Jia Li comes back from winners' side semifinal loss to defeat Pao in finals of JPNEWT Stop #5
Skip Maloney
Aug. 31, 2017
Jia Li
Jia Li
Just back from an appearance in the North American Pool Tour's (NAPT) third Division I Pro tournament in Greyslake, IL, where she finished fourth on the weekend of August 18-20, Jia Li returned to the familiar confines of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour (JPNEWT) to compete in their fifth stop of the year on the weekend of August 26-27. Li came back from a loss to Caroline Pao in a winners' side semifinal of the event to meet and defeat her in the finals. The event, which drew 21 entrants to Classic Billiards in Phoenixville, PA, was a qualifier for the next NAPT Division I Pro event, scheduled for September 28-October 1 at Eagle Billiards in Dickson City, PA, and with Li already qualified, Pao picked up the invitation that will allow her to compete in that event.
Following a 7-5 win over Carol V. Clark in the event's opening round, Li met up with fellow NAPT competitor, Kia Sidbury, who had come within a match of meeting Li in the quarterfinals of the recent NAPT event (Sidbury was eliminated by Eleanor Callado, just prior to those quarterfinals). Li shut Sidbury out, and then defeated Jenn Keeney 7-2, to draw Pao in the winners' side semifinal. Elaine Wilson, in the meantime, who, following an opening round bye, had survived two straight double hill matches against Kathy Friend and Tina Marinelli, squared off against Tina Malm.
In their first of two, Pao downed Li 7-4 and advanced to the hot seat match. She was joined by Wilson, who'd sent Malm to the loss side 7-2. Pao gave up only a single rack in the hot seat match against Wilson, which proved to be her last match victory of the weekend.
Li moved to the loss side and picked up Marinelli, who, following her defeat by Elaine Wilson, had chalked up two straight double hill matches against Kathleen Lawless and Sidbury. Malm drew Friend, who, following her defeat by Wilson had, after a loss-side bye, chalked up three straight 7-5 wins, over Clark, Nicole King and Sharon O'Hanlon.
Li eliminated Marinelli 7-3, and in the quarterfinals, faced Malm, who'd defeated Friend, double hill. Li defeated Malm 7-5, and then, heating up, allowed Elaine Wilson only one rack in the semifinals, to earn her a second shot against Pao.
In the single race-to-9 final, Li defeated Pao 9-6 to claim her first JPNEWT victory of the year. The two could conceivably meet again, in two weeks, at the sixth stop on the JPNEWT, scheduled for September 16-17 at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA or in a month, when they travel to Dickson City, PA for the next NAPT Division I Pro event