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Team Asia holds 3-2 edge over Team West after Day 1

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Anchored on the perfect performance of team captain and two-time World Champion, Rubilen Amit, Team Asia leads Team West, 3-2, as Day 1 of the 2015 AM8.com Queen’s Cup closed on Thursday, April 16, at the Newport Mall, Pasay City.

Only five out of the scheduled six matches were played yesterday due to time constraints, but the five matches were action-packed and did not disappoint.

Team Asia draws first blood

Match Progress

Four on Four
Team Asia (1-0)12344 (Winner)
Team West (0-1)11


Team Asia started like a well-oiled machine as they took the first match of the tournament, the first four-on-four match, 4-1 to take a headstart.

The team composed by Rubilen Amit, Jennifer Chen, Eunji Park, and world number 1 Siming Chen bucked language barrier to cruise to the first three frames of the match. Amit started the ball rolling for the Asians as she successfully pocketed a ball on the break. The team consequently wiped all the balls for the early lead, 1-0.

Vivian Villareal of the USA broke for Team West, but ended up making a scratch that proved to be crucial as Team Asia again pocketed all the balls to lead 2-0. Nonetheless, her team got its first chance to score after J. Chen had a dry break, although they failed to capitalize on it, allowing Team Asia to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

On the fourth frame, Ireland’s Karen Corr also had dry break, but a miss on the 7-ball by Amit was all Team West needed to score and cut the deficit to 2, 1-3. The Asians won’t be denied of the victory though as they took the last frame, 4-1.

Barretta and Corr levels the tally

Match Progress

Doubles
J. Chen/S. Chen Team Asia (1-1)122
J. Barretta/K. Corr Team West (1-1)12344 (Winner)

Things did not start out well for the Team West duo, as Barretta missed on a shot on the 3-ball. World’s top player Shiming Chen, who presented a clear shot at a 3-10 combo, did not waste the opportunity and pocketed the 10-ball to take the lead for Team Asia, 1-0. In the following frame, however, S. Chen missed on the 7-ball and Team West tied it, 1-1. Jennifer Barretta and Karen Corr tied things up as they took the second match, the first doubles, 4-2.

Barretta made up for her initial error of the game in the third as she hit a successful placement shot on the 8-ball. Jennifer Chen, who could not solve the table, missed on this 8-ball; and the Westeners took the lead, 2-1. In the next rack, S. Chen missed on the clear shot to the 4-ball to pave the way for Team West to clear the table and further their lead, 3-1.

It looked like Team West would register a similar 4-1 win, but the veteran Corr made a crucial miss on the 9-ball. J. Chen took the opportunity, and pocketed the last two balls to go within 1, 2-3. However, it was Corr who would finish the game via a 7-10 combo in the final frame, as J. Chen scratched in the previous shot.

Amit and Park pulled through to regain lead

Match Progress

 Doubles
R. Amit/E.Park Team Asia (2-1)12344 (Winner)
E. Laurance/V. Villareal Team West (1-2)1233

Both teams struggled on the break as most players could not pocket a ball on the first hit. In the first frame, Vivian Villareal had no clear shot on the 2-ball and was forced to hide it. Amit successfully got to hit the ball though, as she and Park cleared the table to take the first, 1-0. Both team missed on several chances on the second frame, but it was Villareal’s miss on the 5-ball that pegged the result in favour of Team Asia, 2-0. Amit and Park took the following frame, as Villareal failed on her attempt on a bank shot to the 8-ball. Amit pocketed the 10-ball for a commanding 3-0 gap. Philippines’ own, Rubilen Amit, and Korea’s Eunji Park prevented a comeback by Team West to win the third match, 4-3, and reclaim the lead in the tournament, 2-1.

With a big lead, Park had to break for the fourth frame. The Korean got the 1-ball to drop but scratched as well. Ewa Laurance placed the ball near the clear line of 2-10, and got the 10 to drop to cut the deficit to 2, 1-3. This sparked the Westeners’ comeback as they were able to breeze through the next frames despite the defensive shots by Team Asia to tie the match at hill-hill, 3-3.

