Dayrit wins five on the loss side to down Saiki in finals of Tri-State stop

(l to r): Ryan Dayrit and Naoko Saiki
Last Sunday’s (Jan. 26) Tri-State Tour stop at Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY featured one of those still-rare, but a lot more frequent than they used to be battles between a male and female in the finals of a regional tour. There was a little bit of ‘David and Goliath’ in the air, too, because Naoko Saiki, who’d only ever cashed in one other event on the tour (9th, two and a half years ago at Steinway Billiards) was going up against Ryan Dayrit, who’d cashed in 13 events last year alone, including one win each on the Predator Pro Am and Tri-State Tours. The woman got into the hot seat, but Goliath came back from the loss side to down the female ‘David’ in the finals. The $1,000-added event drew 26 entrants to Cue Bar.
Dayrit had something of a shaky start. He survived an opening-round, double hill match against Johnny Colon and then fell 7-2 to Chris Luna, which, in a 32-player bracket, happened to be a winners’ side quarterfinal match. Luna advanced to face Nishant Narang in a winners’ side semifinal. Saiki, in the meantime, had her own kind of shaky start; opening with a double hill win over Jose Ramos, she avoided a second double hill scenario by a game, defeating Allison LaFleur 6-4 to face Lionell Swanston in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Saiki chalked up her second double hill win, over Swanston, and in the hot seat match, faced Narang, who’d sent Luna west 6-3. Saiki claimed the hot seat 6-4 over Narang, and waited for Dayrit to finish his loss side run.
Dayrit had opened that run with a 6-1 victory over Juan Melendez and then got locked up in a double hill fight against Qian Chen, before prevailing to draw Swanston. Luna, in the meantime, certainly mindful of a potential rematch versus Dayrit in the upcoming quarterfinals, drew Bob Toomey, who’d survived a double hill fight against LaFleur and eliminated Mike Strassberg 6-2 to reach him.
Dayrit got into the quarterfinals 6-4 over Swanston. Toomey spoiled the Dayrit/Luna rematch with a 6-3 win over Luna.
Dayrit won the next two 6-4, downing Toomey in the quarterfinals and Narang in the semifinals. Though the final match between Dayrit and Saiki see-sawed back and forth through its opening racks, Dayrit eventually pulled out in front to complete his comeback and win it 8-4.
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Phil Capelle, Pool & Billiards, Professor Q Ball, Bender Cues, Paul Dayton Cues, Bloodworth Ball Cleaner, Joe Romer Trophies and Quick Slick. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Saturday, February 1, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.