Archive Page

Filler Beats Van Boening At The World Games

Joshua Filler

MEN’S POOL
Joshua Filler 11-3 Shane van Boening
Carlo Biado 11-7 Albin Ouschan

Joshua Filler out-broke Shane van Boening to inflict a painful 11-3 defeat on the reigning World Champion as the German progressed to the men’s pool semi-finals at The World Games with an ominous message for the rest of the field; he’s only interested in winning gold.

The German struck an immediate blow against Van Boening when he took the first game on the American’s break. Filler was soon 3-0 up but World Champion Van Boening, who turned 39 on Thursday, took the next two.

But that was the last real success Van Boening had in the match. A missed 4-ball in the seventh allowed Filler to move 5-2 ahead and an excellent runout in the 10th made if five consecutive racks for the German.

Up against the pressure of the scoreboard, Van Boening needed to take opportunities but a missed 6 when he desperately needed a runout was compounded when Filler cleared for a 9-2 lead.

When Filler arrived on the hill it was with his second break and run of the match. Fighting to stay in the contest, Van Boening came up dry on his break. Filler wasted no time in leaving his chair but with a roadmap to victory in sight a miscue meant he missed the 8. The crowd let out a collective gasp and Van Boening gratefully took the chance to get his third rack on the board.

But the American’s chances were slim with the alternate break format seeing Filler immediately back at the table and breaking for the match. A powerful strike took three balls from the table and left nothing that looked too difficult for the former World Champion, who this time made no mistake in completing an excellent 11-3 victory.

“It was a one-sided match because my break was really good and working and his break, most of the time he had to play push-out,” said Filler. “By 7-2 you could see he was very frustrated and not really trying any more, which was good for me and gave me more confidence.

“He played two bad safeties which helped me, because in an alternate break when that happens and my break works it is a good opportunity to win.

“I am happy with my positional play and my shot making and playing faster makes me feel better because I don’t need to think about anything else. I already know I am confident and you can see it in my game.

“I am here to win. I know we have a lot of World champions in the field but it would mean the world to me. It is just once every four years this event. I don’t want bronze, I don’t want silver, I want a gold medal.

Filler’s next opponent will be Carlo Biado, who beat Albin Ouschan 11-7 in their quarter-final clash.

“Carlo and myself played one World Championship final and I won that one, but we start from zero again tomorrow,” said Filler. “He beat Albin, and Albin is one of the most consistent players right now so it is going to be really tough, but if my break keeps going like that, it will be really tough for him.”

Biado applied the accelerator at the end of his match against 2021 World Champion Ouschan. The Austrian did lead 5-3 at one stage but much of the match was nip and tuck. However, from 8-8 Biado pulled ahead to reach the hill at 10-8 and he converted the 19th frame to advance to the semi-finals.

WOMEN’S POOL
Kelly Fisher 9-7 Brittany Bryant 

Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Kelly Fisher took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent – and, for this week, roommate – Brittany Bryant of Canada to come-from-behind and fend off the Canadian, 9-7.

After the two competitors split the first six racks, Bryant tacked on back-to-back wins to build a 5-3 advantage. Fisher won two of the next three racks to cut the deficit to 7-5 but Bryant faced a carom shot on the 9 ball in the 13th rack that would give her an 8-5 lead in a race-to-nine.

She didn’t, as Fisher cleared the table to pull to within a game, then used a safety exchange to tie the score again. The reigning women’s World 9-Ball champion Fisher took the lead for good in the 15th game when Bryant scratched on break.

Bryant had one final chance to tie the score when her opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 16th game but was unable to clear the table, instead scratching while attempting to secure position on the 8 ball.

“I felt hopeful to be in that match because neither one of us could get the table speed,” said Bryant after the match. “I’m just happy that that I was in it given how the match went. I felt lucky that Kelly wasn’t playing her best either.”

Yuki Hiraguchi 9-6 Oliwia Zalewska 6

Yuki Hiraguchi jumped out to an early 5-1 advantage, only to watch the lead evaporate thanks to a handful of unforced errors. In the end, the young girl from Japan used a couple of well-executed combination shots while taking advantage of a couple of misplayed shots by her opponent to seal a 9-6 victory and a trip to the semifinals.

After winning five of the first six games, Hiraguchi started to struggle with her ball pocketing in the match’s middle stages, including a misplayed 9 ball in the 10th, as the young Pole won four straight to tie the match 5-5. After regaining the lead on a safety exchange and using a combination shot on the 9 ball to win the 12th game and build a 7-5 lead, but missed another 9 ball in the 13th game, which her opponent pocketed to cut the deficit to 7-6. Hiraguchi then closed out the set with another successful combination shot on the 9 ball in the 14th game and a victorious safety exchange on the 5 ball in the next rack to seal the victory.

“It wasn’t my best game for sure,” said Zalewska. “I couldn’t focus in the beginning of the match and then result of that was too many mistakes.”

Hiraguchi will now face Fisher in the semifinals Saturday.

