South Elmsall pool queen Kelly Fisher failed in her attempt to become the first woman to successfully defend her China Open crown over the weekend.
Fisher, still the world’s number one female pool player, made it through to the semi-finals of the competition she won last year but bowed out with a close-fought 9-8 loss against Chen Si Meng, the eventual runner-up.
The South Elmsall player, who now lives in Scotland, travelled over to Shanghai for the event, which put $30,000 on the table for the winner.
The event is usually dominated by Asian participants but Fisher bucked the trend last year and was keen to do the same going into this year’s defence.
A comfortable 9-3 victory over Taiwanese opponent Tsai Pei Chen saw her comfortably through the first round and another comfortable victory, a 9-5 success against Lan Hiushan, had Fisher in confident mood going into her semi-final meeting against her 19-year-old Chinese opponent.
The champion knew her last-four test would be tougher, however, against a talented young player who represents the Chinese national women’s team.
The match was played in front of a packed crowd and Si Meng made the most of home advantage to grab an early 3-0 lead in the first-to-nine match.
Fisher battled back to tie the scores and the two stars exchanged frames in a high-quality match before the Elmsall pool ace battled back from 8-6 down to force a one rack decider.
A mistake from a safety shot allowed the home player victory, however, and Si Meng went on to face Liu Sha Sha in Sunday’s final, with the latter winning the tournament.
“It was a quality match,” Fisher said.
“She played solid. I made a few mistakes in the middle of the match and that cost me.
“In the last rack I thought the safety I played on the 2 ball was perfect but I guess she could see just a little bit of the ball.
“She’s always been at that very high standard. But this time she’s held it together better than she’s done in the past. I made two more mistakes than her and in a way she deserved to win.”
Fisher will look for better fortunes when she travels to America and her former home of Charlotte for the Ultimate 10 Ball Championship next month.