International 9-Ball Open Day One Complete
Oct. 29, 2019
Oct. 29, 2019
Max Lechner (Erwin Dionisio)
The International 9-Ball Open began Monday, October 28 with 96 players prepared to battle for the title. Two side stories that fans were watching this week were that Max Eberle and Corey Deuel are both shooting for the final spot on the Mosconi Cup team. With the final decision due immediately following this event, their play this week could be the deciding factor. One other interesting tidbit is that we are getting to see all three of the Ko brothers in competition for the first time here in Norfolk. Pool fans are familiar with the games of Ko Pin-Yi and his younger brother Ko Ping-Chung, but this will be most US fans first chance to see the youngest, Ko Ping-Han in action.
The opening round kicked off Monday morning with some great matches. Austrian young gun Maximillian Lechner took down Team USA member Skyler Woodward 11-4, by simply denying Woodward opportunities at the table. Justin Bergman came from four games down to defeat John Schmidt on the hill. Other notable scores from the opening round were Johnny Archer winning 11-8 over Ivo Linkin, and Jeremy Jones over Yu-Lun Chang 11-5.
The second round of the day saw Ko Ping-Chung take down Ernesto Dominguez 11-5 and Alex Pagulayan besting Michael Yednak 11-6.
The third round also had some matches of interest, with Alex Kazakis and Fedor Gorst both shooting perfect matches with Kazakis over Chris Lawson 11-0 and Gorst giving the snowball to William Brewer. James Aranas went past Mark Vidal 11-4 and Donny Mills owned William Collins 11-3.
Coming back from the dinner break, the crowd was treated to a battle between Roberto Gomez and Ko Pin-Yi. Ko took an early 2-0 lead, but Gomez came back to take his first lead at 5-4. Gomez held that lead until 10-10 when a miss on the 8-ball left the table and match for Ko 11-10. In another 6:30 match, Ralf Souquet found himself in a 7-3 hole against Matt Krah. Ralf came back to 7-6 down, but hung an 8-ball that would have tied things at 7-7. Souquet did get back to a tie at 8-8 and traded racks with Krah until he pocketed the final 9-ball for the 11-10 win.
In the 8:30 round, Earl Strickland had his hands full with the event’s lone Japanese competitor, Kengo Suzuki. The match was tied at 6-6 when Strickland won two for an 8-6 lead. Suzuki came right back to tie things at 8-8 before Strickland took control and won the match 11-9. Another battle in the 8:30 round saw Tommy Kennedy take American 14.1 Straight Pool Champion Ruslan Chinahov to hill-hill before Chinahov won the match 11-10.
The final round of the night was not pretty for US players, as Billy Thorpe, Donny Mills and Frankie Hernandez were all sent to the one loss side. Neither Thorpe or Mills looked to be comfortable at the table in their matches, as Thorpe dropped an 11-3 match to Vietnam’s Quoc Hoang Duong and Mills couldn’t stay with a free wheeling Chris Melling in an 11-4 match. While Frankie Hernandez’s match was more competitive, he still fell to Marco Teutscher 11-6.