Saturday, May 30

Sim surges to first major title as Tan falters again


Sim (centre) receives the trophy from Swan City Recreational Club chairman Mark Yeo as Malaysian Snooker & Billiards Federation secretary general Iskandar Perwira Putra Abdullah Sanggura looks on.

SIBU: Dark horse Riccardo Sim finally found a formula to nail a major title when he edged tournament favorite Tan Chin Yong 4-2 (63-24, 55-14, 13-64, 57-48, 3-54, 62-26) in the final of the Swan City Invitational Snooker Championship at Executive 3 Snooker Centre here on Friday night.

He pocketed the RM2,500 cash prize for the hard fought victory while Tan had to be contented with RM1,000.

The 50-year-old businessman was jubilant yet relieved after the gruelling battle.

“Of course, I feel the adrenalin rush during the matches and I am glad to win my first title in a major snooker tournament.

It’s tough and I am happy that it was finally over. I will continue to savor and cherish my victory for a long time to come,” he said

For Tan, it was the second time in a row that he had to play bridesmaid, having lost to Rolando Lim in the Sarawak Closed held in Kuching last month.

“Perhaps, it’s just not my day and I promise to come back stronger and sharper next time,” he said.

Sim did not give himself much of a chance at the start of the tournament.

With top players like Rolando Lim, Hardy Carloss, Hussen Onn and Brunei No. 3 Md Hasrijam Hasasan, he saw himself as merely making up the numbers.

However, along the way, especially after he ousted Hasrijam 4-3 in the quarter-final, he started to raise his hopes for the title.

In the final showdown Sim jumped to a 2-0 lead but started to feel complacent and allowed Tan to wrest the third frame.

In the 4th frame Sim resumed command with breaks of 31 to edge ahead.

Tan rallied and achieved breaks of 22 and 13 to stay withing striking distance, though still trailing 37-50 at one stage.

With three coloured balls reminaing, Sim failed to pot an easy black and all eyes were on Tan to clear the table and take the frame.

But it was not to be. Tan managed to pot the blue and purple but, somehow, the black refused to go into the pocket and ended up at the side cushion in the middle of the table.

It was a most difficult angle to pot, perhaps even for current world champion Judd Trump. Sim, however, somehow tried and it surprisingly rolled into the pocket, much to the amazement of the spectators.

Yet Tan remained unfazed when he returned for the 5th frame.

He showed composure with breaks of 12, 16 to lead at 48-2, 51-2 before wrapping up the game at 54-3 to reduce the deficit to 2-3.

In the 6th frame, Sim broke into another of his brilliant runs with breaks of 25 and 12 to surge into a 35-4 lead, leaving Tan having to play catch up once more.

Earlier in the semi-finals Tan had beaten Hardy Carloss 4-3 (22-67, 65-6, 28-68, 56-26, 25-71, 76-17, 64-23) while Sim defeated Hussen Onn 4-2 ( 19-63, 47-74, 67-51, 60-42, 93-68, 76-38).