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Aranas comes back from semifinals to down Woodward and win Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open

James Aranas (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The finals of the 2019 Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open, held on the first weekend of June, was a rematch between the two finalists at the late January/early February 9-Ball division of the Derby City Classic in Indiana – the USA’s Skyler Woodward and Zoren “James” Aranas from the Philippines. At that earlier event, Woodward more or less swept the table (pun intended), winning not only the 9-Ball event (in which Aranas was runner-up) and the Bank Pool Ring Game, but he was the Classic’s Master of the Table winner, as well. Aranas came to the Beasley 9-Ball Open with a few impressive items on his 2019 resume, as well, including the runner-up finish in Indiana, a victory at the Pro Players Championship of the Super Billiards Expo in April, a victory at the Barry Behrmann Memorial and most recently, a 3rd place finish at the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial on Memorial Day weekend. That 3rd place finish necessitated the combined talents of Alex Kazakis in the hot seat match and Jayson Shaw in the semifinals to eliminate Aranas.
 
On the weekend of May 30-June 2, Aranas fell to Woodward in the hot seat match, but came back from the semifinals to defeat him twice and claim the Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open title. Though more were expected and no one could argue with the overall quality of the field, the $10,000-added event drew 66 entrants to Brass Tap & Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
 
Aranas had much the rougher road on his way to the hot seat match against Woodward. Case in point: his opening round match against fellow countryman Dennis Orcollo, which went double hill before Aranas prevailed. He followed up with wins over David Tickle 9-4, and a somewhat surprising shutout over Dmitris Loukatos (who, like Aranas, had been knocked out of the Ginky Memorial by Jayson Shaw). In a winners’ side quarterfinal, Aranas defeated Brad Shearer 9-7 to draw (as if things weren’t tough enough) Francisco Bustamante in a winners’ side semifinal.
 
While pool does indeed operate with an “any given Sunday” kind of rule, meaning that at the highest levels of competition, almost anyone can be competitive and upset a generally stronger opponent, Woodward’s path to the hot seat match was, on paper at least, considerably less hazardous, and as the scores demonstrate, handled as might have been expected. He opened with a 9-1 victory over Michael Yingling, and followed with victories over Donald Williams 9-3, and Andrew Bruce 9-1, before running into arguably his toughest opponent to that point in a winners’ side quarterfinal – Omar Alshaheen. Again, the score told the story. Woodward prevailed 9-6 to draw Keith Bennett in the other winners’ side semifinal. 
 
As Aranas was busy defeating 784-Fargo-rated Bustamante 9-4, Woodward appeared to be a little less busy, handing the 566-Fargo-rated Keith Bennett a shutout (an uncharacteristic match for Bennett). Going into the hot seat match, Woodward had won 80% of the games he'd played (45-11). Aranas, on the other hand, won 45 of his 68 games for a 66% winning percentage. Their averages both went down at the end of the hot seat match. Woodward, sporting the lower Fargo Rate (788) downed the higher Fargo-rated Aranas (803) 9-4 to claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, while there were quite a few recognizable names still standing as the bracket came down to its final eight, there were a few names missing, as well. Among them were Alex Kazakis, who lost to countryman Dmitris Loukatos to finish in the tie for 13th place. Home town (Raleigh, NC) favorite, 14-year-old Joey Tate, who is the reigning 14-and-under Junior National Champion got knocked out of the running by Dennis Orcollo and finished in the tie for 17th. Tony Chohan was missing at the end, as well, having been defeated on the winners’ side of the bracket by Mike Davis and falling in his second loss-side match to Orcollo.
 
Coming off the winners’ side semifinal, Keith Bennett picked up Mike Davis, who’d eliminated Brad Shearer 7-2 and Brandon Shuff 7-5 to reach him. Bustamante drew Omar Alshaheen, who’d finished Orcollo’s weekend 7-4 and eliminated Roberto Gomez 7-5.
 