Go to thread

Fisher ‘twins’ are winner and runner-up at 5th Annual WPBA Ashton Twins Classic

Brittany Bryant, Kelly Fisher and Allison Fisher

About two months ago, Kelly and Allison Fisher squared off in the finals of the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic, which was the first time they’d met in an event final in six years, when Allison downed Kelly twice in the 2016 finals of the 19th Annual International Women’s Tournament of Champions at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. It didn’t take anywhere near that long between final meetups this time around, because following their finals match in the Northern Classic (won by Kelly), they squared off again this past weekend (June 23-26) at the 5th Annual Ashton Twins Classic. Allison was the event’s defending champion, having defeated Jennifer Baretta in the finals of the event the last time it was held in 2020. Kelly claimed the title this time, coming from the loss side to do it at the event which drew 63 entrants to The Hidden Spot in Calgary, Alberta.

With the Northern Lights Classic and the Super Billiards Expo, the WPBA competitors had been getting back into the stroke of things, to include renewing acquaintances and enjoying the companionship that had marked their days pre-COVID. The Ashton Twins Classic continued that process as the cream of the WPBA crop gathered. Kelly was the event’s #1 seed, with Brittany Bryant as #2. Allison was #3 with Caroline Pao #4 and Janet Atwell #5. Rounding out the top 10 seeds were Ashley Burrows, Emily Duddy, LoreeJon Brown, Kim Newsome and Teruko Cuccelelli.

Kelly’s path to the hot seat match was relatively undramatic; in races to 8, downing Katherine Robertson (2), Eleanor Callado (2), Kelly Cavanaugh (3) and Maria Teresa Ropero Garcia (1), she drew Pao in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Allison, in the meantime, got by Jana Montour (2), Sandra Badger (1), Stephanie Mitchell (1) and Kyoko Sone (6) to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal versus Bryant.

The event’s top four seeds went at it in their respective winners’ side semifinals. Allison sent Bryant to the loss side 8-3, while Kelly was sending Pao over 8-2. Allison grabbed the hot seat 8-4 and waited for Kelly to get back from the semifinals.

On the loss side, Bryant picked up Eleanor Callado, who’d been defeated by Kelly Fisher in the second winners’ side round and was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak that had recently eliminated Susan Mello 8-4 and Ashley Burrows in a double hill battle. Pao drew Sone, who, after losing her winners’ side quarterfinal to Allison Fisher, had defeated Maryann McConnell 8-1 and Tamami Okuda 8-2.

Sone, who was seeded just outside the top 10 (#11), downed the #4 seed, Pao 8-6, while Bryant was eliminating Callado 8-1. Bryant stopped Sone’s loss-side run at three matches with a subsequent 8-5 win in the quarterfinals.

And there they were, the event’s top three seeds as the last three standing on Sunday afternoon. Kelly Fisher defeated Bryant 8-4 for a second shot at Allison, waiting for her in the hot seat.

The final was a single race to 10. Allison had chalked up twice as many racks as Kelly to claim the hot seat. Kelly chalked up twice as many as Allison in the finals, 10-5, to claim the 5th Annual Ashton Twins Classic.

The Ashton twins, Beverly and Joanne, who finished 49th and 25th, respectively (Beverly allowing Joanne to advance when they were scheduled to meet in the first loss-side round), along with the WPBA thanked the ownership and staff of The Hidden Spot for their hospitality, along with sponsors Simonis, Esports, Diamond Billiards Products, RAD and ATC. 

Go to thread

Predator Germany Open 2022 – Big Names Advance To Last 32

Sanjin Pehlivanovic

Sanjin Pehlivanovic, a former World Junior 9-Ball Champion, become European 10-Ball Champion earlier this year and has proved those credentials so far at the Predator Germany Open where he has reached the single elimination stage with two straight-sets victories.

After defeating Hajo Meier of Germany on the opening day Pehlivanovic, of Bosnia and Herzegovina, faced Swiss player Michael Schneider during Wednesday’s action. The 20-year-old European champion broke well, save for a scratch at 3-0 up, to take the first set 4-1. Schneider won the opening game of the second set but left his opponent straight on the 1 ball after a failed jump at the start of the second game. Another chance went in the third game when he missed position on the 9 and was unable to execute his jump under shot-clock pressure. That awarded Pehlivanovic a 2-1 lead and the European Champion took the next two games for a 4-1, 4-1 win to move to the last 32.

Austria’s Mario He, a US Pro Billiard Series winner at the FargoRate Ohio Open last fall, is also into the single elimination phase of the competition. He closed out day three on the TV table against South Africa’s Muhummad Daydat and scored a 4-1, 4-0 victory to progress from the winners’ side.

Ralf Souquet has also won through to the last 32 without defeat. The German defeated Turkey’s Melih Dagas 4-1, 4-1. “When you look at the score it seems like an easy one but with the short race and winner breaks, anything can happen. I missed an easy one at the beginning of the match but he didn’t capitalize, and in the second set when I was leading 3-0 I made an easy mistake on the 6 ball which could have changed the match. He had a great break right afterwards but luckily he couldn’t win the game,” said Souquet.