With a good table in front of them, Team West looked to complete the comeback, but Laurance missed on the 4-ball. Park and Amit calmly sank the balls, and got the win, 4-3, after several minutes of intense action.

Amit takes one against Corr

Match Progress

Singles
Rubilen Amit Team Asia (3-1)12344 (Winner)
Karen Corr Team West (1-3)1233

The multifaceted veteran, Corr raced off to the early lead as Amit continued to produce dry breaks in the later matches. The Irishwoman pocketed the 10-ball off 6-10 combo to get the lead at 1-0. Corr went on to break and run the succeeding frame, as she doubled her gap 2-0. In the third frame, Amit again was unable to get any ball to drop off her break. Yet, the Filipina world champion took the game into a mind battle with her placement shots. It was successful, as Amit took the next two frames to tie the match a 2-apiece. Team Asia skipper, Rubilen Amit, continued her streak as she upended Karen Corr, 4-3, in the first singles match to give her team a 3-1 lead.

Amit carried on with the defensive strategy in the crucial fifth rack, and was consequently rewarded with a shot at the 6-10 combo, but missed. However, the 6-ball rolled into a difficult position for Corr to take, causing her fail on her attempt on a jump shot. Amit did not miss this time, pocketing the 10-ball on an 8-10 combo, and taking the lead and the hill, 3-2. Corr, however, bounced back in the next frame as she bucked off a bad break, wherein the cue ball went off the table. The multi-titled veteran missed on a two-rail bank shot, but Amit was not able to capitalize. Moreover, Corr went on to get her groove to tie the match once more, 3-all.

The Asian captain, Amit, started the deciding frame with her first successful break, getting the 1-ball to drop. However, Amit missed on the 2. On the other hand, Corr missed on a subsequent play as well, and the Filipina took the chance take the win, 4-3, to double Asia’s overall lead, 3-1.

Villareal takes one back for West

Match Progress

Singles
E.Park Team Asia (3-2)11
V. Villareal Team West (2-3)12344 (Winner)

United States’ Vivian Villareal got some measure of revenge and confidence back as she pummelled on the Korean rookie, Eunji Park, 4-1, for Team West to stay within striking distance of the defending champions, Team Asia, as Day 1 closed.

It was a highly defensive match early on, as neither player took a shot on the 1-ball in the first frame. Park took the initiative, but missed, allowing Villareal to run out the table for the lead, 1-0. The Korean got the 3-ball to drop in her break on the second frame, but committed crucial miss on the 2-ball. The experienced American wasted no time to capitalize, as she took the clear 2-10 line, and shot the 10 for a 2-0 lead.

In the following frame, Villareal had a dry break and scratched. Despite this, Park was unable to capitalize, as she could not clear the table. It was Villareal who ran out this rack to take the hill, 3-0.

Sensing some need for urgency, the Korean broke hard in the fourth, getting two balls to drop. The cue ball, though, dropped as well. The Texas-based veteran could not finish the table, and Park got into the board, 1-3. Villareal would go out to win this very defensive battle on the last frame, 4-1.


Team Asia will try to pad on the gap as Team West will try to build up from the comeback. In an interview to the media, Team West captain, Ewa Laurance, shared that her team was still adjusting to the climate and the atmosphere in the first few matches. She said the win of Vivian Villareal was important, “so that we will stay with Team Asia.” The Swedish skipper added, “We lost two 4-3 matches before that. It was really anybody’s game.”

Day 2 of the tournament will be Friday, April 17 at the same venue. Schedule is as follows:
Triples: Corr/Barretta/Laurance vs S.CHEN/ PARK/ AMIT 
Singles – Jennifer Barretta(USA) vs Siming Chen (CHN)
Singles – Ewa Mataya Laurance (SWE) vs Jennifer Chen (TPE)
Triples – Corr/ Villarreal/Laurance vs Amit/S.Chen/J.Chen
Doubles – Corr/Barretta vs Amit/S.Chen
4 on 4 – All players
Singles  – Karen Corr (IRE) vs Eunji Park (KOR) (Captain’s Pick)

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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