“Busty” and Alshaheen fought a predictable double hill match before “Busty” prevailed to advance to the quarterfinals. Davis joined him after winning his fifth loss-side match, a 7-4 win over Bennett.
 
Bustamante made short work of Davis, eliminating him 7-3 in those quarterfinals. Aranas, though, very much ‘in stroke’ at this point, defeated Bustamante 7-4 in the semifinals and earned his re-match against Woodward in the hot seat.
 
Aranas dropped his overall winning percentage to 59% in the finals. He did so by defeating Woodward 13-10 to capture the 2019 Beasley Custom Cues 9-Ball Open title.
 
Tour director Jon Brown thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap & Billiards, as well as title sponsor Beasley Custom Cues, Simonis Cloth, JB Cases, Aramith, and Outsville Accu-Rack. Selected matches of the event were live streamed throughout the weekend by Ray “Big Truck” Hansen and his PoolActionTV staff.

Casualties Mount at U.S. Open

Jayson Shaw and Ko Pin Yi Prepare to do Battle (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Day three saw the beginning of the elimination rounds and players are beginning to find the exit. Reymart Lim sent Daryl Peach home 11-9, Donny Mills did the same to James Blackburn and Brad Shearer scraped past Tim De Ruyter 11-10.
 
Nick Malai  ruined the day for Jorge Rodriquez 11-7 while Earl Strickland stayed with his hot hand to end the run for Matt Krah and John Schmidt gave no air to Joey Cicero as he took him down 11-3.
 
The winner’s side of the charts had lots of great matches. Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz first sickened Imran Majid and then did the same to Rodney Morris 11-7. Warren Kiamco had owned the hottest stick in the room until he came up against Alex Pagulayan. Pagulayan had a tough road of it but defeated Kiamco 11-9. Darren Appleton continues his strong play and defeated Mario He 11-5 while Eklant Kaci ruined the milk for Ronnie Alcano 11-7.
 
Albin Ouschan and Joshua Filler, two EuroTour Champs, went face to face and took it to the wire with Ouschan prevailing 11-10. J.L. Chang took down Chris Melling 11-5 after Melling had beaten Justin Bergman 11-8.
 
John Morra killed a giant when he won out over Niels Feijen 11-8 and Thorsten Hohmann carried the day over Martin Daigle 11-8. In the most anticipated match of the day Jayson Shaw was down 10-5 to Pin-Yi Ko when his young daughter yelled out “Come on Daddy!” Well, that is some fine inspiration there and Jayson rode it to the bank to win 6 games on the trot to win the match 11-10.Another anticipated match was Billy Thorpe against Fargo #3 James Aranas. Thorpe played an aggressive, gutsy game to take down  Aranas  11-7.
 
From here the matches only get better. Follow all the action live on Accu-Stats.com and stay up to the minute with all of your favorite players right here on AZB with our real-time live scoring and brackets.
 

Kennedy comes back from hot seat loss to down Jacobs on J. Pechauer SE Open 9-Ball Tour

Tommy Kennedy came within a game of failing to make it out of  winners' side semifinal against Gary Gilsinan, and then did get sent to the loss side by Justin Jacobs in the battle for the hot seat during the August 12-13 stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour. Kennedy came back to defeat Jacobs in the finals, winning the $1,000-added event that drew 44 entrants to Uncle Waldo's Billiards in Daytona Beach, FL.
 
Gilsinan was on the hill at 6-4 in a race to 7 against Kennedy in that winners' side semifinal, when Kennedy rallied to win it.
 
"He had me," said Kennedy afterward, describing his eventual win as "a gift."
 
Kennedy wasn't as lucky in the hot seat match, in which he faced Jacobs, who'd defeated Brad Shearer, double  hill. Jacobs claimed the hot seat 7-5, and waited on Kennedy's return.
 