The Open division continues with three rounds on the losers’ side on Thursday, culminating in the qualification rounds for Friday’s single elimination stage of the tournament.

In the Women’s Division, Jasmin Ouschan had been sent to the losers’ side after a shootout defeat to Hong Kong’s Ka Kai Wan and on Wednesday faced another shootout to remain in the tournament. Facing Poland’s Monika Zabek, the Austrian lost the first set but fought back for victory.

Ouschan said: “You always want to win in two sets but I have played so many shootouts lately that I guess I practice it well. In this match I felt more calm than yesterday and after losing the first set, which I really shouldn’t have because I was up 3-0, I just tried whatever was possible, was calm and made all the balls.”

Canada’s Brittany Bryant, who finished second at the Alfa Las Vegas Women’s Open in April, stayed alive on the losers-side with consecutive wins. She defeated Portugal’s Vania Franco at the Sudden Death stage of a shootout and followed it with her second shootout win of the day, against Anna Riegler. She now faces potentially three matches on Thursday to make it through to single elimination stage. Kelly Fisher will face Melanie Sussenguth of Germany in the Women’s Qualification round as she continues her quest to make it three in three on the Pro Billiard Series.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

Go to thread

Ouschan Shocked By Wan, Fisher Makes Winning Start In Predator Germany Open 2022 Women’s Division

Katrina Wan (Hong Kong)

Kelly Fisher has enjoyed the addition of the Predator Pro Billiard Series to the international calendar; the Brit has won both previous Women’s events on the series.

On Tuesday, she began her efforts to win a third as the Women’s division of the Predator Germany Open began at ATLANTIC Hotel Galopprennbahn, Bremen. Staged alongside the Open event, the Women’s division has equal added money of €45,400 and an international field including Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan and Alfa Las Vegas Open runner-up Brittany Bryant of Canada.

Fisher’s first match was against Sukmawaty Facquet of Indonesia, on the winners’ side of the backets after a bye through the first round. The Alfa Las Vegas Women’s Open champion was shooting sharp and gave Facquet very few chances at the table in the opening set, save for some difficult shots on the 1 which weren’t taken after push outs by Fisher. An attempted bank of the 9 ball went wrong for Facquet in the first game of the second set and just 20 minutes later Fisher had completed a 4-0, 4-0 shutout.

Ouschan, also beginning on the winners’ side, suffered a surprise Sudden Death shootout defeat by Katrina Wan of Hong Kong. Taking the first set 4-1, Ouschan was held to a 3-3 tie after six games of the second set and it was Wan who was first to escape a series of safeties around the 8 ball to take it to shootout. Both players made three of their initial four shots but it was Wan who prevailed in Sudden Death when Ouschan missed in her seventh innings.

In the Open division, Tuesday’s play was reserved for the losers’ side of the bracket. After an opening round defeat to friend and fellow Spanish player Jose Alberto Delgado, Jonas Souto was sent home after a shootout defeat by Hong Kong’s Ip Tung Pong. Souto won the first set 4-0 but the second set finished 4-1 to Tung Pong, who won the shootout 5-4 at Sudden Death.

Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn is also heading home after defeat by a player from Hong Kong. Yip Kin Ling lost in the first round to Vincent Gomez but a 2-0 win against Juszczyszyn, a former EuroTour winner and 2018 European 9-Ball Champion, means the Asian player progresses to face Jani Siekkinen next.

Oliver Ortmann’s tournament continues after he defeated Richard Halliday of South Africa, and Finnish junior player Riku Romppanen claimed victory against Thorben Brunnen. Play resumes at 11am local time on Wednesday as the winners’ side taking stage in the Open event. The Women’s division will see matches from both sides of the bracket.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

Go to thread

Predator Germany Open – Straight Sets Take Champions Through

Germany’s Ralf Souquet and Alfa Las Vegas Open champion Wiktor Zielinski both enjoyed straight-sets progression on the opening day of the Predator Germany Open, the first 2022 European leg of the Pro Billiard Series, being staged at ATLANTIC Hotel Galopprenbahn, Bremen.

Poland’s Zielinski is in red-hot form right now with two EuroTour titles and March’s US Pro Billiard Series victory in just the last nine months.

Zielinski’s final day in Vegas was a rollercoaster as back-to-back shootout wins took him to the final, where he defeated Aloysius Yapp with a bit of fortune in the first set. None of that was required on the opening day in Bremen.

The EuroTour No.2 ranked player had a bye to the winners’ side of the brackets and moved forward in the tournament with a 4-0, 4-1 win over Germany’s Fitim Haradinaj, whose inexperience on the TV table showed with a shot-clock foul in the first set.

“I was playing quite confidently, I played almost a perfect match,” said Zielinski. “In the beginning, Fitim Haradinaj forgot to call the extension and the referee called foul. He lost his confidence and made a couple of mistakes, I took advantage of it.

“Winning in Las Vegas boosted my confidence quite a lot but I am trying not to think about it and just focus on my current matches.”

