Alsarisi splits double elimination final vs. Atencio to win Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Stop

Jalal Alsarisi, James Davee, Eric Smith and Jesus Atencio

They call Jordan’s Jalal Alsarisi “The Beast” and he landed in Arlington, TX last weekend (Jan. 23-24). Alsarisi battled his way to the hot seat of the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour’s first 2021 stop at Rusty’s Billiards, winning nearly three out of every four matches he played to get there (70-26; 73%). Venezuela’s Jesus Atencio, though, came back from a loss in his winners’ side semifinal match to challenge The Beast and almost pulled it off, taking the opener of the true double elimination final and battling to double hill, before The Beast roared one more time and claimed the title. The $1,500-added event drew 94 entrants to Rusty’s.

Alsarisi won his first three matches, against Steven Wyatt, Matt Luter and Darrell Smith by an aggregate score of 30-4. Tony Top then chalked up more racks against him (5) than all of his first three opponents combined. Alsarisi then downed TJ Davis 10-4 and moved into a winners’ side semifinal against Donnie Gregory. 

Washington State’s James Davee, in the meantime, worked his way through the field to challenge Alsarisi in the hot seat match, by defeating Joshua Perez, Ginger Abadilla, Tina Soto, Jordan Gartenberg and Valon Gashi. He arrived at his winners’ side semifinal match against Jesus Atencio with an aggregate score of 45-15 (75%). Atencio, who’d opened with a bye, entered his match against Davee with a 36-14 record (79%).

Alsarisi got into the hot seat match with a 10-5 victory over Gregory. In their straight-up, race-to-9 battle against each other in the winners’ side semifinal, both Davee and Atencio had more racks chalked up against them, than by any of their previous opponents. The battle went to double hill, Atencio’s second. Davee chalked up the 9th rack to send Atencio west. Davee ended up on the wrong side of a second straight double hill match, battling for the hot seat. With Davee racing to 9, Alsarisi won it 10-8.

On the loss side, Atencio picked up TJ Davis, who, following his winners’ side quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Alsarisi, had downed Greg Sandifer 9-1 and Chris Gaither 9-3. Donnie Gregory drew Eric Smith, who was working on a five-match, loss-side streak that had recently eliminated Jay Ryda 7-1 and Valon Gashi, double hill.

Atencio advanced to the quarterfinals over Davis 9-6 and was joined by Smith, who’d handed Gregory his second straight loss 7-2. Atencio then ended Smith’s loss-side run at five, with a 9-2 victory in that quarterfinal match.

With the double hill battle that they’d fought earlier still in their heads, the semifinal rematch between Atencio and Davee looked to be another pitched battle. It did not, however, turn out that way. Atencio apparently wanted no part of another double hill fight, and denied Davee even a single rack. Atencio came to the finals having defeated three loss-side opponents by a combined score of 27-8.

The semifinal shutout tended to provide an extra spark of interest in the outcome of the true double elimination final between Atencio and Alsarisi. The spark became something of a flame when Atencio came out and gave up only two racks in the opening set. Not to be denied though, Alsarisi didn’t allow the second set to get quite so far out of hand and battled Atencio to double hill (9-8). Alsari won the deciding 18th game to claim the DFW 9-Ball Tour’s first 2021 title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Rusty’s for their hospitality, as well as title sponsor Cuetec Cues, Doc’s Billiards Office, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore, Rasson Tables, Staggs Plumbing, DeVance Electronic Lifestyle, Elite Glass, John Eagle Honda, Future Home Texas Group, Cavalli Pizza, Outsville, Digital Pool, First Choice Appliance Repair, Aramith, Action 903, Raven Recert, JB Cases, Internet Marketing Solutions, GraniteGuyz and Dallas 8-Ball. The next stop on the Cuetec DFW 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of February 20-21, will be a $1,500-added event, hosted by Snookered in Frisco, TX.