On the loss side, Shearer picked up David Grossman, who'd gotten by David Jacobs (no relation to Justin) 7-5, and Mike Delawder 7-3. Gilsinan drew Nick Applebee, who'd defeated Cody Booth 7-2 and Danny Waskom 7-5.
 
Shearer and Applebee advanced to the quarterfinals; Shearer 7-5 over Grossman and Applebee 7-3 over Gilsinan. Shearer took the quarterfinal match over Applebee 7-3, before being eliminated by Kennedy 7-2 in the semifinals.
 
Kennedy wasted little time in securing the event title. He allowed Jacobs only a single rack in a race to 9 that gave him that event title.
 
Kennedy, as tour director, thanked the ownership and staff at Waldo's Billiards, as well as title sponsor  J. Pechauer Custom Cues, Mueller Recreational Products, Simonis Cloth, Billiard Buzz, and Chris and Israel Hightower (Cue Man Billiard Products). The next stop on the J. Pechauer Southeast Open 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for August 19-20, will be the annual Bob and Brad Martin Memorial, hosted by Miscue Lounge in Fort Myers, FL.

Davis retains North Carolina State 9-Ball title

Mike Davis

Though warm weather and a host of competing events diminished the numbers, the North Carolina State 9-Ball Championships were held at Brass Tap and Billiards in Raleigh, NC, on the weekend of February 18-19. Held under the auspices of the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, the $400-added event saw 32 entrants compete, and for the second year in a row, saw Mike Davis, Jr. go undefeated to claim the title. 
 
In 2016, Davis faced separate opponents in the hot seat match and finals; Daniel Gambill and Stevie Moore, respectively. This year, he faced the same opponent, Jeff Abernathy, twice. Abernathy made it to the quarterfinals in 2016, before being defeated by Moore. This year, Abernathy found himself in a winners' side semifinal match against Corey Sykes, as Davis was squaring off against Delton Howard. Abernathy put up a double hill fight, but it was Sykes who advanced to the hot seat match against Davis, who'd sent Delton Howard to what proved to be a single, loss-side trip 9-4. Davis claimed the hot seat 9-5 and waited for Abernathy to get back.
 
On the loss side Abernathy picked up Ty Griffin, who'd defeated Barry Mashburn 7-4, and Brad Shearer 7-1 to reach him. Howard drew Justin Martin, who'd eliminated Michael Yingling 7-5, and in a double hill fight, Kenny Miller.
 
Martin shut Kenny Miller out and advanced to the quarterfinals. Griffin was battling against Abernathy and came within a rack of forcing a single deciding game, but Abernathy pulled ahead late to win it 7-5. Abernathy then gave up only a single rack to Martin in those quarterfinals, and then eliminated Sykes 7-4 in the semifinals.
 
In somewhat predictable fashion, Davis and Abernathy went at each other tooth and nail to claim the NC State title. they battled to double hill before Davis closed it out to claim the NC State 9-Ball Championship title.
 
Tour director Herman Parker thanked the ownership and staff at Brass Tap, as well as title sponsor Viking Cues, Delta 13 Racks, AZBilliards and Professor Q Ball. The next stop on the Viking Cues' Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for this weekend (February 25-26), will be hosted by Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

Sweat Begins to Pour at U.S. Open

Pin Yi Ko

Play continued Wednesday at the U.S. Open and we are at that period of the event where some big names begin to fall away. Radislow Baica first took out Denis Grabe 11-2 and then eliminated Chip Compton 11-2. Next he will face Ramil Gallego. Maxim  Dudanets of Russia sent Greek powerhouse Nikos Ekonomopoulos  to the sidelines 11-7, ending his run for this year.

Imran Majid got past one of this years Hall of Fame inductees, Rodney Morris, 11-10 and then bested BJ Chu by the same score. He next faces Nick Van Den Berg. Van den Berg narrowly escaped Albin Ouschan 11-10 before disposing of Jani Siekkinen 11-5. Mika Immonen is still alive after dominating Kenichi Uchigaki 11-5 and M. Fortunski 11-8. This puts him up against Carlo Biado who destroyed wunderkind Chezka Centeno 11-2.

