Ragoonanan comes from the loss side to win Predator Pro Am Amateur title

(l to r): Joe Morace, Carlos Duque, Matt Klein & Rikki Ragoonanan
Hernandez downs Korsiak twice to claim Predator Pro Am Open title
Rikki Ragoonanan arrived at the Predator Pro Am Tour’s stop on the weekend of March 16-17, looking for his first win on the tour since last June. That victory was Ragoonanan’s first on the Predator Pro Am Tour and came eight years after winning his first major at a stop on the Tri-State Tour in 2010. Apparently looking to reduce the gaps between his winning efforts, Ragoonanan had to come from the loss side in this one and down Matt Klein twice to claim the title. The $750-added Amateur event drew 91 entrants to Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
In a concurrently-run event, the tour played host to a short, 12-entrant field in a $250-added Open-Pro event that saw Frankie Hernandez defeat Joey Korsiak twice to claim that title.
Ragoonanan and Klein met first in a winners’ side semifinal, as Carlos Duque and Joey Morace squared off in the other one. Klein sent Ragoonanan to the loss side 7-4, as Duque gave up only a single rack to Morace and faced Klein in the hot seat match. Duque and Klein battled to double hill before Duque prevailed to claim the hot seat. It was one of nine double hill or near-double-hill (7-5) matches among the event’s final 12 players and 14 matches.
On the loss side, Ragoonanan picked up Pascal Dufresne, who’d recently defeated Tommy Schreiber 7-5 and Miguel Laboy 8-3 to reach him. Morace drew Greg Matos, who’d defeated Tony Ignomirello, double hill and Darrin Schmidt 7-5. In identical 7-5 wins, Morace and Ragoonanan advanced to the quarterfinals over Matos and Dufresne.
Ragoonan took that quarterfinal match 8-5 over Morace and then, in a semifinal rematch against Klein, defeated him double hill for a shot at Duque in the finals. Duque began that final match with four on the wire in an extended race-to-9. Ragoonanan punctuated his return from the loss side by not allowing Duque to chalk up a single rack. Ragoonanan reached his ‘9’ racks, added two and claimed the event title 11-4.
[photo id=50934|align=right]Hernandez follows up Empire State runner-up finish to Jayson Shaw with undefeated run
Three weeks ago, on the weekend of February 23-24, Frankie Hernandez was battling Jayson Shaw in the finals of the 11th Annual Empire State Championships. He’d already defeated him once, in an exciting double hill battle for the hot seat. At approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, Shaw pulled out in front to claim that event title over Hernandez 9-4.
At this most recent stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, Hernandez’ nemesis in the hot seat and finals was long-time Joss Tour (and many others) veteran, Joey Korsiak, who’s in the midst of his 20th year at cashing in on major tournaments, including the US Open, Derby City Classic and tour stops in (among other states) Florida, including the J. Pechauer Southeast 9-Ball Open and Sunshine State Pro Am tours.
The two of them chalked up identical scores in both the hot seat match and finals. Hernandez got into the hot seat match after downing Elvis Rodriguez 7-1. Korsiak joined him following a 7-2 victory over Tour Director Tony Robles. Hernandez claimed the hot seat 7-3.
On the loss side, Robles picked up Turkish competitor Sami Koylu, who’d defeated Raphael Dabreo 7-2 and Dominic Gauthier 7-1 to reach him. Rodriguez drew Mike Salerno, who’d shut out KC Clayton and eliminated Stephen Molital 7-2. Suzzie Wong (eliminated by Gauthier) and Dave Callaghan (eliminated by Motilal) rounded out the complete roster at this event).
Koylu and Robles battled to double hill before Koylu advanced to the quarterfinals. He was joined by Salerno, who’d defeated Rodriguez 7-2. Koylu then eliminated Salerno 7-2, before being eliminated himself 7-3 by Korsiak in the semifinals. Duplicating their hot seat match score, Hernandez downed Korsiak 7-3 in the finals.
A 16-entrant Second Chance event was won by Tommy Schreiber, who collected $160 for his 7-5 win over Brooke Meyer in the finals. Lidio Ramirez and Jimmy Acosta took home $30 each for their tie in third place. An 8-entrant Third Chance event was won Miguel Laboy, who took home $100, following his victory over Russell Masciotti in the finals.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at the Cue Bar, as well as title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, NAPL, The DeVito Team, PoolontheNet.com, Billiards Digest, AZBilliards, Pool & Billiards Magazine and his entire staff, including his lovely wife, Gail. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for the weekend of April 6-7, will be hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.