By Ted Lerner, WPA Press Officer – wpapool.com
(Shenyang, China)–To say that Karen Corr is a big name in the sport of women’s professional pool would be quite the massive understatement. In a career spanning 13 years in the US, the native of Northern Ireland has won just about everything there is to win in pool, including 15 Classic Tour titles, four BCA Open titles, three WPBA National Championships and three Tournament of Champions titles. In 2012 Corr was rewarded for her accomplishments with the greatest accolade of them all; she was inducted into the Billiard Congress of America (BCA) Hall of Fame.
Corr, however, arrived in Shenyang, China this week for the 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship practically unnoticed. In 2011 she stepped away from the game to care for her dying mother, who passed away in July of last year. Late last year, however, Corr decided to come back to pool. And clearly she’s got plenty of the legendary fight left in her.
In her first match of the tournament on Day 1 here in Shenyang, Corr found herself up against the formidable Jasmin Ouschan of Austria. Down 6-3 in a race to 7, Corr pounced on several horrid mistakes by Ouschan, and ended up taking a miraculous win, 7-6.
Later, in a winner’s side match for a slot in the final 32 knockout stage, Corr looked rock solid and handily defeated Germany’s Ina Kaplan, 7-4.
Afterward, Corr explained how this tournament just might be her last go around in pool.
“I need a good result or that’s it,” the 42 year old said. “I’m going to retire from pool.”
Corr said she traveled to Shenyang on her own dime. With the tight economy back home combined with her time away from the game, she has found it near impossible to find any backing whatsoever. The lack of playing opportunities hasn’t helped either.
“I think I’m going to have to find a real job.”
A good result, according to Corr, means nothing short of winning the World Championship this week. While her lengthy sabbatical would seem to mean her chances of taking the trophy are quite slim, Corr has had more than a little success in this event in the past. Four times she’s finished runner up in the World 9-ball Championship, the last in 2009, when she lost 9-5 to 16 year old Liu Shasha, after leading 5-1.
And then, of course, there’s that old saying, something about playing loose when nobody, even yourself, expects you to do anything.
“I have no expectations,” Corr said, “which I guess is a good thing.”
One who did come into this event with plenty of expectations was Corr’s first opponent today, Ouschan, who shockingly went two and out and will be flying back to Austria tomorrow. Ouschan’s quick exit, and how it happened, was easily the biggest story of the day inside the warm and humid Richgate Shopping Center.
After blowing her match against Corr, Ouschan came up against China’s formidable Bai Ge on the losers side. Ouschan played catch-up throughout the match and at 6-4 down it looked to be curtains as she scratched on the break. But then Bai incredibly blew a massively easy 9-ball to hand the Austrian a lifeline. At 6-5, Bai again choked on a run out and the score was tied at 6 all. After Bai scratched in the final rack, Ouschan was running the colors when she inexplicably bobble a fairly straight in 7 ball in the jaws and lost the match.
Most of pool’s other big names rolled through to the final 32 today. Defending champion Kelly Fisher didn’t look her championship best, but it was good enough to win two straight and start fresh in the knockout stage Saturday. She said the conditions were difficult to get used to.
“I’m playing good but I’m also making silly mistakes,” Fisher said. “I’m getting used to the conditions. It’s very hot out there. I have to get more control of the cue. I stepped it up here and there. I’m not thinking of repeating. I can’t get a better result than last year. I just take each match as it comes.”
World number 2 Liu Shasha of China won two straight to qualify, as did fellow Chinese and world number 3 Chen Siming. World number 4 and 2010 World 9-ball Champion, and last year’s runner up, Fu Xiaofang lost her first match to fellow Chinese Zhou Doudou. Fu bounced back with a solid 7-2 win over the USA’s Jennifer Barretta.
Fu will play on Friday for a spot in the final 32 against Hall of Famer, and four time winner of this event, Allison Fisher. Fisher lost her second match of the day against Singapore’s Charlene Chai, 7- 3.