Thorsten Hohmann will find himself battling Shane Van Boening today after slipping past Mike Davis 11-10 and then easily handling Antonio Lining 11-3. Mario He will face Ching Shun Yang today. He defeated Brad Shearer 11-4, ending a great week for Shearer. Mike Dechaine will face Darren Appleton by way of his beating Shane McMinn 11-8. Dechaine and Appleton are old Mosconi Cup foes so this should make for a great match.

Eklent Kaci had a marvelous day. First he took down Karl Boyes 11-5 and then went on to ruin the evening for Jason Klatt 11-8. Now it gets really tough as he goes up against young Ko today. Ko took out both Amar Kang (11-3) and Ralf Bouquet (11-5) to rest on his current bracket perch.

Josh Roberts will play Jeremy Sossei today after Earl Strickland resigned the match against Josh with the score at 9-7. Roberts then went on to beat H.X. Han 11-8 and he is playing at the top of his game. Sossei had a rough road to get this far out on the charts. He had two double hill victories in a row against John Morra and Raj Hundal.

Players still unscathed by loss include Brandon Shuff who faces Jung Lin Chang and Alex Pagulayan who is to play a resurgent Jeremy Jones. One headliner match that has the buzz gong today is Jayson Shaw will be playing Pin Yi Ko. These two are both fan favorites to win the event so this match will be a thriller.

Our final two undefeated players are Abdulrahman Al Shammer and David Alcaide. They will  face off in the winners rounds this afternoon or evening.

The matches just get tougher from here. Watch the best of them live at accu-stats.com.

The Rocket takes down The Lion in Mosconi Cup-qualifying Don Coates Memorial

Rodney Morris

In one of the most star-studded events of the year, "Rocket" Rodney Morris came from the loss side to meet and defeat Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan in the finals of the 1st Don Coates Memorial, held on the weekend of April 8-10 in Raleigh, NC. Held in conjunction with a $2,000-added One Pocket event, which finished up on Friday, April 8 (see separate story), the Mosconi Cup-qualifying, $8,000-added 9-Ball event drew 128 of the country's top competitors to Brass Tap Billiards in Raleigh.
 
By the time Morris and Pagulayan met in the finals, somewhere in the vicinity of 4 a.m, on Monday, April 11, a lot of names that one might have considered to be favorites in the field had already been eliminated, including three former US Open 9-Ball Champions. Gone were Shane Van Boening, Johnny Archer, Stevie Moore, and Mike Delawder, all finishing in the tie for the 17th place. Joining them were Taylor Anderson, Brad Shearer, Keith Bennett, and cue-maker Daniel Heidrich. The tie for 13th place was shared by Tommy Kennedy, Josh Roberts, Jason Brown and Shannon Fitch. Another measure of the event's field strength could be found in the players who failed to 'cash' in the event, including, though not necessarily limited to, Jeremy Sossei, Brandon Shuff, Shaun Wilkie, Hunter Lombardo, Tony Chohan and Robb Saez.
 
Meanwhile, Pagulayan advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Mike Dechaine. In the other winners' side semifinal, Shane McMinn faced Justin Bergman, who had just sent Morris on his loss-side journey. Pagulayan sent Dechaine over 9-3, while McMinn was busy sending Bergman to the left bracket 9-4, no doubt prompting fans of players in the Midwest to cheer for one of their own. Pagulayan silenced that crowd with a 9-3 victory over McMinn that left Pagulayan in the hot seat.
 
On the loss side, Dechaine picked up Morris, two matches into his loss-side journey, that saw him defeat Jason Klatt 9-6 and Mike Davis 9-5. Bergman drew Corey Deuel, who'd sent Norris Brady (9-5) and John Morra (9-4) home. It could be argued that any of the matches played at this juncture and beyond featured potential finalists in the event. As it turned out, Morris downed Dechaine 9-6 to earn a quarterfinal matchup versus Deuel, who'd eliminated Bergman 9-3.
 
