Double Duty: Fisher repeats as WPBA U.S. Open champion

Allison Fisher

With several tight matches throughout the quarterfinals and semifinals, the WPBA U.S. Open featured some amazing pool and a repeat performance for Allison Fisher. She defeated Gerda Hofstatter for back-to-back U.S. Open titles.

In the first rack, it was quick work for Hofstatter, who took advantage of a Fisher miss on the 1. Hofstatter ran out to take the early lead. The women traded safety shots early in rack two until Hofstatter just missed a jump shot on the 3. Fisher saw the opening and closed out the rack to tie the score 1-1. Fisher had a dry break in the third, and Hofstatter seemed on her way to another win, but couldn't pocket the 8-Ball. Fisher put the last two away and took the lead 2-1.

After another dry break in rack four, there was a bit of controversy that will make for some interesting drama on ESPN. A foul was called on Hoffstatter for hitting another ball before pocketing the 2. She protested and the tape was reviewed. After a brief delay, the shot was ruled legal after reviewing the tape frame by frame. It remained her shot, and she ran the table to tie the match at 2-2.

In rack five, the two women traded safe shots on the 5 before Fisher took command and closed it out with a 5 to 9 combination for the win. A costly miss on the 1-Ball after the break allowed Hofstatter to run out and tie the match again 3-3 in rack six. That would be as close as it would get. Fisher seemed to be on a mission to repeat as champion. In the seventh rack, Fisher ran out after Hofstatter couldn't pocket the 1-Ball. Fisher would break and run out in the eighth. When Hofstatter was left without a great shot on the 2, Fisher smoothly pocketed the remaining balls in the ninth rack.

Needing just one rack for a repeat title, Fisher had yet another dry break, leaving the door open a bit. Later, Hoffstatter again was left without a good shot on the 2. Ever the juggernaut, Fisher went on a tear again pocketing the 2-9 balls and raising her arms and cue stick in the air in victory. She was presented with the Tiffany-designed trophy with a wide smile on her face. The win was the culmination of a dominating week of play.

“I was getting emotional before that last rack,” she said after the victory. “I loved it last year and it was a great atmosphere this year. I'm so grateful to be standing here. It's been a wonderful journey for me. I played really well.”

Fisher and Webb battle it out in semifinals
In the first semifinal match earlier in the day, Fisher faced Monica Webb were locked in a real battle to earn a spot in the championship. Webb took the first rack easily, and Fisher bounced back from a scratch in the second to tie the score. After a key miss by Webb on the 3-Ball in the third, Fisher ran out the remaining balls and took a 2-1 lead. Webb accomplished a stellar jump shot in the fourth, with the cue ball jumping the 5 and pocketing the 1 in the corner. Later, she sent the 3 into the 7 and both into the corner pocket. After the 9-Ball was pocketed, the score was tied 2-2.

Webb then went on a three-match run. Fisher missed a shot in the fifth rack, and Webb ran out balls 4-9. She ran out in rack six. In the seventh rack, Fisher was forced to push out after Webb's dry break. Webb made a brilliant three-rail bank shot to pocket the 1-Ball, and then jumped to hit the 2. Fisher pocketed a few balls, but left the 5 open. Webb pocketed the remaining balls to take a commanding 5-2 lead.

In rack eight, Fisher found an opportunity when Webb missed a shot on the 5. She sunk the remaining balls to edge closer. Webb looked to gain control in the ninth rack. After pocketing the 8, however, she left a precarious shot on the 9 and missed a bank shot. Fisher pocketed the 9 to bring the score to 5-4. Webb later had a tough shot on the 2 in the 10th, and was forced to bank and make contact.  Fisher then sank the 2, ran the table, and tied the score at 5-5. By the 11th rack, Fisher's comeback seemed inevitable and she took the rack also – including a bank shot on the 1 the length of the table to the opposite side corner pocket.

With a 6-5 lead, Fisher pushed out after the break and Webb couldn't cut the 1 to the corner pocket. Fisher pocketed all remaining balls and completed the comeback. Fisher advanced to the finals with some stellar play against an opponent who also played well. 

Hoffstatter takes sting out of Black Widow
In the second match-up of the day, Gerda Hofstatter rolled out to a big lead and was able to stave off a comeback by Jeanette “The Black Widow” Lee. The match-up featured some brilliant shots by both women. In the first game, Hofstatterbroke and then missed the one in the side. Lee managed an amazing two-rail shot banking the cue into the 1-Ball and into the side pocket. A miss on the 2 only left Hofstatter to play safe. Lee managed to hit the 2, but left things open and Hofstatter ran the table for the 1-0 lead. She followed that up with a break and run for a 2-0 lead. Lee missed the 3-Ball in the third rack and the ensuing ball in hand allowed Hofstatter to run it out. In the fourth rack, another ball in hand opportunity allowed Hofstatter to run out the 7, 8, and 9 for the win and 4-0 lead.

In the fifth rack, Hofstatter's safe play on the 5 led to another ball in hand – and another win. The lead then stood at 5-0 and Hofstatter was leaving little in the way of quality shots for her opponent. The sixth rack would prove the same. Left with another horrible shot and the cue ball pinned near the corner, Lee was forced to stack two bridges to get an angle on the cue and make a two-rail carom to contact the 1-Ball. The shot brought the crowd to its feet. The results would be the same, however, with Hofstatter running the remaining ball for the win and 6-0 lead.

As play continued in the seventh rack, Lee took advantage of a miss on the 4 and then ran out the table. She followed that up with a break and run including an impressive 6 to 8 combination shot. The score stood 6-2, and she rallied again after a Hofstatter miss on the 5 and took that rack as well. Lee rolled through the 10th rack also, with an impressive shot on the cue ball between two other balls, sending it off the rail striking the 2 and pocketing it into the opposite corner pocket. A combination shot later on the 5 to the 8 to the 9 ended the game and made the score 6-4.

The comeback would come up short, however. In the 11th rack, after trading safety shots, Lee missed on the 6 in the side and left an opening for Hofstatter to finish off the table, which she did. The win advanced her to the finals.