‘I didn’t expect to win’ – But Hong Kong’s Ng On-yee is utterly dominant as she claims third world title in ruthless fashion
The 27-year-old overcame a drop in confidence and a cough to destroy England’s Maria Catalano 5-0 to complete a perfect world championship without dropping a frame
Hong Kong snooker star Ng On-yee came into the world championship in Malta without form, under pressure because of her recently acquired world No 1 ranking and suffering from a cough.
So her expectations were slightly tempered. What happened next was one of the most devastating performances by a player – man or woman – in a world championship as Ng bolstered her status as the planet’s best female player by storming to her third world title and second in a row on Sunday morning (Hong Kong time).
WORLD CHAMPION | @Onyee159 has defeated Maria Catalano 5-0 in Malta to complete the successful defence of her @WLBSofficial World Women's Snooker Championship title, sealing a career hat-trick of titles for the Asian star! More reaction to follow... pic.twitter.com/wM8i7Juovv
— World Women’s Snooker Tour (@WLBSofficial) March 17, 2018
The 27-year-old swept to a 5-0 victory over England’s world No 4 Maria Catalano in the best-of-nine final to go through the entire tournament without dropping a frame. It was a remarkable performance from the Hong Kong woman, who this year replaced long-time queen of the baize, England’s Reanne Evans, as the world’s number one player.
“Actually when I arrived in Malta, I had a cough and was a little sick so I was worried and had to rest for the first few days,” Ng told the Post. “I went to see the doctor and got some medicine but I was also feeling a bit of pressure with the new ranking, with being defending champion and not having much form before this tournament.
“So I wasn’t expecting much from the start and I guess not having that much expectation was the main driver this time.”
Ng’s first tournament as world number one was at February’s British Open, where she lost to Thai youngster Nutcharat Wongharuthai in the semi-finals.
But she proved in Malta that she has the temperament and ability to stay on top of the world, and maybe even challenge the men with her title giving her a wild card to the men’s world championship qualifiers.
“The most important thing was to earn the wild card for the world championship qualifiers,” said Ng, who phoned her father in Hong Kong soon after winning.
“I cried when I spoke to him. I’m happy to have the support behind me, my family and friends, my coaches and teammates, as well as the Hong Kong Sports Institute and national association.”
She has taken the game to a brand new level, and can only get better. Quite frighting for the rest go the woman on tour. I don't think I'd like to draw her this year in the main worlds. You have been warned!
— Keith Walter (@kr_walter) March 17, 2018
Earlier, Ng – who won her second title in Singapore last year – scored a convincing 4-0 victory over England’s Rebecca Kenna in the semi-finals to reach her fifth straight final of the biggest tournament in women’s snooker.
Catalano stunned 11-time world champion and compatriot Evans 4-3 to reach the final.
Ng, who learned to play the game at her father’s snooker hall in Hong Kong, had breezed through her pool matches without dropping a frame before scoring successive 4-0 victories over Belgium’s Wendy Jans and Kenna.
She won 22 frames in a row – nine from her preliminary group matches and 13 in the knockout phase, starting from the quarter-finals.
Ng’s coach Wayne Griffiths said it was the best performance he had seen from her.
“For me, it’s On-yee’s best victory to date ... defending her world championship and her number one ranking under high scrutiny and pressure,” said Griffiths.
“Winning without dropping a single frame in arguably the strongest world championships in the last decade is a fantastic achievement. She fully deserves everything she gets for her attitude and how she approaches her work. We are very lucky to have her in Hong Kong!”
Only in the third frame of the final did Catalano threaten to get close to the Hong Kong star but Ng recovered impressively to take a 3-0 lead and never looked back.
Three other Hong Kong players reached the knockout phase, with Jaique Ip Wan-in, Fong Mei-mei and Cheung Yee-ting losing in the last 16 round.