Straight sets also took Souquet into the second round on the winners’ side. The BCA Hall of Fame member, playing in his home country, had a bye through the opening round and then defeated Andre Wansner to bank a day off on Tuesday.

Like Souquet, Oliver Ortmann is a bona-fide pool legend. With three WPA World titles and a multitude of German national titles to his name, the BCA Hall of Famer has been a major player in pool since the 1990s.

On Monday evening he was facing Mario He of Austria. He knows what it takes to win these events; the 28-year-old took home the title at the FargoRate Ohio Open last fall. The Austrian showed he was unfazed by the resume and home-country advantage of his opponent with a 4-2, 4-1 win.

Earlier in the day, Jose Alberto Delgado of Spain sent his friend and former student Jonas Souto to the losers’ side. Souto had scored a surprise win over Shane van Boening on the first day of the Alfa Las Vegas Open but will now have to fight through the wrong side of the brackets after losing 4-3, 4-1 to Delgado.

“It was the first time I played on the TV table in the Pro Billiard Series. It was a bit weird because I have known Jonas since he was 12 years old, I was kind of his coach at the beginning. Outside of the table we are friends but at the table I have to do my best.”

The €45,400 added Women’s Division of the Predator Germany Open begins on Tuesday with Brit Kelly Fisher, Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan and Alfa Las Vegas Open runner-up Brittany Bryant of Canada in the draw. Matches from the Women’s Division will be included on the Table 1 streaming schedule each day.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

Go to thread

Predator Germany Open Kicks Off This Week

The Predator Pro Billiard Series returns to Europe this week with the Predator Germany Open at ATLANTIC Hotel Galopprenbahn, Bremen, featuring a 128-player Open event and a 64-player Women’s Division.

Carrying added money of €45,400 the Open division counts two PBS champions and German multi-event champions Oliver Ortmann and Ralf Souquet in its field.

Staged June 13-18, the Predator Germany Open will be streamed live for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel. Every table is streamed free live on Kozoom.com.

Wiktor Zielinski of Poland is enjoying a fruitful period, with two EuroTour titles and March’s US Pro Billiard Series, Alfa Las Vegas Open among his successes in the last nine months. Another previous Pro Billiard Series champion competing in Germany is Mario He of Austria, who won October’s FargoRate Ohio Open.

The €45,400 added Women’s Division has a strong field with Brit Kelly Fisher, Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan and Alfa Las Vegas Open runner-up Brittany Bryant of Canada in the draw. Play commences on June 14 and matches from the Women’s Division will be included on the Table 1 streaming schedule each day.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

Find the Predator Germany Open draw on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator Germany Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel. Every table is streamed free live on Kozoom.com.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

Go to thread

Shaw and Kelly take Pro Championship titles on closing night of the SBE

Jayson Shaw and Kelly Fisher

Bruner and Malm capture Amateur titles

The Annual Super Billiards Expo (SBE), like other tournaments of similar size and length, has a way of building momentum and speed as the week of it goes by. This varies slightly, depending on whether you’re a spectator or a player. As an example, Kelly Fisher, who emerged from a 63-entrant field and went on to become the undefeated WPBA Women’s Pro Players Champion on Sunday, played a single match on Thursday (she’d been awarded an opening round bye) and didn’t play again until Saturday, when she played twice. On Sunday, already among the event’s 16 players to enter the single-elimination phase, she played three times in a row to claim the title. Jayson Shaw, who went on to become the undefeated, 73-entrant Diamond Open 9-Ball Pro event winner had the same experience. In both cases, the Thursday and Friday experience was a little slower. The Saturday and Sunday experience seemed to flash by like proverbial greased lighting.

The Amateur Players Championship, which featured four short of 1,000 entrants (by far, the most heavily attended event) began on Wednesday and like the Pro events, ended on Sunday. That single-elimination process began with a lot of layover time for the competitors; time which narrowed and eventually, went flying by. Its champion, Chris Bruner, though, was used to it. As a participant at the SBE for about 20 years, he’d finished third at the last one and over the years, had five or so finishes of 5th or better. But playing in the APA, he’d also been a veteran of similar, large-entrant fields, requiring days and days of non-stop pool, or in the early going of such competition, waiting for the non-stop pool to begin.

“It’s tough,” he said, “but with things like the APA Nationals in Vegas, you get used to those long days. You get accustomed to it; the mindset that you have to chill out, relax and go play your game.”

“I’ve been doing it for so long that in the last five or six years, I’ve learned what to do and what not to do,” he added. “Get as much rest as you can, get enough sleep, and just take it day by day.”

Bruner ended up winning 10 matches and only lost two sets. Only once did he compete against someone he knew; Brent Hensley, with whom he has been friends for a long time. To him, the reward had less to do with the $5,000 in cash that he received as the Amateur Champion, than it was about, after all of the years he’d been attending, finally winning it. 

“I’m still on Cloud Nine,” he said, about three hours after the event had ended, around 6:30 on Sunday night. “I’ve been so close for so many years.”

