Melling Averts First Round Flop at China Open

Defending Champ Pulls off Great Escape on Day 1

By Ted Lerner/WPA Press Officer

Photo by Tai Chengzhe/Top147.com

(Shanghai, China)–The 2012 China Open got underway on a rainy Thursday afternoon here in Shanghai, and it didn’t take very long for the fireworks to start going off inside the Shanghai Pundong Yuanshen Stadium.

Defending Champion Chris Melling from England was first up on the TV table and immediately found himself in a dogfight with tough Chinese player Dai Yong. The 33 year old Englishman couldn’t get a shot off the break while Yong had all the rolls and led throughout the race to 9 match. Dang was one away from a monumental upset at 8-6 but couldn’t close the deal on Melling. Then at 8-8, Dang had to give up the table with only four balls remaining. Melling pulled a great escape when he nailed a hair raising full table bank on the 7 ball, then a full table pot on the 9 for a 9-8 win at the wire.

“Everything went his way,” Melling said afterwards. “I couldn’t get a shot on the break and I had to play silly shots on every rack. I guess I was lucky to win but I also feel that I deserve it. But you need luck to win in pool.”

The 64 players in the men’s field are divided into eight groups of 8, playing double elimination. Four players from each group will advance to the final 32 single elimination stage.

There were several other tight matches in the early sessions of the men’s event. In a battle of two former China Open champions, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann came from behind and barely beat Taiwan’s Chang Yu Lung, 9-8. China’s Liu Haitao also won a sudden death match, beating Chinese Taipei’s Chao Yung Hwa, 9-8.

china open melling Melling Averts First Round Flop at China Open

Defending Champion Chris Melling from England was first up on the TV table and immediately found himself in a dogfight with tough Chinese player Dai Yong. The 33 year old Englishman couldn’t get a shot off the break while Yong had all the rolls and led throughout the race to 9 match. Dang was one away from a monumental upset at 8-6 but couldn’t close the deal on Melling. Then at 8-8, Dang had to give up the table with only four balls remaining. Melling pulled a great escape when he nailed a hair raising full table bank on the 7 ball, then a full table pot on the 9 for a 9-8 win at the wire.

World number one and current World 9-ball champion Darren Appleton had a walk in the park as he cruised past South Africa’s outclassed David Van Den Berg, 9-0. In another whitewash which will surely raise some eyebrows, Qatar’s Waleed Majeed blanked the USA’s Corey Duel, 9-0.

Conditions on the Star tables were giving some players fits, as the new cloth and cold air inside the arena made for super slick ball movement and bouncy rails. The use of the Magic Rack template almost guarantees that at least one ball is made on the break. The result is that getting an open shot off the break is often the decider in a rack, if you can get the speed of the table.

The USA’s Mike Dechaine found himself shaking his head after getting clobbered in the second session. It was the talented American’s first time to play in Asia and he had about as tough opponent as one could ask for in Chinese-Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi. The match wasn’t even close as a jet-lagged Dechaine couldn’t adjust to the tables, and he lost 9-2.

“This is totally different from how we play in America,” Dechaine said afterwards. “I couldn’t get the feel of the table.” Overall it’s been a miserable opening day so far for the USA, as Hunter Lombardo also lost.

The second session the afternoon had several exciting matches as Germany’s Oliver Ortmann scraped by Taiwan’s talented Lo Li Wen, 9-8. In a major upset, Sweden’s Adreas Gerwen beat the Philippines Dennis Orcollo, 9-8. In an intriguing battle of two talented Filipinos, Read more ...