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WPC Update: Back on His Feet, Van Boening Slips Against Foldes
Nov 8, 2007, 7:52 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Shane Van Boening dodged a bullet from a serious foot infection, but couldn’t avoid the barrage of hot shooting from Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes.

Foldes eliminated Van Boening in the round-of-32 at the World Pool Championship on Thursday evening with a 10-8 squeaker. The 24-year-old Van Boening, who won the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships three weeks ago and was considered a favorite at the WPC, missed three makeable balls in the match, including a gimme 7 ball that allowed Foldes to go up 9-7.

“I played horrible,” Van Boening said. “I played too tight, I guess. … If you’re going to win the tournament, you can’t miss any balls.”

In a matchup of two of the world’s hottest young talents, 23-year-old Foldes played the superior game. Once Van Boening forged a 6-3 lead, Foldes struck back with flawless shooting, brutal safeties and pinpoint-control position play. Van Boening lost momentum and the lead.

That Van Boening could even play was a stroke of good fortune. He was unable to walk when his plan landed in Manila last week, due to an infection in his right foot.

Van Boening cut his toe on a refrigerator door during the U.S. Open, and it apparently became infected just before the plane ride to Manila.

“When I got on the plane in Minneapolis, it started to feel real itchy,” he said. “In the air it got all swollen up. I got very nervous. I couldn’t walk on it. Someone helped me off the plane, and then someone who worked for the tournament took me to the emergency room, and I got a penicillin shot.

“It took a couple days and it was fine. It was perfect timing. Good thing it wasn’t during the tournament.”

Foldes, a former European juniors champion, was not intimidated by Van Boening and his newly minted U.S. open title.

“I was confident going in, and I kept my confidence,” he said. He was familiar with Van Boening, who beat him in an International Pool Tour qualifying event in 2006.

“This was a good revenge match,” Foldes said.

Although disappointed, Van Boening was back in the stands just a few minutes after his loss, joking with friends and preparing for next year.

“I’ll take this home and figure out why I lost,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. I’ll do better next time. I’ve got 15 more years.”