The GuangDong Provincial 9-Ball League Grand Final 2018 (TTI Sport Cup) rounded up on 22 August 2018 at the FoShan NanHai Stadium (Wiraka Billiards Academy). After 4 days of intensive matches, ZhenQi Xue chalked up his second victory of this title by defeating dark horse XiaoWen Liang 8-5 in the final.
Even though the league is catered for amateur category, the grand final was filled with a crowd of numerous top pool players living or working in the province, including the dual (snooker and pool) GuangDong provincial champion ZhenQi Xue of ZhanJiang, all-round pool champion Peter Chan from Macau, former national team female player Dora Zhou from HeNan, current and former top 16 players Ray Fong and Samuel Lai from Hong Kong, Taiwanese coach Yi-Yu Chou, as well as seasoned players from ZhanJiang such as ZhiQiang Xu, LiJin Wang and ShengHua Wang. A huge crowd of audience also attended the event. The tournament was broadcast live on CCTV微视, with Mr. Lo Sui behind the mic throughout the whole event, and viewers reached 300K at its peak.
ZhenQi Xue, Yi-Yu Chou, ShengHua Wang, and XiaoWen Liang (GuangDong) were the last four standing after three days of fierce battle. Liang, who uses a snooker cue for pool tournaments, was the underestimated one out of the lot. Wang was on his way to victory but failed to sink the final nine ball during nil-nil, Liang took no hesitation to round it up upsetting his opponent. Liang said that it was a pleasant surprise for making it into the final, with most of it being luck! The path to the hot seat, Xue was sent to the consolation bracket by Chou in the group stage, but managed to come back and took his vengeance in the semi final.
The final between Xue and Liang started at 4:00pm sharp. Xue won the frame and made a fantastic break and marked his first score on the scoreboard. Liang followed to even it by winning the next rack. The crowd was entertained by the long shots made by Xue and soon he was leading by 3-1. Both players exchanged safety shots in the fifth frame with Liang playing better than the other. Xue scratched on the sixth to give Liang the chance to make it all square at 4-4.
Players’ grit and mental strength in these critical moments count a lot, any carelessness would cost them the rack or even the title. Even though Xue made a minor mistake in the previous rack, he managed to adjust his game by shuttling between pots and safety shots. Xue regained confidence and dominated the table to win the next three racks, putting himself on the hill. However, Xue failed on the seven ball in the subsequent rack allowing Liang to pull one back. Still, the former champion stayed calm and sunk the final stripe to win the tournament for a second time with a score of 8-5.
During the award ceremony, ZhenQi Xue received his trophy and awards presented by Mr. Jeffrey Ng, Chairman of the Foshan Nanhai Riley Wiraka Sports Equipment Co. Ltd. Liang received his runner-up prizes from Ms. Janns Ng, Executive Director of TTI Sports Culture Co. Ltd. and the Dean of Asia Pool and Billiards Academy (APBA), while the awards for the quarter finalists were being presented by Mr. Lo Sui, aka King of the Diamond Systems.
“My form wasn’t great this time, I need to practice more,” said the winner during the post match interview. But still, the 2-times champion could not hide his smiling face. “This is the highest level of provincial 9-Ball I’ve encountered, all of the players were strong. I’ll continue to play the Provincial 9-Ball Championship and the World 9-Ball Wildcard Tournament, as well as the China Open in Shanghai.” With this win, I’ll have more confidence making it to bigger international tournaments.” Wiraka wishes him the best of luck in his matches upcoming.
TTI Sports also invited former world 9-ball champion Mr. Luo Sui, aka King of the Diamond Systems, and Mr. Steven Lin, director of the APBA, together with their apprentice MuYan Zhang, 14 years of age and ranked 17th of the CBSA Chinese 8-Ball, to perform live coaching with demonstration and elaboration on various Diamond System formulas including 1-, 2- and 3-cushions technique.
Immediate after the League Grand Final, the Wiraka Academy will continue to entertain the crowd with heavy-weighted tournaments such the GuangDong Provincial 9-Ball Championship 2018 and the World 9-Ball Championship Qualifier (Wildcard), co-sponsored by Wiraka Academy and FURY Cues.
Both events will be played at the Wiraka Academy in FoShan, GuangDong, China. Endorsed by the China Billiard & Snooker Association (CBSA) and the Asia Confederation of Billiard Sports (ACBS), the Wiraka Academy puts together comprehensive service and facilities with outstanding designed training courses with in-house top class trainers from both local and overseas, thus providing an ideal workshop for billiard lovers of different levels.
The League Grand Final would like to thank the Wiraka Academy for the providing of Wiraka Dynasty (皇朝) pool tables and Wiraka 980 cloth, as well as sponsors FURY Cues, Aramith BBalls, CCTV微视 for the exclusive live-streaming, and TTI Sport for executing the tournament.