Liu ShaSha of China successfully defended her title and proved to the world that she is the best in women's pool by snatching the World 9-Ball Championship title for a third time. A tight tug-of-war would be expected between the defending champion and the current Euro Tour champion Jasmine Ouschan (Austria), but the final resulted with a rather surprising and preposterous score of 9-4.
In the playoff, Chieh-Yu Chou of Chinese Taipei took the 2nd runner-up place by beating Chihiro Kawahara 9-7.
When the battle reached the semi-finals, Liu was then the only player from China left in the field. If she goes out at that stage, record would be made for the first time ever that no Chinese players were in the final since the tournament had moved to China in 2009. Immense pressure then on Liu's shoulders.
Nervousness also came from other sources, such as being in the final again, the burden of defending the title, the desire to lift the trophy up for the third time, the possibility of winning the most world titles amongst team China players,... all these contributed to Liu's tension and it was shown on her face during the final match.
"All along I was playing from behind throughout the whole tournament. I did not perform well. The thought of defending the title had been haunting me. Too much nerves and pressure. My coach was trying to adjust my thoughts by asking me to focus on one ball at a time; but with him being on the bench not much could be changed anything while I was out there at the table..." said the champion after the match.
The night before the final, Liu was telling us about her desire to defend the title in Guilin. "70% of the performance will depend on psychological, if I could clear my mind then I could play well. Judging on the regular training, being in the top 4 is already satisfactory. The final tomorrow will be mere expectation. Whether win or lose I'll just play my game."
In the double-elimination stage, Liu beat Bai Ge and Han Fang to move into the next round. After that, she knocked out Akimi Kajitani of Japan (9-0), Wei Zih-Chian of Chinese Taipei (9-5), her Chinese colleague Gao Meng (9-2), and then the 3-times Amway Cup champion Chieh-Yu Chou in the semi to reach the final against Ouschan.
Having successfully defended her title, Shasha had already won the World Women 9-Ball Championship three times, passing Kim Ga-Young of Korea (2), and fell short with just one from the all time legend the "Duchess of Doom" Allison Fisher of England.
(Li XiaoLong / Samuel Lai / Allison Chang)