A file photo showing Ahmad Taufiq Murni in action. The national cueist's campaign at the World 9-Ball China Open came to an end after he was defeated by Hayato Hijikata of Japan yesterday. Picture: BT file
It was a disappointing finish for Ahmad Taufiq Murni at the World 9-Ball China Open 2014 in Shanghai.
The Bruneian's campaign came to an end yesterday after losing 9-3 to World No 57 Hayato Hijikata of Japan in the losers' bracket yesterday at the Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium. The national cueist had fallen 9-7 to Mohammad Hassan Al Hosaini of United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first round on Thursday.
It was a far cry from his performance at the same competition back in 2011 where he made history by reaching the last-32 before losing 11-10 to Ronnie Alcano of the Philippines. Taufiq had opened up a 3-2 lead before dropping seven straight to Hijikata to fall out of the US$333,200 World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) event yesterday.
The 25-year-old felt that nothing went the right way and is hoping to continue working on his game. "I played bad today (Friday). It has been a while since I last competed in a tournament with this standard," said Taufiq in an interview with The Brunei Times after the loss.
"This is only my first WPA event for the year and I made too many mistakes from miss pots to placing and fouls. I just need to go out more and play in matches of this standard," he added. When asked on what needs improvement, Taufiq replied: "I'll need to work on my safety plays and also decision making."
National cue sports coach Lim Tat Hwe felt his player requires more exposure in such competition because it has been a while. "Nothing went accordingly for him (Taufiq). He really needs to participate in more tournaments such as these," said Lim.
"He made several mistakes and it cost him the game. We will continue to work on decision making especially while attacking and also on safety plays after this," he added. Taufiq finished ranked 54th out of the 64 cueists in the main draw and will walk away with a prize money of US$900.
The duo also wanted to thank their sponsors -Kien Sing (Tan) Auto Parts Co, Yuan Thong Enterprise and Sin Hing Auto Supply - for making the trip possible. The Bruneian will now prepare himself for the Qatar 9-Ball World Championship from June 16-27 in Doha.
The competition has attracted the best in the world for both the men's and women's events. The 64-player main draw has current World No 1 Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, the trio of Filipinos Lee Vann Corteza (No 2), Carlo Biado (No 3) - who is in the same bracket as Taufiq - and Dennis Orcollo (No 11).
Finland's Mika Immonen (No 5), Nick Ekonomopoulos of Greece (No 6), the duo of Darren Appleton (No 7) and Chris Melling (No 9) of Great Britain, Taiwanese Ko Pin Yi (No 8) and American Shane Van Boening (No 10) are also in the fray for the title.
The winner will take home US$40,000.