A field of 166 entrants competed in the Women’s Amateur Players Championship. Tina Malm went undefeated through that field to claim the title, downing Ashley Benoit in the finals.

By Saturday night, the WPBA’s 63-entrant Women’s 9-Ball Professional Championship had whittled down to its 16-entrant single elimination phase. The 16 women advancing (in fact, the entire field of the event) featured many of the most highly recognizable names in women’s pool and with the exception of two from the UK (the Fishers, Kelly and Allison), all were from the North American continent; two, being Canadians (Brittany Bryant and Veronique Menard). Among the 47 who did not make the cut were a few junior competitors – Skylar Hess, Savannah Easton and Hayleigh Marion – along with Jeri Engh, who, in her 80s, was the event’s oldest participant. Women of the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour were well-represented, along with the presence of, though not participation on the part of the tournament’s director, Linda Shea. Along with Kia Burwell and Caroline Pao, who did become two of the final 16, and C.C. Strain, who acted as the tournament director for all of the SBE’s Amateur events, tour members Ada Lio, Kathy Friend, Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Judie Wilson and Shanna Lewis competed.

On Sunday morning, the final eight paired up in four quarterfinal matches. The marquee pairing among them featured the Fishers, who’d last met in the finals of the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic last month. Joann Mason-Parker took on Caroline Pao, Jennifer Baretta faced Kim Newsome and Canada’s Veronique Menard matched up with Teruko Cucculelli.

In races to 11, Kelly Fisher defeated Allison Fisher 11-8 and Joann Mason Parker downed Caroline Pao 11-2. “9mm” Baretta shot down Kim Newsome 11-6 and Cucculelli eliminated Menard 11-9. In the semifinals that followed, Kelly Fisher defeated Mason-Parker 11-4 and in the finals, met Baretta, who’d defeated Cucculelli 11-4.

Fisher and Baretta traded racks through the first five games, after which Kelly was ahead 3-2. She added a rack, off Baretta’s break for a two-rack lead before Baretta came back with two to tie things for the third time at 4-4. Fisher won seven of the next eight games to claim the title.

Look for a report on the Diamond Open NineBall Professional Players Championship and the top finishers from the eight Amateur events in a separate report on these pages. 

Go to thread

Earl the Pearl tops Friday night battles in the Diamond Open 9-Ball Players Championship

Earl Strickland

Fishers still alive in the WPBA 9-Ball Pro Players Championship. 

He’d played twice already. On Friday night at 9:30, Earl Strickland stepped to the tables of the Super Billiards Expo’s arena in search of his second win in the Diamond Open 9-Ball Professional Players Championship. On Thursday, after a bye, he’d lost his opening match, double hill, to Alan Rolon Rosada and at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, downed Tyler Henninger 9-6. Both matches were very lightly attended. Modest crowds, dotting the three-level risers to either side of the 16 tables, laid end to end, side by side.

Friday night, though, was different. This was weekend-is-here Earl the Pearl time. And he got himself an audience. While there were certainly people in the crowd of some 200 or so spectators who were itching to see a show; not a pool show necessarily, but an Earl show, as only he can bring it. Instead, they got the professional ‘Earl’s here to win’ show, full of rock-solid shooting that saw him take control of a 2-2 match and win six in a row before some of the audience had even settled in. People (though not many) started leaving, like baseball fans leaving a stadium when the score is 12-0 in the seventh inning, wanting to get ahead of the traffic jam. Those who remained were switching their attention between what was left of Earl’s match and what was going on at the tables on either side of him (Shannelle Lorraine and Ada Lio were playing south of him, while Jesus Atencio and Mason Koch were battling it out north of him). 

Gomez managed to chalk up three racks and the remaining crowd went wild. Very quietly and not for long.

Earl finished off Gomez, quickly, only giving up one more rack and moved to the lobby outside the arena where folks gathered around the hand-written brackets to see who was coming up against who in today’s (Saturday) matches. Earl was scheduled to play Bart Czapla at noon, in a match that will determine whether he advances to the 16-player, single elimination phase of the event. The first round of that phase will play out at 6 p.m.

Earl was among those looking to see what was coming up next, and he took the opportunity to play to the audience that had been relatively quiet during his win over Gomez. They were lined up two or three deep around him, cameras at the ready, as he gave them a genteel comedian to play with. Standing for one shot with a broad grin on his face, he said that the woman to his left was prettier than he was, riffing on this to talk about his sagging limbs and a “face that looked like a truck hit me and then backed up.” Manifestly not true, but it got a laugh. He embellished on that central joke for a while before moving on to chat with spectators who’d obviously been paying strict attention to his match as it played out; questions and comments about shot situations and potential solutions, back and forth.

Jayson Shaw, still on the winners’ side of the bracket, looking to advance to the final 16 today, as well (2:30 p.m. against Billy Thorpe), joined the throng gathered around him and it took about two seconds for them to launch into a discussion about the tables and how they ‘played’ in a given match.

