Cherie Tan knew what she needed to win the QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup on Saturday.
With just one frame left, after her opponent had finished her game, her target was two strikes and three more pinfalls.
The SEA Games women's masters champion made the first strike, and was confident as she released her second ball.
No strike, as the seventh pin failed to fall.
And so the 25-year-old agonisingly lost the best-of-three stepladder final by just two pinfalls, 213-215, to Canada's Caroline Lagrange in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Had she won, she would have been the third Singaporean winner after Jasmine Yeong-Nathan in 2008 and Shayna Ng last year.
Said Tan: "When the ball left my hand, I knew it would be a good shot, and it was.
"Unfortunately, the seventh pin just wouldn't fall. I thought I had it, the shot was that good."
The seventh pin had already given the southpaw trouble in the deciding game, as Tan had also failed to knock it down in the fourth, seventh and eighth frames.
Said Tan: "I've had trouble with the seventh pin all week. I tried to correct it in practice but it's not so simple."
Still, it was Tan's best showing at the World Cup after finishing 26th in 2005 and fourth in 2011.
Starting the day in fifth place with 7,373 pinfalls, she scored four victories in the top eight round- robin matches to finish third overall and qualify for the stepladder finals.
Her first stepladder opponent was two-time world champion Aumi Guerra of the Dominican Republic, a veteran 11 years her senior.
Not that it mattered. Tan swept her rival aside in straight games to set up an intriguing final against 2009 champion Lagrange.
The 30-year-old took the first match 242-207 but Tan clawed her way back, winning the second game 247-212, reeling off four straight strikes from the sixth to ninth frames to set up the title-deciding game.
She started strongly with three strikes but a 7-10 split resulted in an open fourth frame, allowing Lagrange back in the game.
Said Tan: "It was a bit early in the game so I was not too worried. But she seemed quite excited after that. Maybe she gained confidence from my mistake and was able to gain momentum from it."
She had one last chance when Lagrange, needing two strikes and eight pinfalls to seal victory, could finish only with one strike and nine pinfalls in her final frame.
Unfortunately, Tan could not get the pivotal second strike.
"I really wanted to win, so naturally I'm disappointed," she said.
"I thought I bowled well this week. I gave my best and there's not much I could do differently to change the outcome."
While there was disappointment for Tan, there was some consolation for the Singapore camp when Ng won the Malaysia Open in Sunway Lagoon on Saturday after beating Malaysia's Dayang Khairuniza 255-195 in the women's open final.
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