43rd Hong Kong International Open
Victory for Saudi and Indonesian
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15th July, Hong Kong: Ammar Tarrad of Saudi Arabia bagged his first-ever international title with victory in the Men's Open Masters final of the 43rd Hong Kong International Open while twice runner-up, Sharon Limansantoso triumphed in the all-Indonesia Women's final.

Challenger and second-seed, Johnathan Chan of Malaysia defeated topseed, Ammar, 191-169 to force a second deciding match of the Men's final. Chan got off to a better start in the second match as the Saudi had two opened frames.

But Ammar recovered with four strikes-in-a-row as the Malaysian responded with three of his own to draw level at the sixth frame. Ammar added a fifth strike but Chan was unlucky to encounter a 7-10 split despite delivering a one-three pocket shot.

By the ninth frame, Ammar had a slender lead of just 11 pins. Chan needed to strike out to have any chance of winning the tie but Ammar struck twice in his tenth frame to seal victory, 233-202.

Ammar Tarrad with his champion's trophy

"I had struggled throughout the qualifying rounds and had given up on making any more attempts," said the 29-year-old member of the Saudi national team. "My coach encouraged me to have a go at the desperado squad to see if I could qualify. I changed to a ball that I had not used during my earlier tries and it work perfectly and I managed to squeeze into the finals after finishing second.

"I used the same ball for both the rounds and it paid dividen. But honestly, the victory hasn't sunk in yet. This is a big win for me and I have to thank my federation, my coach and my team-mates for cheering me and supporting me during the stepladder finals."

Ammar picked up the top prize of HK$60,000 (approx. US$7,600) and a trophy while Chan settled for HK$25,000. The first runner-up ousted third-seed, Dhruv Sarda of India and winner of the first stepladder match and defending champion, Ryan Lalisang of Indonesia, 201-182-189 to advance to the title match.

Lalisang, who took home HK$16,000 as second runner-up, dispatched fifth-seed and compatriot, Hengki Susanto and sixth-seed, Michael Mak of Hong Kong, 246-186-235 to advance to the second match.

The champion had earlier topped the second round with a total of 1781. Chan finished second with 1719 and Sarda third with 1699.

Top 3 winners, Chan, Ammar Tarrad and Lalisang

Lalisang rolled two big games in the seventh and eighth game to leapfrog into fourth with 1697. Hengki and Mak hung on to fifth and sixth positions to qualify for the stepladder finals with 1671 and 1670 respectively. Thailand's Annop Arromsaranon missed the cut by 14 pins to finsih in seventh position with 1656.

Meanwhile, Sharon Limansantoso finally won the women's crown after finishing runner-up twice and made the stepladder finals on two other occasions. The topseed defeated winner of the semi-final, Alisha Nabila Larasati, 246-198 in the all-Indonesia final.

Fifth-seed Alisha, who edged fourth-seed, Joy Yap of Singapore and sixth-seed, Huang Chiung-Yao of Chinese Taipei, 190-179-160 in the first match, took out second-seed Su Shu-Wen of Chinese Taipei and third-seed, Angkana Netrvseth of Thailand, 210-183-197 to advance to the championship match.

"I was pretty confident that I will make the stepladder finals after I had topped the first round finals yesterday," said the Indonesian national team member, Limansantoso.

"I kept a good momentum into the second round and the bowling balls that I used worked well and gave me a lot of pin carry. This victory bodes well for my preparation for next month's SEA Games in Malaysia. This has been a good outing for me and my team-mates."

Sharon Limansantoso and Alisha Nabila with their trophies

The champion lead from start to finish to take top spot with 1735 in the earlier Round 2 finals, 68 pins ahead of Su in second with 1667. Angkana finished third with 1647 while Yap and Alisha took fourth and fifth positions with 1618 and 1614 respectively.

Huang defeated newly-crowned Chinese Taipei Open champion, Wang Ya-Ting in a one-game roll off to break the tie after finishing on a same total of 1590. The champion pocket HK$30,000 (approx. US$3,800) with Alisha and Angkana taking home HK$16,000 and HK$8,000 respectively as runners-up.

The top 16 Asiam men and top 16 Asian women in the finals result hae qualified for the 2017 ABF Tour Hong Kong leg which will be held at SCAA Bowling Centre commencing at 2.00 pm local time. Live TV broadcast by i-Cable will commence with the semi-finals at 4.00 pm.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Hong Kong.

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