Morris downed Deuel 9-5 in those quarterfinals and finished up his loss-side campaign with a commanding 9-2 win over McMinn in the semifinals. The race-to-13 final match was a predictable close battle that came within a game of double hill. Morris closed it out at 13-11 to claim the Don Coates Memorial title.
 
The event's tour director, David Brown, thanked Brass Tap and Billiards' owner, Tony Coates (son to Don Coates, who passed away last fall and in whose name the event was held). Brown also acknowledged sponsor Beasley Custom Cues, Ray Hansen's PoolActionTV crew for their live-streaming efforts, and Joe Blackburn, for his on-site cue repair work.
 
As with the previous report on the One Pocket event, this report was compiled thanks to the assistance of Herman Parker, tour director of the Q City 9-Ball Tour, and his wife, Angela, both of whom competed in the event; Angela was the One Pocket tournament's only female.

Jones goes undefeated to win 2015 Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships in Raleigh

Daniel Jones got by a slightly-higher-ranked Wayne Haire twice to go undefeated and win the 2015 Q City 9-Ball Tour Championships on the weekend of January 2-3. The $1,000-added event drew 63 entrants to Brown's Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
 
With Jones racing to 5, and Haire racing to 7, they met first in the hot seat match. Jones had sent Rick "Yo Yo" Roper to the loss side in a winners' side semifinal 5-4 (Roper racing to 7), as Haire was busy surviving a double hill match against Brad Shearer, 7-8, in the other semifinal. Jones claimed the hot seat 5-2 and waited on Haire's return. 
 
Over on the loss side, J.T. Ringgold was making a bid to claim the title. He'd been sent over by Roper in the opening round of play and was working on a nine-match, loss-side streak that would take him as far as the semifinals against Haire. Ringgold got by Michael Robertson 8-3 and Bryan Bryant 8-4 to draw Shearer. Roper picked up Scott Roberts, who'd defeated Alex Fulcher 7-5 and Chad Pike 7-3 to reach him.
 
Ringgold downed Shearer 8-4 to earn a quarterfinal rematch against Roper, who'd eliminated Roberts 7-5. Ringgold completed his loss-side winning streak with a surely satisfying 8-4 victory over Roper in those quarterfinals. 
 
Haire got his second shot at Jones in the hot seat with a 7-5 win over Ringgold in the semifinals. Though Haire would double the number of racks he chalked up against Jones in the hot seat match, Jones prevailed a second time, winning the only set necessary to claim the Tour Championship title 5-4.

Ignacio goes from 13th in US Open to first on the Q City 9-Ball Tour

After joining Mike Dechaine, Carlo Biado and Rodney Morris in the tie for 13th place at the 40th Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships in Norfolk, Virginia, Jeffrey Ignacio traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina to compete on the Q City 9-Ball Tour. He joined 25 other competitors in the event, hosted by Brown's Billiards in Raleigh, and went undefeated to claim the title.
 
Playing as a 'pro' in the handicapped event, Ignacio had to win 13 games, every time he played; two more than he had to play in any of the eight matches he played at the Open. Ignacio lost his opening match, and then won six on the loss side, including victories over Earl Strickland, Shaun Wilkie, Mika Immonen and Jundel Mazon, before Ruslan Chinahov eliminated him from further play. 
 
The handicapped advantage of some of Ignacio's adversaries in Raleigh almost cost him. He was forced to win a deciding game in his winners' side semifinal match against Buddy Fisher, racing to 6; final score 13-5. David Smith, in the meantime, sent Joe Cosky to the loss side 5-4 (Cosky racing to 7). Ignacio was forced into his second straight double hill match against Smith, battling for the hot seat. He prevailed 13-4, and waited on what turned out to be the return of Steve Page.
 
