By Keith Paradise
CSI Staff Writer
During the day on Wednesday and the early part of Thursday, Shane Van Boening continued to flirt with disaster.
Facing Mario He Wednesday night with a spot in the final 16 on the line, the South Dakotan missed a couple of shots early, spotted He a quick 3-1 lead, then came back and defeated the Austrian, 8-6. Van Boening had a similar start in his round of 16 match against Kuwait’s Bader Al Awadhi, who took a quick 3-0 lead in the race-to-10 quarterfinals, only to watch Van Boening win 10 of 11 racks to advance to the quarterfinals.
The slow starts finally caught up with South Dakotan Thursday night in the semifinals of the Predator World 10-Ball Championships, as Johann Chua jumped out to a big lead then survived a mid-match charge before closing out the five-time United States Open 9-Ball champion, 10-6 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Chua, who defeated Alex Pagulayan to advance to the quarterfinals, will now face Naoyuki Oi of Japan in the semifinals Friday morning.
Van Boening’s troubles started from the very beginning, pocketing three balls on his first break of the set only to miss an opening bank shot on the 2 ball. Chua would give his opponent another chance after he fouled, but Van Boening again missed, handing the table back to the Filipino. Chua had built a 6-2 lead when the South Dakotan attempted to mount a comeback, taking advantage of a scratch by his opponent to half the deficit, then breaking and running to narrow the gap to 6-4. He had a chance in the 11th rack to trim the lead to a single game but misplayed position on the 4 ball, then scratched when he kicked at the ball.
Chua tacked on back-to-back racks to increase the lead to 8-4, then added another game when Van Boening scratched on the break in the 14th game. Leading 9-5, the Filipino had an opportunity to close out the match but missed the 6 ball in the corner pocket. Van Boening cleared the table to cut the lead to 9-6, but again scratched on the break in the very next game, which Chua closed out with ball-in-hand.
Meanwhile, on the event’s main table, Oi and Carlo Biado of the Philippines were staging an epic battle.
Much like Chua’s match with Van Boening, Oi was able to capitalize on a couple of unforced errors by his opponent to build an early 5-2 lead, taking advantage of a foul in the second rack and a foul in the subsequent game. Oi, who reached the semifinals by cruising past Cristopher Tevez Ocampo, had an opportunity to increase his lead to 6-2 but missed a 4 ball in the corner pocket. After Biado tacked on a pair of games to cut the lead to 6-4, Oi added three more of his own thanks to a missed shot by his opponent and a victorious safety exchange.
Just as the Filipino was tacking on a game to narrow the deficit to 8-5, Oi was beginning to struggle with his break, failing to pocket a ball in the 14th and 16th games. Biado took full advantage, running out both racks and adding a break-and-run to tie the game at eight games each, then using a safety battle to reclaim the lead, 9-8. Oi retaliated with a victorious safety exchange of his own to even the match again, forcing match-deciding rack.
The bad news for Oi was that his opponent had breaking honors. The good news was that Biado failed to land a ball, allowing Oi to clear the table, breathe a sigh of relief and head to the semifinals.
There would be no such drama in the next quarterfinals match between reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw and Aloysius Yapp of Singapore, who took advantage of a slew of mistakes and dry breaks by his opponent and coasted to a 10-5 victory.
After splitting the first two racks, Yapp took the lead for good in the third game when Shaw failed to pocket the 2 ball in the side pocket, then won six straight games thanks in large part to two unforced errors and three dry breaks from his opponent. Trailing 8-1 with match already feeling decided, Shaw broke and ran twice and took advantage of a missed shot by Yapp to halve the lead, 8-4. The two competitors traded the next two games but Yapp, who advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Oscar Dominguez, was able to stop any potential rally with a break-and-run which closed out the set.
In the remaining semifinal match of the night, Albania’s Eklent Kaci spotted Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn a 2-0 advantage, then won six games and held on at the end to advance to the semifinals, 10-7.
Competition begins at 11 a.m. local time when Oi and Chua face off in the first semifinal and continues at 1 p.m. local time when Kaci meets Yapp. The winners will advance to the finals, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. local time. Admission to the event is free at the venue and live streaming is available on YouTube and Billiard TV.
The World 10-Ball Championship is a proud part of the CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas. The CueSports International Expo is also home to the BCA Pool League World Championships, USA Pool League National Championships and numerous industry exhibitors. The 11-day billiard extravaganza attracts more than 6,000 pool players from around the world, consumes 150,000 square feet, and uses over 300 Diamond pool tables with the goal of always providing the greatest pool experience in the world.
This competition is played on Diamond Pro-Am pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights. Kamui and Omega Billiard Supplies are also partners of the event.
For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch Billiard TV or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.