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Taufiq ends Golden Break campaign as semi-finalist

Brunei Darussalam’s cueist Ahmad Taufiq Murni finished as semi-finalists in the 8th Golden Break 9 Ball Open. - LIM TAT HWE
Brunei Darussalam’s cueist Ahmad Taufiq Murni finished as semi-finalists in the 8th Golden Break 9 Ball Open. – LIM TAT HWE

BY  Fadhil Yunus 

BRUNEI Darussalam’s national cueist Ahmad Taufiq Murni ended a relatively successful campaign in the 8th Golden Break 9 Ball Open 2017 as joint semi-finalists after losing 8-11 to Aloysius Yapp of Singapore in the last four at the Golden Break SJC in Malaysia yesterday. This was Taufiq’s finest ever performance in the Golden Break tournament eclipsing the feats he achieved in 2014 and 2016 when he reached the last 32 stage on both occasions.

The Brunei top ranked cueist defeated Mark Ryan Hidalgo in the quarterfinals to set up an exciting clash against his rival Aloysius, who he has already faced in his career notably in the SEA Games.

In the eighth frame, Aloysius executed a perfectly sliced one ball into the middle pocket after inspecting the table but could not follow his subsequent shot with a bank shot on the two-ball leaving a window of opportunity for Taufiq.

Taufiq still had work to do with a long range attempt with the cue ball so close to the cushion but nevertheless potted a fine attempt and allowed good positioning on the next ball. The country’s top cueist cleared the table to trim Aloysius’s lead but the Singaporean restored his two-frame lead.

Taufiq, who is ranked 99th by the World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA), pulled back again to within one frame but Aloysius forced an error after snookering the cue ball which was placed closely tight with another coloured ball.

The Brunei cueist went for a jump shot but completely missed it before Aloysius made no mistake to extend his lead to 6-4 heading into a short break.

Taufiq found an angle to sink the two-ball into the corner pocket before finishing the table with aplomb to keep pressure to the world number 45.

With Aloysius leading 9-7, Taufiq pocketed a difficult bank shot but he did not have good positioning for his next shot which prompted him to commit a foul.

The former world junior pool champion seized the opportunity and received a minor scare after his shot appeared to have landed short off the table for the decisive nine-ball.

Aloysius, who reached the quarter-finals of the World 9 Ball Championships in Doha, Qatar in 2015, calmly slotted the nine-ball to climb up the hill leaving Taufiq with no margin of error though the Bruneian saved one rack after trimming the lead by two frames.

Taufiq did not make a clean break after the cue ball landed awkwardly with the one-ball not a potable shot which led to a series of good decision-making for his opponent.

Aloysius’s only obstacle was the three-ball firmly attached with the nine-ball but when he executed the draw shot to set the two ball apart it was a clear route to victory in a frame he would not relinquish.

Meanwhile in the other semi-final, world No 3 Ko Pin Yi made light work of Philippines’ Pajuay Valeriano in an 11-4 victory.

The tournament attracted participating countries from Maldives, Bangladesh, Iran, England, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea as well as the SEA Games participating countries with the exception of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

The Asian Pocket Billiard Union-ranking tournament attracted some of the world’s top names with Ko Pin Yi heading the list as well as compatriot Ko Ping Chung and Philippines’ Carlo Biado.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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