Amit Wins First World Billiard Title
Rubilen Amit Wins Women’s World 10 Ball Championships
Three matches were on schedule for the final day of the Inaugural Women’s World 10 Ball Championships. The first semifinal that was played was between host country favorite Rubilen Amit (PHILIPPINES) and Akimi Kajitani (JAPAN). The second semi was between reigning European champion Jasmin Ouschan (AUSTRIA) and two-time world champion Shin-Mei Liu (TAIWAN). Each semi was a race to 9, with the final being a race to 10 and the winner receiving $20,000 USD.
The first semifinal started out pretty tight with the players trading racks and ending up tied at 5-5. One turning point in the match took place in rack number 11. Kajitani seemed to be on her way to running out the rack but rattled the 7 ball, allowing Amit to run the rest of the rack with a gift of a two-game swing. Amit then won the next rack, giving her the small comfort of a two-game lead in such a close match. In rack number 13 Amit broke dry and the 10 ball made its way toward the corner pocket and settled right in front of it. Kajitani had to bank the 1 ball into the 10 and did so, bringing the lead back to just one game. The next rack Amit played a good safety on the 7 ball and was rewarded for her precise play when Kajitani failed to hit the 7 ball, giving Amit ball in hand to run out the rest of the rack. That win put Amit on the hill. In rack number 15 Amit broke dry and Kajitani ran out to the 9 ball but missed it badly. Amit made the last two balls for a 9-6 victory.
The second semifinal started out just like the first semifinal and ended up also tied at 5-5. The turning point in this match seemed like déjà vu when Ouschan was running out the rack but rattled the 7 ball. Liu ran out the rest of the rack, and Ouschan was visibly upset at the two-game swing that just happened. The next rack proved to be huge when Liu had the opportunity to pocket a 1-10 combo with ball in hand but failed to make it. Ouschan was hooked behind another ball but had a shot at the 1-10 combo by having to hit a kick shot into the 1-10, but she also failed to make the combination for the win. In doing so Ouschan left Liu an easy second chance at the combo, and she took advantage of the opportunity and extended her lead to 7-5. The very next rack presented another great opportunity for Liu when she had ball in hand and lined up a 2-10 combo to put a dagger into Ouschan. Liu made the combo but scratched as she did not control the cue ball as she should have. Ouschan ran out that rack to bring the match again within 1 game at 7-6. In rack number 14 Ouschan scratched on the break, and this proved to be the dagger when Liu took ball in hand and ran out the rack to get on the hill. Ouschan had one last opportunity to mount a comeback in the next rack but missed the 5 ball, allowing Liu to run out the rack for a chance to play Rubilen Amit in the final.
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A funny thing happened between the second semifinal and the final when the tournament promoter required Shin-Mei Liu to change her pants as she was wearing black jeans. She had been wearing jeans throughout the tournament and wore them in the second semifinal also. If she were superstitious, this might have played a big role in the final. Her new pants that she put on may have carried a little bad luck with them, for Liu had a horrible showing in the final match.
But luck itself wasn’t going to stop the stellar showing that Amit presented in the final match. Amit is required by her manager, Mr. Puyat of Puyat Sports, to play with the likes of Efren Reyes and Francisco Bustamante in the Villar Cup series of tournaments. That tournament training must have paid off, because Liu had little to no chance of beating Rubilen in this match. Liu made uncharacteristic mistakes for a two-time world champion, allowing Amit to win two games for every game that she won until the score was 6-3. Liu won the next rack to bring it to 6-4. In rack number 11 Liu seemed to be running out when she missed the 7 ball, the ball that seemed to be a nuisance for the players. Amit ran out the rest of the rack to extend her lead to 7-4. In rack number 12 Amit broke dry and Liu attempted a 1-4 combo but missed, and Amit ran out the rest of that rack, going up 8-4. Amit again broke dry in rack number 13, and Liu played a great safety on the 5 ball, but Amit kicked two rails at it and made it in the pocket that she called. That was the last shot that Liu would hit in this tournament, as Amit would run the rest of that rack and proceeded to break and run the final rack to be crowned the first-ever Women’s World 10-Ball champion! With that win Amit validates her runner-up finish in the 2007 World 9-Ball Championships and proves that she belongs with the elite women in the world.