Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee regains world title after titanic final against Vidya Pillai

The 26-year-old Hong Kong heroine plays more than 12 hours on the day, defeating India’s Vidya Pillai for her second title in three years

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 1:58am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 March, 2017, 12:11pm

Hong Kong’s snooker queen Ng On-yee overcame exhaustion and mental fatigue to regain the women’s World Championship title by edging India’s Vidya Pillai 6-5 in Singapore on Sunday night.

Ng played more than 12 hours on Sunday, winning her semi-final game before having to battle past a tenacious Pillai in one of the longest world finals ever.

The world number two and second seed needed more than four hours before she finally was able to shut out the little-known Indian, winning the deciding frame 66-56 for a thrilling victory.

Before she played Pillai, the Hong Kong star narrowly defeated top seed and defending champion Reanne Evans of England 5-4, coming back from 60 points down in the deciding frame to seal a brilliant victory, which avenged her defeat at last year’s final.

Against Pillai in an all-Asian final – the first in the history of the tournament – the 26-year-old Ng needed a bit of luck on the final pink, sinking it after Pillai had fouled when she sunk the black that was hanging in the corner pocket.

Ng also reached the world final during the past three years, losing to the same Englishwoman twice for the title in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Ng was first crowned world champion in 2015 after beating another English player Emma Bonney in the final. Ironically, Ng also edged Evans in the semi-finals before her maiden success at the World Championship.

More than 3,300 fans were glued to the live coverage through public channel, Youtube when Ng took on unseeded Pillai in the best-of-11 final. Unseeded Pillai cleared every round in the knockout stage by defeating a seed to reach her first-ever final. While the Indian player cruised to a quick fire 5-1 victory over Rebecca Granger of England in her semi-final, Ng needed a much longer time before overcoming the resistance of Evans before taking her place in the final.

Ng showed no shortage of stamina despite only a brief break after her semi-final to resume the battle against Pillai, taking the first two frames with ease and looking set to celebrate a massive second World Championship victory. But it turned out much closer than she’d liked.

In a closely-fought final, it was all down to the deciding frame but Ng led all the way, a break of 36 giving her a nice cushion in the opening stage. Pillai managed to reduce arrears to 15 points with three balls left.

But the Hong Kong player finally wrapped up the match after sinking the pink and winning 66-56 to walk away with £5,000 (HK$52,000) prize money with the final finishing past 1.30am local time.