Fisher goes undefeated to claim Diamond Open Ladies title

Allison Fisher

It seemed to be pretty clear right from the start, or at least as clear as it can ever be in the often-unpredictable world of professional pool, that Allison Fisher was going to claim the Hanshew’s Ladies 9-Ball title at the inaugural Diamond Open. She arrived at one of the winners’ side quarterfinals, having not given up a single rack to any of her first three opponents. Her fourth was Jeanette Lee, who was making her first professional appearance since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven months ago. Fisher went on to complete a seven-match, undefeated run to claim the title, downing Russia’s Kristina Tkach in the finals. The $3,000-added Hanshew Ladies event drew 38 entrants to The Rack & Grill III in Aiken, SC.

Once Fisher got by Katherine Cool, Ashley Rice and Sonya Chbeeb, she turned her attention to the winners’ side quarterfinal that was easily the most anticipated match of the entire six-day Diamond Open that featured the return of Jeanette Lee to the tables. In a match, detailed in an earlier post, Fisher downed Lee 7-2 and advanced to a winner’ side semifinal against Mary Tam. 

Monica Webb, in the meantime, looking for her first major win (of which we are aware) since she won the Women’s Austrian Open, seven years ago, got by Kelly Cavanaugh, Jennifer Berzinski and Janet Atwell to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal versus Caroline Pao. The eventual runner-up, Kristina Tkach, had won her opening match versus Pia Filler and then fell, double hill, to April Larson in the second round. Pao sent Larson west just prior to meeting up with Webb.

Fisher got into the hot seat 7-2 over Tam and was joined by Webb, who’d sent Pao over 7-5. Fisher claimed the hot seat 7-4 over Webb and waited for Tkach to finish her loss-side run.

That run, by the time it met up with Pao, had eliminated Lily Pham, Tam Trinh, Bethany Sykes and in her final match of the event, Jeanette Lee 7-2. Tam picked up April Larson, who followed her winners’ side loss to Pao with loss-side victories over Chris Fields 7-4 and Janet Atwell 7-5.

Tam ended Larson’s tournament run 7-1, and in the quarterfinals, met up with Tkach, who’d downed Pao 7-3. Tkach took the quarterfinals 7-1 Tam and then spoiled Webb’s potential second shot at Fisher by defeating 7-4 in the semifinals.

Tkach, who admitted to being tired when she played with Fedor Gorst as a partner in the Scotch Double final against Van Boening and Fisher the night before, had to have been even more tired at this point on late Sunday night in the Ladies event. And it wasn’t, she had said earlier in the day, just about participating for the last five days, but as she put it, with a bit of laugh, “the whole year.” Regardless of the outcome of the Ladies final on this night, in this place, it would be her 15th cash finish in 10 months, beginning with her win at the Michael Montgomery Memorial in Texas that she won in January, through five wins, two runner-up finishes (one with partner Gorst in the Scotch Doubles the night before) and an appearance, most recently at the US Open 9-Ball Championships.

That and the loss-side run that had brought her to the finals did not, however, put much of a crimp in the style of her competitive spirit. The problem was that she was running into something of a legend, known, almost in spite of her generally easy-going demeanor, as the Duchess of Doom. Tkach fought said Duchess to a 13th and deciding game, but ‘doom’ descended in the final rack and Fisher claimed the title.