Philippine Open Day Three Reports

Kelly Fisher

Kelly Fisher Shows Her Stuff

The surprise story in the Philippine Open is Kelly Fisher, and how she has stood toe-to-toe with the men and come out ahead and unbeaten – so far.

The other surprise is how the Indonesians are showing that they have the stuff to contend with the best in the world. Ricky Yang and Rudi Susanto, the only bets from Indonesia, are unbeaten so far.

Fisher, a former world 9-Ball women's champion, outclassed Gabe Owen, 9-3, to enter the fourth round of the winner's bracket. The Briton jumped the gun early on the American, racing to an 8-1 lead and never looking back.

Ricky Yang humbled Satoshi Kawabata 9-6, in a match televised all over Asia by ESPN Star Sports. He raced to a 6-2 lead before the Japanese could mount a comeback that proved too late.

In a match that went down the wire, Susanto, a 26-year-old entering his first major international tournament, beat US No. 1 Shane Van Boening. It was his second big scalp having beaten Filipino Marlon Manalo a round earlier.

The three now join Pei Wei Chang and Hui Chan Lu of Chinese Taipei, Demosthenes Pulpul of the Philippines, Marcus Chamat of Finland, and Radoslaw Babica of Poland, as the only unbeaten players in this event that is billed as the first in the WPA World-Ranking Tour this year.

Babica recorded one of the day's major upsets when he toppled world 10-ball champion Darren Appleton, 9-6. The Pole is showing that his top 16 WPA ranking is no fluke.

But the spotlight on Day 3 belonged clearly to Fisher, who is making an even bigger impression than Jasmin Ouschan's exploits in the World Ten Ball Championship here in Manila last October.

“I had almost a full day of rest and to me, it was a privilege,” said Fisher. “I came out fully recharged and that helped my game a bit.”  

Fisher is the only female player left from the original six entered in the 64-player field. The latest casualty among the women was Karen Corr, the multi-titled player from Ireland.

Corr was booted out by the world No.1 Ralf Souquet, 9-2.

Chang ran roughshod over power-breaking Jeffrey De Luna, 9-2, in a TV match widely billed as a clash between two hotbeds of pool: Chinese Taipei and the Philippines.

Lu stunned two-time world junior champion and fellow Taiwanese Pin Yi Ko, 9-3.

Chamat waylaid reigning Asian Games gold medalist Antonio Gabica, 9-2.

Rough Day for Filipinos   

Except for Pulpul's sustained winning run, it was generally a rough day for the Filipinos. Two erstwhile unbeaten bets – Jeff de Luna and Gabica -- fell into the loser's side of the tournament, where they joined compatriots Marlon Manalo, Oliver Villafuerte, Allan Cuartero and erstwhile leader Mario Tolentino in battling for a place in the Last 16 at the end of Day 3 competition,  

Following his loss at the hands of Indonesia's Susanto, Manalo struck back with a vengeance and upstaged Young Hwa Jeong of Korea, 9-7. But then he was paired with Gabica in a late evening match, and the latter beat him 9-4.

Villafuerte outplayed Keng Kwang Chan of Singapore, 9-4, but then came up short against American Gabe Owen, losing 9-6.

De Luna bounced back from his loss to Chang by completely dominating Souquet, 9-3, in another late match.

Cuartero became the fourth Filipino enooted out Fabio Petroni of Italy, 9-5.

Favorites in an unfamiliar territory

The favorites in this event have suddenly found themselves in an unfamiliar territory.

WTBC champion Darren Appleton, world's No.1 player Ralf Souquet, two-time World Junior champion Pin Yi Ko, former US Open champion Shane Van Boening, American standouts Gabe Owen and Corey Deuel and notable Filipino players such as Marlon Manalo and Gaga Gabica are in the loser's side and are fighting for survival.

But it could happen even to the best of them and Souquet agrees with it.

“Well, there's a bad day and there are days where you are at your best. That's the beauty of this sport,” said Souquet.

Van Boening, who was just a point away from securing his third straight victory, said his previous match could have gone either way.

“It's a game of good breaks,” said Van Boening. “Now it's a test of character for us. That's what we've lived for, play to your best potential.”