2019 Macao-China International Open
Convincing victory for topseeds
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22nd June, Macau: Perfect gamer, Shusaku Asato of Japan and Yanee Saebe of Thailand captured the prestigious Men's and Women's Open Masters titles of the 2019 Macao-China International Open which concluded at COTAI Bowling Centre on Saturday.

Asato, who rolled the tournament's second 300 in the eighth and final game of earlier the Round 2 finals, advanced into the Stepladder finals as topseed. The Japanese narrowly lost the first match, 214-217 to challenger, Lee Tak Man of Macau forcing a sudden-death decider.

The topseed got off to a sizzling start rolling seven consecutive strikes in the deciding match while Lee responded with a double in his first two frames and rolled four consecutive strikes from frames six to narrow the advantage.

But the Japanese kept his composure to win the match, 259-236 and bagged the title. Lee, who led the earlier round only to concede top spot to Asato's perfect game, dispatched two Hong Kong nationals, third-seed Michael Mak and Otto Leung, 261-212-236 in the semi-finals to face Asato in the final.

Top 3 Men's Open Masters winners, Lee Tak Man, Shusaku Asato and Otto Leung

Leung, who squeezed into the stepladder finals in sixth, edged two compatriots, fourth-seed Lau Kwun Ho and fifth-seed Ivan Tse, 237-235-232 in a closely fought first stepladder match. The champion picked up MOP$70,000 (approx. US$8,700) while Lee settled for MOP$30,000 as first runner-up.

Leung, who finished as second runner-up, pocketed MOP$15,000. Mak, Lau and Tse took home MOP$6,000, MOP$5,000 and MOP$4,000 for finishing fourth to sixth positions respectively. Asato totaled 1895 in the earlier Round 2 finals. Lee finished second with 1888 followed by Mak in third with 1870. Lau, Tse and Leung made the cut for the stepladder finals with 1856, 1838 and 1828. 2018 PBA-WBT Busan Cup champion, Annop Arromsaranon of Thailand missed the cut by six pins in seventh position.

Meanwhile, 2016 Thailand Open champion and topseed, Saebe needed only one match to easily defeat challenger Milki Ng of Hong Kong, 234-157 to win her second international women's title. Ng had an early split in her opening frame while Saebe also failed to make a spare in her second frame.

Whilst the Thai recovered with two strikes-in-a-row from frame three, Ng stumbled to another unlucky split in the third frame to trail her opponent. Another split from Ng in the fifth frame gave Saebe much needed confidence for the match.

She then fired four strikes-in-a-row from frame six and never looked back and comfortably winning match. Ng took a narrow victory in the semi-finals against defending champion and second-seed, Misaki Mukotani of Japan and sixth-seed Hee Kar Yen of Malaysia, 208-189-206 to face Saebe.

Hee won the first stepladder match, 223-208-173 against two Hong Kong nationals, fourth-seed Gigi Leung and fifth-seed Joey Yip to advance into the semis. The champion earned MOP$40,000 (approx. US$5,000) and Ng settled for MOP$18,000 as first runner-up.

Top 3 Women's Open with their trophies, Milki Ng, Yanee Saebe and Hee Kar Yen

The second runner-up pocketed MOP$10,000 while Mukotani, Leung and Yip were awarded MOP$4,000, MOP$3,000 and MOP$2,000 respectively. Saebe topped the earlier Round 2 finals with 1722 ahead of Mukotani in second with 1713. Ng finished third with 1632 followed by Leung in fourth with 1582 and Yip in fifth with 1568. Hee clinched the sixth and final stepladder spot with 1563. Chan Shuk Han of Hong Kong missed the cut by 10 pins finishing seventh.

Fifty-five Men's Open and 27 Women's Open along with more than 300 bowlers in other division from eight countries participated in the week-long 2019 Macao-Chinese International Open. The top 16 Asian men and top 16 Asian women from the final standings qualified for the 2019 ABF Tour Macau to be contested tomorrow morning.

Photos by Terence Yaw in Macau, China.

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