“I hit this shot,” said Shaw at one point, “that went into the hole and bounced out. The cue ball jumped up onto the rail, travelled all the way down table, jumping over the side pocket and then went back on the table, giving me a straight shot at the 4-ball.”

Lives of the legends playing out in one of their homes away from home.

There’ll be 32 competitors in the Players Championship facing advancement to pool’s version of the Sweet 16 today. Among those 32, on the winners’ side of the bracket, will be Thorsten Hohmann, Warren Kiamco, Ralf Souquet, Fedor Gorst, Darren Appleton and Shane Wolford.  In addition to Strickland, other loss-side competitors looking to make the cut and who’ll have to play two rounds to do it (or not), will be Danny Olson, Lukas Fracasso-Verner, Joe Dupuis, Landon Hollingsworth, BJ Ussery, Jr. and Bucky Souvanthong. As of noon today, the potential for Strickland to face Rosado a second time remained alive, as Rosado stepped to the tables, looking for advancement beyond Eric Roberts.

The two Fishers continue to play for advancement to the final 16 of the WPBA Pro Players event 

Competition at the WPBA 9-Ball Pro Players Championship will dominate the afternoon schedule at the pro player arena. All 16 women who step to the tables at 2:30 p.m. today, haven’t played a match since Thursday; half of them on Thursday afternoon and the other half on Thursday night.

On Friday afternoon, the Fishers, Allison and Kelly, squared off in a game of 8-ball that was not part of the official proceedings and did not involve cue sticks, felt cloth or actual pockets. Instead, they settled into another kind of table to play an 8-Ball Pool Board Game that’s on display and being pre-sold (prior to publication) to attendees at the SBE from a vendor booth surrounded by cue manufacturers. Kelly is acting as the game’s Brand Ambassador and has been at the booth where it’s being demonstrated a number of times, playing against, among others, Darren Appleton, who reportedly broke and ran the first game of it he played. 

While the game doesn’t employ any of pool’s tactile qualities with cues or aiming skills (there are basically no missed shots if you’ve lined up the cue and target properly), it does manage to offer a degree of strategy and tactics, very similar to the kinds of decision-making involved in the actual game of 8-ball. There are opportunities for bank shots (played out on strict horizontal/vertical target paths) safety play and you can scratch, for example, all of which plays out in ways unique to the board game.   

Though new to the game, Allison won the single game against Kelly. They could play a real game of 9-ball against each other before the end of the women’s tournament, but only, for starters, if both of them advance to the event’s final 16. Kelly, who’s only played a single match so far, defeating Jessica Barnes on Thursday night, was to play Liz Taylor at 2:30 today and if successful, would play the winner of an Ashley Burrows/Emily Duddy match in the opening round of the single-elimination phase at 8:30 p.m. Allison, who played two women from the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour (JPNEWT) on Thursday (Judie Wilson and Kathy Friend) will be facing Angela Janic at 2:30 and if successful, will also play at 8:30, against the winner of a Monica Webb/Kim Newsome match (check the SBE Web site for streaming options).

Other competitors, still on the winners’ side of the bracket, looking for a slot among the final 16 women, include Emilyn Callado, Brittany Bryant, Caroline Pao and LoreeJon Brown. On the loss-side of the bracket, at noon today, also looking for advancement to the final 16, will be,  among others, Janet Atwell, Jennifer Baretta, and both Kia Burwell and Judie Wilson, representing the JPNEWT. Matches at 6 p.m. on the loss-side of the bracket will determine the eight loss-side competitors among the Sweet 16.

Super Seniors get underway, as Amateur Ladies, Seniors continue, with Juniors in the wings 

The original Super Seniors tournament, with long lines hoping for a waiting-list entry, gathered early this morning, while the 996-entrant Open Amateur event looked to enter its Final 16 phase at 1 p.m. today. The four-brackets of the Amateur Ladies event is still ongoing, as is the (plain, so to speak) Seniors tournament. Two junior competitions (17U & 12U) are set to begin today, as well. 

Go to thread

Danny Mastermaker collects first Super Billiards Expo title in debut of 6-Ball

The competition is starting to heat up at the 2022 Super Billiards Expo being held at the Greater Philadelphia Convention Center in Oaks, PA. The doors opened on Monday (April 18) with TAP League’s National Championships and by Tuesday, the SBE had crowned its first champion. Emerging from a field of 204 entrants, initially spread out over four single-elimination brackets, Danny Mastermaker grabbed that first title in the game format of 6-Ball, downing Fred Goodman in the finals 6-2, 6-2.

Though not by any means a new format, it made its debut here as an SBE event, playing out on Diamond ‘bar box’ tables. Utilizing the same rules as 9-Ball, with, as one might imagine, the 6-ball as the game’s ‘money’ ball, it has some advantages and disadvantages over the more popular standards; 8-ball, 9-ball and 10-ball. It is, also as one might imagine, a much quicker game. Here, at the SBE, it played out in races to six, best two out of three sets for advancement. For some, it was a familiar game, while for others, like Daniel Dagotdot, who was one of the four competitors emerging from the four brackets, it was a new experience. His thoughts on the game itself highlighted aspects of the game, which are something of a good news, bad news situation.

