Oi and Ouschan Survive Shootout at Arcadia Arizona Open

Albin Ouschan

In recent months, Jonas Souto of Spain’s name has been popping up more and more on tournament flowcharts – especially in the later rounds.

With his aggressive stroke, demonstrative gestures and mop of blonde hair, Souto definitely makes an impression when he’s at the table. The Spaniard, who is the reigning U19 world 9-ball champion, turned in top 17 performances in last year’s International Open and World Pool Championship in England last year and also finished 49th at September’s United States Open Pool Championship.

All this said, when the young man matched up against reigning World Pool champion Albin Ouschan Friday night with a spot in the Arizona Open’s final 16 on the line most would have considered the Austrian a favorite to runaway with the match.

That is, however, until they started to play.

Ouschan cruised to an early advantage in the first set only to watch the young Spaniard battle back in the final frame, then match the Austrian move for move in the sudden death shootout before falling 7-6 at Casino Del Sol in Tucson. Ouschan, who robotically pocketed ball after ball in the spot shot shootout, now advances to the knockout phase of the event which is scheduled to begin Saturday at noon local time.

The Austrian appeared to be making quick work of his opponent in the early stages, taking advantage of a couple of Souto errors to build a 3-0 advantage. Ouschan had an opportunity to shut out his opponent in the opening set but missed a bank on the 8 ball into the side pocket. After Souto cleared the table and tacked on another rack to pull within 3-2, he pocketed the 10 ball on the break to tie the score. The Spaniard had a chance to claim the set after breaking the balls in the deciding seventh game but failed to pocket the 1 ball in the corner pocket, allowing Ouschan to regain control of the table and win the set, 4-3.

Souto jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the second set before scratching in the third rack, allowing Ouschan to tack on two games to tie the score before adding a break-and-run to climb onto the hill, 3-2. Much like the first set, Ouschan had a chance to close out the match but missed a 1 ball in the sixth game to allow his opponent back to the table. Souto cleared the table and then added a break-and-run of his own to earn a 4-3 victory and send the match to a shootout.

Each player pocketed their first six shots – 12 total – before Souto missed in the seventh inning. As his opponent stared at the floor in disappointment, Ouschan coolly deposited the 10 ball into the corner pocket to earn the victory and advance to the final day of play.

When it comes to shootouts, nothing came close to the contest between Naoyuki Oi and Jesus Atencio, who seemed to pocket as many balls in the extra frame as they did in the entire match.

After Oi earned a 4-2 first set win, Atencio forced a deciding third set by gutting out the second frame, 4-3. As a crowd of spectators grew, the spot shot competition became a test of who would blink first, as the two players landed six consecutive shots. Then seven. Then eight. The crowd that gathered began getting louder and more animated, so much that Roberto Gomez Jr. began paying more attention to the shootout that his opponent, Fedor Gorst, who was putting the finishing touches on a straight set victory on the adjacent table.

Finally, Atencio blinked, missing a cut shot in the 14th inning after the two competitors combined for 27 consecutive shots pocketed. Oi deposited the game winner, surviving the match and advancing to Saturday’s day of play.

Qualifiers from the winner’s side of the bracket include two-time Mosconi Cup team member Chris Reinhold, Mieszko Fortunski, Joven Bustamante, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, who controlled his match with Gorst from start to finish, winning in straight sets 4-0. 4-1. Also advancing with undefeated records are Roland Garcia, World Pool Championship runner-up Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait and Max Lechner of Austria. Competitors who earned entry from the one-loss side include Oi, Gorst, Ouschan, Kang Lee, Pijus Labutis, Michael Schnieder, Konrad Juszczyszyn of Poland and Denis Grabe of Estonia.

With the double-elimination portion of the tournament now completed, the event field will be redrawn and transition to single-elimination for the final day.

Find the updated draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page

Live coverage of the Arcadia Arizona Open is streamed for free on any device with Billiard TV or the World Billiard TV YouTube channel throughout the week. Follow @probilliardseries on social media for up-to-date information, or visit probilliardseries.com for the latest results and live brackets.