win.

Hohmann, still recovering from a bout with flu and a case of tonsillitis, never seemed himself in the match, and missed several gimmes. Wu's big break and imperturbable attitude seemed to quash any questions over his ability to handle the pressure in front of the home-country crowd.

Wu will meet Manalo tonight in the semifinals. Both are guaranteed $20,000 and a share of third-place.

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