“It is so hard to make a ball on the break,” he noted of his first experience, “and if you break and don’t drop a ball, 90% of the time, you lose.”

It also creates a ‘do or die’ scenario, where if you step to the table after your opponent has broken, you better be prepared to finish the game from that point. An alternate break format softens the ‘do or die’ consequences somewhat, though Dagotdot made note of the same cautionary note about the nature of the game.

“Unless there’s a pack somewhere,” he said, “if you miss, you’re done, too.”

“I do like the game,” he added, “and you can’t ever really say you don’t get a chance.”

The game format appears to be attracting its share of ‘side action’ matchups at the SBE. Apparently, Dagotdot noted, players on the amateur end of the player spectrum like the odds better in a game that’s “fast-paced, with very little safety play and (not much) strategy.

“It might develop as a format with that action angle to it,” said Dagotdot. “I saw a lot of players doing that in the first two days.”

Loye Bolyard, tour director of the Maryland State Championships series of events, played 6-ball growing up, but at this stage, doesn’t see it showing up on his event calendar any time soon. Like Dagotdot, he noted the most obvious difference that it makes in game play.

“It’s all about the break, but there’s really no downside to it,” he said. “The good thing is that anybody can play.”

Open Amateur tournaments are underway, as are the two Pro events

The SBE’s Open Amateur event, with 962 registered entrants got underway on Wednesday, sporting 16 double-elimination brackets. The TAP League National Championships concluded, while its Rally in the Valley event began. On Thursday, the two Pro events got underway; the Diamond Open 9-Ball Professional Players Championship and the WPBA 9-Ball Pro Players Championships. Today (Friday), as the Open Amateur Players championship entered its third day, the Seniors Amateur Players Championship and the Women’s Amateur Player Championships got underway. 

The 74-entrant Diamond Open 9-Ball Pro event finished two rounds of play on Thursday, with a list of the ‘usual suspects’ advancing. The only real (apparent) surprise in the early rounds, which included a lot of opening round byes, was Earl Strickland’s second round (after a bye), double-hill loss to Alan Rolon Rosado. Among those advancing to a third round today (Friday) were Darren Appleton, Mika Immonen (downing junior competitor Landon Hollingsworth), Thorsten Hohmann, Warren Kiamco, Ralf Souquet, BJ Ussery, Fedor Gorst, Jayson Shaw, Billy Thorpe, John Morra and Kristina Tkach, who was the only one who played two matches, albeit one, a forfeit win over Lukas Fracasso-Verner.

The 63-entrant WPBA 9-Ball Pro Players Championships had much fewer byes in its opening round and played a single round, followed by eight matches of a second round. Like the Open event, it featured its own set of ‘usual suspects’ advancing. Kelly Fisher was the only player to receive a bye and won her opener. Winning two and advancing to a third round were (among others) Kelly Fisher, Allison Fisher, Monica Webb and Kim Newsome. Playing their second round today (Friday) were (also among others) were Jennifer Baretta, Janet Atwell, Brittany Bryant, Carolyn Pao and Loree Jon Brown.

Junior players like Landon Hollingsworth, Payne McBride, Skylar Hess and Savannah Easton (among others) are competing in the Pro events and will be competing in two separate junior events (17 & Under, 12 & Under), beginning on Saturday. The winner of each division will win paid entry to Billiards Education Foundation’s Junior Nationals. The top 16 in each division will qualify for the event. Each division’s winner will be recognized by the BEF as the Pennsylvania Jrs. State 9-Ball Champion. 

Go to thread

“Kwikfire” goes undefeated to win second straight WPBA title

Kelly Fisher

Fresh off her undefeated win two weeks ago at the WPBA’s Northern Lights Classic in Minnesota, where she faced Allison Fisher for the first time in a final match since 2016, Kelly Fisher came to the CSI/Predator US Pro Billiard Series’ Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, held this past weekend (March 31-April 3) and went undefeated a second time to capture her second straight WPBA title. Though Allison Fisher was, once again, ‘in the house,’ the two did not meet up at this latest event. Allison was eliminated in the opening round of the single-elimination final phase to which they’d both advanced. The event drew 64 entrants to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The event was divided into two phases; an opening, 64-entrant, double-elimination Phase 1, followed by a 16-entrant, single-elimination Phase 2 that eventually crowned Kelly as the champion. The format was best-two-out-of-three races to 4. If the competitors were tied after two matches, a “spot shootout’ followed to determine the winner.

Kelly, who was in a 16-player, Phase 1 bracket that included eventual runner-up, Brittany Bryant, advanced to be among the eight winners’ side entrants in Phase 2 without having to play a third match. She played a total of 27 games against three opponents in Phase 1 and gave up only three of them, downing Sarah Kapeller (4-0, 4-1), Ashley Burrows (4-0, 4-0) and Cathy Metzinger (4-1, 4-1). To join Kelly in advancement to Phase 2, Bryant, in the meantime, had to play 44 games and lost 18 of them. She got by Anna Riegler and junior competitor Savannah Easton, both 4-2, 4-2, before facing Jennifer Baretta, who won the opening set 2-4. Bryant came back to win the second set and the “spot shootout,” both double hill.

