Best in Billiards Ready for Showdown in Shanghai

4TH ANNUAL CHINA OPEN KICKS OFF THURSDAY WITH ALL-STAR CAST

By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer

(Shanghai, China)–Shanghai is a city where people come to make their dreams, to reinvent themselves, to put pedal to the floor and seek out unimagined success.

And thus it’s surely fitting that here in this teeming, ultra-cosmopolitan metropolis, which serves as the bustling, commercial hub of the world’s most populous nation, that a stage has been set for the world’s finest men and women pool players to do battle in what promises to be one of the year’s most exciting tournaments.

Now in its fourth year, the China Open, which kicks off Thursday September 13 at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium, has quickly established itself as one of the premier events in the professional pool calendar. The tournament, which is a major ranking event of the World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA), features both a men’s and women’s tournament. The men’s event offers $176,600 in prize money with $40,000 going to the winner. The women’s tournament, which is played at the same time, has $125,600 on offer with $30,000 going to the eventual champion.

But it’s not just the prize fund and the ranking points that bring out the best in the finest players in the world. The anything-goes lure and fascination with this city seems to lend itself to greatness, to making the cream rise to the top. You’ve got to perform at an extremely high level to find success here. To know that just look at Chris Melling’s master class last year, when the Englishman steamrolled his way to the men’s title with a virtuoso performance.

At Tuesday’s press conference to kick off the event, the anticipation amongst the players was palpable. Austria’s Jasmine Oushcan, who’s played in each and every China Open, seemed to express the enthusiasm perfectly.

IMG 41662   Copy Best in Billiards Ready for Showdown in Shanghai

Now in its fourth year, the China Open, which kicks off Thursday September 13 at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium, has quickly established itself as one of the premier events in the professional pool calendar. The tournament, which is a major ranking event of the World Pool and Billiard Association(WPA), features both a men’s and women’s tournament. The men’s event offers $176,600 in prize money with $40,000 going to the winner. The women’s tournament, which is played at the same time, has $125,600 on offer with $30,000 going to the eventual champion.

“I’m really looking forward to the tournament,” Ouschan said. “I always had a good result here in Shanghai. I love the hotel, I love the venue, I love the food. We went to Shanghai downtown last night, we had a lot of shopping and nice food. I love it here. The atmosphere were great, the fans were great, so I really can’t wait to start play.”

Fan’s should certainly feel that same way as on both the men’s and women’s side, the fields are some of the strongest in memory. For the men’s tournament, Great Britain is bringing its usual big time line up with defending champ Melling, World number 1 and current World 9-ball champion Darren Appleton, 2007 World Champion Daryl Peach, Karl Boyes and Mark Gray.

Europe has sent its usual list of heavyweights including German legend and hall of famer Ralf Souquet, Thorsten Hohmann, and Oliver Ortmann. The Netherlands is represented by Nick Van Den Berg and 2011 World Ten Ball Champion Huidji See.

Fans on the lookout for new talent should pay close attention to two rising players out of Europe. Nick Ekonomopoulos of Greece has come out of nowhere to become one of Europe’s top players this year and has put himself in-line for a Mosconi Cup spot. Then there’s Albania’s Nikolaso Malaj, who’s fearless style makes him Read more ...