China’s superstar and “Queen of 9-ball,” Pan Xiaoting, kept the home fans delighted as she won two straight matches on the TV table to reach the round of 32.
Another notable who qualified with two straight wins was Taiwans’s Chieh-Yu Chou. Chieh, who just won gold at the World Games in Columbia, was a semi-finalist here last year and is the currently number one player in Taiwan and world number 8. Her game looks unflappable and fans can expect to see her go far again this year.
Another popular player looking solid is Korea’s Ga Young Kim. Kim, who won two straight today to qualify, recently won the ladies division at the Ultimate 10-ball tournament in the US. After routing fellow Korean Park Eunji 7-0, Kim said she is better prepared to win this year. Last year during this same event she was in the middle of training for her appearance on Korea’s Dancing With the Stars. She actually flew in her dance partner to Shenyang to train four hours of dancing between matches. Without such distractions this year, and a recent win under her belt, Kim has to be one of the strong favorites to lift the trophy on Monday.
“I’d love to have another title,” she said.
Play continues on Saturday with the last rounds on the losers side of the brackets. The round of 32 single elimination knockout will also be played tomorrow leaving 16 players left at the end of play Saturday. Four players will be left after Sunday. The semi-finals and finals will be played on Monday.
The winner of the 2103 WPA Women’s World 9-ball Championship will receive $40,000 while the runner up will receive $20,000. The total prize fund is $150,000.
*The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) will be on hand in Shenyang throughout the week bringing you all the drama from the 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship. WPA Press Officer Ted Lerner will be reporting from the Richgate Shopping Center with daily articles containing insight and analysis, as well as photos. Ted will also be manning the WPA Facebook page and Twitter feed and responding to fans queries and comments. Fans can also follow all matches via the WPA live scoring platform.
Please visit the WPA Facebook page for the 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/2013-WPA-Womens-World-9-ball-Championship/360470447416060?ref=hl
*The 2013 Women’s World 9-ball will be held in Shenyang, China from August 6-12, and is sanctioned by the World Pool & Billiard Association (WPA). 64 women players from across the globe will compete for the biggest prize in Women’s Pool. The 2013 Women’s World 9-ball Championship is a WPA ranking event.
RESULTS FROM DAY 1
Kelly Fisher (GBR) 7 – 0 Wendy Cook Berylin (NZL)
Wei Tzu Chein (TPE) 7 – 3 Hou Shu Wah (CHN)
Wang Xiaotong (CHN) 7 – 5 Angeline Magdalena Ticaalu (INA)
Chichiro Kawahara (JPN) 7 – 1 Amanda Rahayu (INA)