Page, who'd been sent to the loss side in an early round by Brad Shearer, won seven on the loss side to face Ignacio in the finals. In loss-side victories #3 and #4, Page defeated Taz Holiday 10-4, and shut out Jeff K, to draw Fisher. Cosky picked up David Brown, who'd defeated Thomas Michael and Brad Shearer, both 8-3.
 
Brown and Page advanced to the quarterfinals; Page 10-5 over Fisher, and Brown 8-4 over Cosky. Page then eliminated Brown 10-5, and chalked up his second shutout, this one over Smith in the semifinal. Ignacio, though, completed his undefeated run with a 13-7 win in the finals over Page, to claim the event title.
 
The next stop on the Q City 9-Ball Tour, scheduled for the weekend of November 7-8, at Chambley's Chalk & Cue in Statesboro, NC, will be the $1,000-added NC State 8-Ball Championships. It will be the first time that the tour has featured an 8-ball event. According to tour director Herman Parker, it's a feature that players on the tour have been requesting, and will likely not be the last.

Davis goes undefeated to claim NC State 10-Ball Championship

Mike Davis

Mike Davis worked his way, undefeated, through a field of 56, to win the 1st Annual North Carolina State 10-Ball Championships, held under the auspices of the Q City 9-Ball Tour. The $1,000-added event, held on the weekend of July 18-19, was hosted by Brass Tap and Billiards in Raleigh, NC.
 
Davis ran into a familiar foe among the winners' side final four. Keith Bennett, whose last recorded payout was at the 2013 US Open, when he finished in the tie for 13th place with Corey Deuel, Tommy Kennedy and Imran Majid, showed up for this 10-Ball event, and renewed acquaintances with Davis (among others). Steve Page, in the meantime, who would face Davis twice, met up with Chris Bruner in the other winners' side semifinal. Davis sent Bennett to the loss side 7-5, and in the hot seat match, faced Page, who'd shut out Bruner. Page almost sidetracked Davis' undefeated run with a double hill challenge. Davis prevailed, however, and sat in the hot seat, waiting on Page's return.
 
On the loss side, Bennett ran into Jeff Abernathy, who'd gotten by Michael Robertson and Corey Sykes, both 7-5. Bruner picked up Mahmoud Salamah, who'd defeated Paul Swinson (winner of the previous week's stop on the tour) 7-4 and survived a double hill fight against Brad Shearer. Bruner and Bennett advanced to the quarterfinals; Bruner 7-3 over Salamah and Bennett 7-5 over Abernathy.
 
Bruner spoiled any ideas Bennett may have been entertaining about a re-match versus Davis with a 7-5 quarterfinal victory, and then, was himself eliminated by Page 7-2, in the semifinals. Davis won his second against Page 9-4 in the finals to claim the first NC State 10-Ball Championship.

WOW Matches All Day at Simonis/Aramith U.S. Open

Mike Dechaine

Thursday brought us another host of excellent matches at the 39th Simonis/Aramith U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships at the Marriott Hotel in Chesapeake, Virginia. With a field this strong we have many big names storming through the one-loss bracket. All of these are perform or go home matches and experience under pressure is proving its value here.

World number one Niels Feijen was behind in most of his match with Jin Hu Dang but came back from a two-game deficit to win the match 11-9. Johnny Archer had to face young sharpshooter Skyler Woodward but his composure and confidence won the day as he overcame the up and comer 11-5. Feijen next faces Jonathan Pinegar and he better be ready as Pinegar eliminated Johnny Archer (11-6) in his final match of the night. Upcoming Hall of Famer Jose Parica had his exit ticket punched today in a double-hiller with Le Quang Trun of Viet Nam and Imran Majid gave Oscar Dominguez a pass to the stands 11-7.

