First major title for Singaporean

31st May, Singapore: First block leader and topseed, Cherie Tan won her first major international title when she defeated challenger, Zandra Aziela of Malaysia to win the Women's Open Masters crown of the 41st Singapore International Open. The victory by Cherie Tan was not smooth sailing at all when she was forced into a sudden-death decider after losing the first game, 193-211 to second seed and challenger, Zandra Aziela of Malaysia.

But the 19-year-old, who topped the second block after leading in the first block on Friday, rebounded with a 224-179 winning match to claim her first-ever major international title and picked up the top prize of S$5,000.

"I didn't want to go through the agony of another defeat like last year so I kept pushing myself," said the delighted Cherie. "The feeling is great and I feel so happy to win my first major international title.   Zandra again settled for second despite ousting third-seed, Wang Yu-Ling of Chinese Taipei and another Singapore challenger, Shayna Ng, 224-179-201 in the second women's stepladder match. Shayna's fine run came to an end after she had defeated fourth-seed, Sharon Koh of Malaysia and sixth-seed, Diandra Asbaty, 210-175-187 in the first match. Meanwhile, the men's title continued to elude Singapore's Remy Ong as the third-seed battled it out in the second match with two UAE finalists, Hussain Al-Suwaidi and winner of the first match, Shaker Al-Hassan.

Ong had a great start with four strikes-in-a-row but two open frames in the fifth and sixth and another in the eighth put him out of contention. There was nothing between the two Emeratis and the match looked like going to Shaker when he only need at least a 7-pin count in his final frame to take the match.

But luck was not in his favour when he struck 6 pins and then cound not spare the frame handling the match to his fellow compatriot by one pin, 243-244 and Ong scored 189. Hussain went on to clinch the title by winning the first match against topseed, Adrian Ang of Malaysia, 279-195 and the deciding title match, 236-200.   "I must consider myself very lucky because I thought I had missed the stepladder when I shot a low fifth game in the second block," said the 28-year-old Hussain. "Luckily I sht two high games of 259 and 268 to make the stepladder.

"In the match against Shaker (Al-Hassan), all he needed was a good pin count in the final frame and when he only managed 6 pins and then couldn't spare it, I knew it must be my best chance to win.

The newly-crowned champion took home a whoppng S$25,000 for his victory while Adrian settled for S$10,000. Ong won S$5,000 for finishing third. Shaker finished fourth after he took the first match knocking out Qatar's Bandar Al-Shafi and Thaland's Annop Arromsaranon, 224-209-193.

  Photos by Terence Yaw for SBF.