China and Philippines Billiard Teams Set to Collide
The Chinese billiards team won a thrilling last 16 match with victory over France to move into the quarter-finals. Li He-wen and Fu Jian Bo recorded a tight 8-6 triumph against Vincent Facquet and Stephan Cohen and will now play Philippines.
China took the lag and Li He-wen, nicked named ‘Doraemon’ after the popular Japanese cartoon character, opened the pack. He made two balls and left the rest laid out perfectly.
Fu though messed up the 7 to 8 travel and Li was forced to play safe. France couldn’t match them and Fu made amends with a good 8 ball and Li completed the rack to go to 1-0.
There was more good play from China as they ran out from the break to make it 2-0.
Things were looking bleak for the French pair of Vincent Facquet and Stephan Cohen as the Chinese snapped off the next rack, running out from the break.
Fu made three balls on the break but the cue ball inexorably crept down table and dropped into the corner pocket.
It was a great chance for France but Facquet missed badly on the orange 5 and saw the cue ball roll perfectly for the Chinese.
Li, though, missed as he was forced to use the rest. Cohen made a great pot on the 5 ball and set up the run out for Les Bleus to reduce the deficit to 3-1.
A great safety shot from Vincent Facquet in the fourth game set up the rack for Team France and they carefully ran through the balls to get to 3-2.
The French levelled it in the next before taking the lead for the first time with some great play in the seventh game.
However a misplayed safety on the 2 ball from Facquet in the eighth switched momentum as the Chinese cleared to go 4-4.
A run out from the break in the next returned the lead to China. Fu, though, overcut the 5 ball which allowed the French team to clear the table and restore parity at 5-5.
France called an extension in the next and Facquet completed a long pot on the 1 ball. Cohen was equal to it as he rolled the 2 ball down table as the French pair began to gel.
Stephan Cohen, though, missed on the 5 ball as did Fu. Facquet took on the long cut and made it, also dropping the 8 ball in the process.
Cohen made a mess of the next shot but Facquet redeemed the situation with an excellent long cut on the 7 ball, gaining perfect shape on the 9 ball to seal the rack and make it three racks apiece.
The French took the lead in the next as a magnificent long ball from Facquet set up the rack for a run out as France took the lead for the first time.
Things looked good for Team France as they took the lead in the next as the score moved to 6-5.
Facquet fired home a decent break in the 12th game to leave a shot on the 1 ball. The problem lay with the 5 ball which was locked up with the brown 7.
Cohen tried to break the balls up as he pocketed the 3 ball but ended up snookering his colleague.
Facquet missed the two rail escape to give ball in hand to the Chinese and they made no mistakes to take the score to 6-6.
Li hooked himself in the jaws of the pocket, screwing back off the 3 ball for position on the 5, forcing Li to go off the bottom rail. He made contact but left a long one on for Cohen, but the Frenchman drew the cue ball right back into the corner pocket.
With ball in hand, Team China got to the hill at 7-6.
The last rack was a formality for Li and Fu as they broke and ran out to book a quarter-final berth against Team Philippines on Saturday.