Justin Bergman doesn't ever seem to consider the possibility that he could miss. He plays with a solid and sure pace and just had his way today with a tough Danny Mastermaker. Mastermaker just could not stay up with the firepower of Bergman. Begman then went on to take out Brad Shearer (11-3). He ran a four pack against Shearer and that is the most racks anyone has been able to manage consecutively this week as the new racking rule of the 9 on the spot has really put a halt to long runs. The games are more about strategy this year and Bergman's main strategy is to smother opponents with firepower until they cannot lift their heads.

Chris Bruner had a match today he can put in the proud section of his memory banks. He showed no apprehension at all in his match against Russian great Konstantin Stepanov. He played what the table offered and ducked effectively when that was the proper option. The match was close but Bruner never showed any nerves as he took the bout 11-9.

Alex Pagulayan is the first to admit that his record against Ralf Souquet is less than stellar. But he must have forgotten about that in their match today. Pagulayan looked truly solid as he ended the run of Souquet 11-7. In the next round, however, Pagulayan ran into prospective Mosconi Cupper Justin Hall and Hall played well beyond his years as he dismembered Pagulayan 11-4. Whatever magic dust coach Mark Wilson is using on his charges seems to be working very well this week. Wilson has to pick five of the eight prospects to make the team and they are not making his choice easy.

Jeremy Sossei had a real hill to climb. He was matched up against Max Eberle and Max had already beaten the aforementioned World number one Niels Feijen earlier in the week. Eberle is in total control of the mental side of the game now and when you couple that with his considerable table skills you have a guy you just don't really want to play. But Sossei gets better every time we see him and he stayed calmly within himself throughout the match and took it down 11-9. The new table habits Sossei has picked up of late are certainly working for him. After the Eberle match he went on to take down Albin Ouschan (11-8) and Friday must face his fellow Mosconi Cup prospect Justin Hall. It will be curious to find which of these players will be afraid of making the first big mistake and which will put all that away and play aggressive 9-Ball.

On the winner's side Ernesto Dominguez just keeps setting them up and knocking them down. He beat Ralf Souquet earlier in the week 11-7 and today never gave Chris Futrell a chance as he rolled over him 11-5. His next opponent is Francisco Bustamante. Bustamante manhandled a clearly not on his game Thorsten Hohmann. Both men had a lot of trouble with the break shot and we witnessed six scratches on the break shot during the match as Bustamante managed Hohmann 11-5.

Former Mosconi Cup member Nikos Ekonomopoulos is threatening the field this week. He has already tromped Dennis Grabe 11-3 and Mario He 11-4 and today he showed his endurance as he never tired in his 11-10 win over another former Mosconi Cup member, Corey Deuel.

Nick Van Den Berg is here on a mission and he is getting there. Every match he has had has been against a champion and he just continued to prevail until Warren Kiamco put him over to the left side 11-9. Prior to that he had won over Stevie Moore (11-6), Matt Haines (11-5), and Mika Immonen (11-2).

Late evening matches of interest included a match between Shane Van Boening and Do Huang Quan where the pool gods showed their undying love for Van Boening. Quan had him in the vise twice and let him out. Quong was running out when he led the match 10-8 but dogged an easy 5 ball and then dogged another golden opportunity in the hill match to ran the victory to Van Boening 11-10.

Karl Boyes is a study in contrasts. Off the table he is gregarious and a lot of fun to be around. He has one of those personalities that easily charms and wins friends and he can be the life of the party. But when he gets on a pool table he flips the switch and focuses internally and does a fine job of living inside the rails. He showed off his true power Thursday night as he crushed none other than Darren Appleton 11-1. With that kind of performance on his record he will bring out the cautious side of his opponents and that advantage alone is worth a couple of racks.

There are now only eight undefeated players and they are going to provide us with a marvelous show today as Shane Van Boening must face Karl Boyes, Mike Dechaine takes on Dennis Orcollo, Nikos Ekonomopoulos challenges Warren Kiamco and Ernesto Dominguez does battle with Francisco Bustamante. Watch the best of the action on Accu-Stats and follow all of the action here on AZB.