Lai Hui Shan (TPE) 7 – 0 Mirjana Grujici (VEN)
Nouchi Masam 7 – 5 Caroline Roos (SWE)
Iris Ranola (PHL) 7 – 5 Meenal Thakur (IND)
Chou Chieh-Yu (TPE) 7 – 0 Wu Zhi Ting (TPE)
Kim Ga Young (KOR) 7 – 6 Li Jia (CHN)
Park Eunji (KOR) 7 – 5 Lyndall Hulley (AUS)
Chen Xue (CHN) 7 – 6 Chang Chiung-Wen (TPE)
Lin Yuan-Chun (TPE) 7 – 4 Bi Zhuqing (CHN)
Allison Fisher (GBR) 7 – 4 Choi Sullip
Charlene Chai (SIN) 7 – 2 Susanna Booyens (RSA)
Chan Ya Ting (TPE) 7 – 3 Jennifer Barretta (USA)
Zhou Doudou (CHN) 7 – 5 Fu Xiaofang (CHN)
Chen Siming (CHN) 7 – 1 Ana Gradisnik (SLO)
Sone Kyoko (JPN) 7 – 5 Jeung Bo Ra (KOR)
Wu Jing (CHN) 7 – 2 Rebecca Tsang (HKG)
Jennifer Vietz (GER) 7 – 5 Cha Yu Ram (KOR)
Gao Meng (CHN) 7 – 5 Rubilen Amit (PHL)
Pan Xiaoting (CHN) 7 – 0 Martine Christiansen (NOR)
Huang Yi Ting (TPE) 7 – 4 Taylor Meyer (AUS)
Tsai Pei Chen (TPE ) 7 – 2 Natalia Seroshtan (RUS)
Tan Ho-Yun (TPE) 7 – 4 Akimi Kajatani (JPN)
He Hsin Ju (CHN) 7 – 4 Brittany Bryant (CAN)
Ina Kaplan (GER) 7 – 5 Bai Ge (CHN)
Karen Corr (IRL) 7 – 6 Jasmin Ouschan (AUT)
Han Yu (CHN) 7 – 2 Cheung Pui Man (HKG)
Anna Mazhirina (RUS) 7 – 6 Jiang Teng (CHN)
Ine Helvik (NOR) 7 – 6 Severine Titaux (FRA)
Liu Shasha (CHN) 7 – 1 Lin Hsiao Chi (TPE)
Day 1, Losers Bracket
Loser is out, winner gets 1 more chance to qualify on Saturday
Hou Shu Wah (CHN) 7 – 0 Wendy Cook Berylin (NZL)
Angeline Magdalena Ticaalu (INA) 7 – 5 Amanda Rahayu (INA)
Caroline Roos (SWE) 7 – 4 Mirjana Grujici (VEN)
Wu Zhi Ting (TPE) 7 – 4 Meenal Thakur (IND)
Li Jia (CHN) 7 – 3 Lyndall Hulley (AUS)
Bi Zhuqing (CHN) 7 – 4 Chang Chiung-Wen(TPE)
Fu Xiaofang (CHN) 7 – 2 Jennifer Barretta (USA)
Choi Sullip 7 – 1 Susanna Booyens (RSA)
Cha Yu Ram (KOR) 7 – 0 Rebecca Tsang (HKG)
Jung Bo Ra (KOR) 7 – 5 Ana Gradisnik (SLO)
Rubilen Amit (PHL) 7 – 3 Martine Christiansen (NOR)
Natalia Seroshtan (RUS) 7 – 3 Taylor Meyer (AUS)
Bai Ge (CHN) 7 – 6 Jasmin Ouschan (AUT)
Akimi Kajatani (JPN) 7 – 6 Brittany Bryant (CAN)
Cheung Pui Man (HKG) 7 – 0 Jiang Teng (CHN)
Lin Hsiao Chi (TPE) 7 – 0 Severine Titaux (FRA)
Winners Bracket, 2nd Round
Winner goes thru to final 32, Loser goes to losers side of the bracket for one more chance to qualify on Saturday
Kelly Fisher (GBR) 7 – 4 Wei Tzu Chein (TPE)
Chichiro Kawahara (JPN) 7 – 5 Wang Xiaotong (CHN)
Chou Chieh-Yu (TPE) 7 – 5 Iris Ranola (PHL)
Nouchi Masami (JPN) 7 – 2 Lai Hui Shan (TPE)
Kim Ga Young (KOR) 7 – 0 Park Eunji (KOR)
Lin Yuan-Chun (TPE) 7 – 2 Chen Xue (CHN)
Charlene Chai (SIN) 7 – 3 Allison Fisher (GBR)
Chan Ya Ting (TPE) 7 – 5 Zhou Doudou (CHN)
Chen Siming (CHN) 7 – 1 Sone Kyoko (JPN)
Wu Jing (CHN) 7 – 1 Jennifer Vietz (GER)
Pan Xiaoting (CHN) 7 – 5 Gao Meng (CHN)
Tsai Pei Chen (TPE) 7 – 2 Huang Yi Ting (TPE)
He Hsin Ju (CHN) 7 – 5 Tan Ho-Yun (TPE)
Karen Corr (IRL) 7 – 4 Ina Kaplan (GER)
Han Yu (CHN) 7 -4 Anna Mazhirina (RUS)
Liu Shasha (CHN) 7 -3 Ine Helvik (NOR)