By Ted Lerner
Photos by Alison Chang for the WPA

(Shenyang, China)- Monica Webb and Brittany Bryant must be wondering just what they’ve gotten themselves into.

Sure, the two talented players are incredibly delighted to still be standing in the final 16 of the 2011 Women’s World 9-Ball Championship. But what lies before them at this juncture is nothing short of a rampaging juggernaut that threatens to sweep them aside like a tsunami carries away a grass hut.

As the knockout round of the final 32 players concluded at the Liaoning Hunnan Sports Training Arena Friday evening in Shenyang, northeastern China, the USA’s Webb and Canada’s Bryant find themselves as the only non-Asian players remaining in what was, just a day earlier, a stellar field of 64 of the finest women pool players from 25 countries.

Of course it’s not particularly important what country a player comes hails from. But in this case the handwriting is on the wall and it’s printed in big, bold letters; 14 of the last 16 players in this year’s Women’s World 9-ball championship are from North Asia. More specifically, and perhaps more ominously, 10 out of those last 16 players are from China, where the women’s game is wildly popular and government backed training regimes are producing seemingly endless streams of young and brilliant talent.

The fact that Asian players, and Chinese women in particular, are taking over the game, is not news to anyone who has followed the women’s scene for some time. But what happened Friday in Shenyang felt like an exclamation point staking its claim at the end of a brutally cold fact.

As the knockout stages got underway at 6:30pm, two big names, world number 5 Allison Fisher and world number 6 Kelly Fisher, had already been shown the exits in the group stages. Thus the first match on the TV table held some significance as world number one and defending World 9-Ball champion Fu Xiaofang of China faced world number four Jasmin Ouschan of Austria.

A victory for the Austrian would have sent a loud and defiant message through the field, but Ouschan simply couldn’t keep up with the steadier Fu. The contest was close midway but the 23 year old Fu proved the better player on this night and won going away, 9-5.

Monica Webb and Brittany Bryant   Copy Asia Dominating at Womens World 9 Ball Championship

Sure, the two talented players are incredibly delighted to still be standing in the final 16 of the 2011 Women’s World 9-Ball Championship.

All five Chinese women won their round of 32 matches in the first session of the night, including China’s massively popular Pan Xiaoting who easily defeated Turkey’s Eyul Kybaroglu, 9-1. The once pioneering Pan, who’s surely no longer a betting favorite in China, will now face world number three Ga Young Kim of Korea in what is sure to be a high profile glamour match on Saturday. Kim took down Miyuki Fuke of Japan, 9-3.

Chichuro Kawahara of Japan continued her fine play by thoroughly beating the Philippines Rubilen Amit, 9-4. Taiwan star Lin Yuan Chun kept her campaign going by defeating 15 year old Belgian Kamila Khodjaeva by the same score line.

The second session of the round of 32 saw what appeared to be a massive surprise result when Korea’s Yu Ram Cha got hammered 9-4 by a relative unknown Chinese player, 16 year old Gao Meng. It turns out, however, that Gao is another one of these massive talents here that have been flying under the radar of bigger names such as Pan, Fu and Siming Chen. Gao actually played in the Women’s World Championship two year ago at the age of 14, where she knocked out Ouschan in a hill-hill thriller. The friendly Gao, who’s still a high school student, lives in Shanghai where she trains 6-8 hours every day under the guise of the local association.

Gao will now face China’s 2009 World 9-ball champion and world number 7 Liu ShaSha, who kept the storyline running for the ho Read more ...