Angela Ticoalu got by Jeannie Seaver, Nicole Keeney and Woojin Lee with an aggregate score of 24-15 to qualify for Phase 2, as did Susan Williams from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket. Williams sent June Maiers, Vang Bui Xuan and Joanne Ashton to the loss side to join Ticoalu in the winners’ side advancement to Phase 2.

Allison Fisher chalked up an even more impressive Phase 1 than Kelly had. She, too, advanced to Phase 2 without having to play a third match against any of her three opponents, downing Susan Wilbur, Veronique Menard and Naomi Williams and giving up only two racks (to Menard, in their second race-to-4). Kyoko Sone joined Allison in advancement to Phase 2 from the same 16-entrant section of the opening bracket, downing Sandy Badger, 13-year-old junior competitor Sofia Mast and Amalia Matas Heredia.

Rounding out the field of eight winners’ side competitors to advance to Phase 2 were Jasmin Ouschan and Line Kjorsvik. Ouschan got by two of her opponents without having to play a “spot shootout” third match, downing Tamami Okuda 4-2, 4-1 and Beth Fondell 4-1, 4-2, before splitting her first two against Mary Tam 1-4, 4-3. Ouschan won the shootout 3-2 to advance. Kjorsvik did not play a third, tie-breaking “spot shootout” against any of her first three opponents either, joining Ouschan in advancement after defeating Gigi Callejas (4-1, 4-2), Camille Campbell (4-2, 4-0) and Melissa Helland (4-0, 4-1).

After five losers’ side rounds, Kaylee McIntosh, Woojin Lee, Angela Janic, Heather Cortez, Melissa Helland, Mary Tam, Amalia Matas Heredia and Ashley Burrows joined the eight winners’ side competitors in advancement to Phase 2, which in some ways, was notable for those left behind as much as for those who advanced. Among those who failed to make the cut were long-time WPBA veterans (in no particular order) Stephanie Mitchell, Teruko Cucculelli, Monica Webb, Jeannie Seaver, Liz Cole, Kim Newsome, Emily Duddy, Dawn Hopkins, Loree Jon Brown, Janet Atwell and Caroline Pao. It should also be noted that while both 13-year-old junior competitors, Sofia Mast and Skylar Hess, failed to advance, one (Mast) fell to an opponent (Angela Janic) who was among the final 16 and the other (Hess) was eliminated by someone (Cucculelli) who arguably should have been. It was the first appearance for these two extraordinarily talented and professionally-composed young women and WPBA competitors should be on notice that these two will be back and barring any unforeseen life changes, for many years to come.

The Final Four in this event competed in plenty of time for those so inclined to turn their attention to the NCAA Final Four, which got started well after the four ladies in Vegas got underway at about 2 p.m. on Saturday. It was an International Final Four, which was absent representation from the United States.  Kelly Fisher, representing the UK was matched up against Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan. Spain’s Amalia Matas Heredia, who, in February, chalked up her first win on the European Ladies’ Tour, faced Canada’s Brittany Bryant.

Kelly Fisher had kept her no-third-match streak going through the opening round against Heather Cortez, whom she defeated 4-1, 4-0 before drawing Angeline Ticoalu, who took the opening set against Fisher 4-2. Fisher came back to win the second set 4-1 and then, in something of a nail-biter, the “spot shootout” 6-5. Ouschan, who got by Kaylee McIntosh 4-0, 4-1 in the opening round of Phase 2 had her own nail-biter in the second round, where she won two straight double hill fights against Kyoko Sone to draw Kelly.

Advancing to the other semifinal, Bryant had played 24 games against two opponents, eliminating Woojin Lee 4-2, 4-1 and then Ashley Burrows 4-2, 4-3 to advance. Heredia proved to be Allison Fisher’s downfall in the opening round of Phase 2. Fisher took the opening set, double hill, but Heredia came back to win the second set and the “shootout,” double hill. Heredia went on to down Mary Tam 4-1, 4-3 to pick up Bryant.

Kelly Fisher downed Ouschan 4-2, 4-1 in their semifinal matchup. She was joined in the finals by Bryant, who’d defeated Heredia 4-2, 2-4 and 4-2 in the “shootout.” 

It’s not hard to imagine Fisher’s “I’ve got this,” and Bryant’s “Uh, oh, trouble right here in Sin City” when Fisher shut Bryant out in the opening set of the final. It’s also not hard to imagine the spectator’s rooting for Bryant in the second set when she and Kelly finished the 6th game, tied at 3 apiece. Fisher, though, completed her undefeated run by winning the second set to claim the event title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, as well as sponsors and partners the WPBA, Alfa Coin, CueSports International, Predator Group, Kamui, Seybert’s, Medalla Light, Rums of Puerto Rico, BCA Pool League and the USA Pool League.

Go to thread