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Fisher comes back from hot seat loss to down Barretta and claim Ashton Twins Classic in Alberta

Holem, Plowman, Osborn and Lane win four concurrently-run Amateur/Open events

 

Two of pool’s old-school professionals battled in the hot seat and finals of the WPBA’s 4th Annual Ashton Twins Classic over the weekend (Dec. 2-5). Allison Fisher, who entered the tournament as the WPBA's #1 competitor,, and Jennifer Barretta (#3) fought to double hill in the hot seat match, before Barretta prevailed. Fisher came back from the semifinals to meet and defeat her in the finals and claim the 4th Ashton Twins Classic title, her 82nd pro title. Since the event debuted in 2017, it’s been won by two ‘new-school’ professionals, Brittany Bryant (2017, currently #2) and April Larson (2018, currently #23) and in the past two years, by old-school professionals, Vivian Villareal (2019, currently #48) and Fisher this year. The $20,000-added event drew 50 entrants to the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino in Calgary, Alberta.

 

The long weekend also featured four, concurrently-run Amateur and Open events; an Amateur Men’s 9-Ball (51 entrants), a Women’s Amateur 9-Ball (26), a Men’s 8-ball (71; the highest number of the weekend’s events) and a Women’s 8-Ball event (56). A summary of these four events, to include winners and runners-up will follow the Pro event details.

 

While the old-school professionals were represented in this year’s final, the new-school professionals were right there behind them, finishing 3rd (Russia’s Kristina Tkach, #22) and 4th (China’s Wei Tzu-Chien, #4). The tie for 5th place featured one each from the two categories; Janet Atwell (#11), who fell to Wei Tzu-Chien and the event’s 2017 winner, Brittany Bryant, who was eliminated by Tkach. The event’s 2018 champion, April Larson was on hand for this event, as well. She was sent to the loss side by Wei Tzu-Chien and was defeated in her first loss-side match by Kim Newsome (#24). Vivian Villareal did not make the trip to Canada.

 

Following an opening round bye, Fisher opened her six-match winning campaign with three victories in which she gave up a combined total of two racks; one each to (first) Stephanie Hefner and (third) Caroline Pao, with a shutout over Laura Smith in between. This set Fisher up to face Wei Tzu-Chien in one of the winners’ side semifinals (old-school/new-school). Barretta, in the meantime, had also been awarded a bye, and though not quite the domineering performance exhibited by Fisher, she did get by Stephanie Mitchell 9-2, June Maiers 9-3 and Monica Webb 9-2 to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal against Brittany Bryant (another old-school/new-school matchup).

 

Bryant chalked up as many racks against Barretta as all three of Barretta’s previous opponents combined, but fell two short, advancing Barretta 9-7 to the hot seat match. Wei Tzu-Chien chalked up three times as many racks as Fisher’s first three opponents combined, but fell three short, advancing Fisher 9-6 to meet Barretta. As befitted their status, Barretta and Fisher locked up in a double hill fight that saw Barretta down 5-8, before mounting a four-match comeback that left her in the hot seat and Fisher headed for a semifinal matchup versus Kristina Tkach.

 

Going into the money rounds on the loss side (17-24), there were still more than just a handful of potential winners vying to get back to the finals. Among them were Janet Atwell, who’d been defeated, double hill, by Caroline Pao and dropped into the loss side’s first money round. She subsequently got by Emily Duddy 9-7, Laura Smith 9-3, Monica Webb 9-6, and Jia Li 9-6, to draw Wei Tzu-Chien, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal.

 

Also lurking on the loss side was Kristina Tkach, who’d lost her first winners' side match (after a bye) to Kyoko Sone, and then launched an eight-match, loss-side winning streak that would take her all the way to the semifinals. After eliminating Ada Lio and Ashley Burrows to make it into the money rounds, she defeated Gail Eaton 9-1, Dawn Hopkins, double hill, Caroline Pao 9-5 and the WPBA’s #1-ranked competitor going into the tournament, Line Kjorsvik 9-2, to draw Bryant.

 

Tkach dispatched Bryant 9-2 and was joined in the quarterfinals by Wei Tzu-Chien, who’d eliminated Atwell 9-7. Tkach finished up her loss-side winning streak with a 9-3 win over Chien.

 

The commentators on the Cue Sports Live stream employed a slightly different vocabulary for the semifinal match, opting to call it a match between the ‘old guard’ and the ‘new guard.’ Fisher won the opening game of the semifinal match, and though Tkach responded to tie it up, she only did that twice and never got out in front. After the tie at the end of game #2, Fisher won three straight. Tkach came back with two, Fisher got another and Tkach won another two to create the second tie at 5-5. Fisher got out in front by two again, before Tkach chalked up her sixth and final rack. Fisher closed it out 9-6 for a second shot against Barretta.

 

The assembled were expecting a second double hill fight between the two ladies left standing. The race to 11 didn’t pan out that way, although it came close. Fisher took advantage of her second opportunity and downed Barretta 11-8 to claim her first (recorded) event title since she defeated Ga Young-Kim in the finals of the WPBA’s Ho-Chunk Classic in September of 2018.

 

From her home in Charlotte, NC a couple of days later, Fisher commented about her win and the prospect of future wins for her and players like her, like Jennifer Barretta, who's eight months younger than she is.

 

"It's like your own personal battle," she said. "You're constantly wondering 'Can you do it again?' 'Is it ever going to happen?' All those things go through your mind."

 

"There's not as much (time) distance (from former major victories) with me," she added, "but I was a prolific winner and as time goes on, you question and doubt. You're competing with yourself in personal growth."

 

Fisher is also assigning value to other considerations in her life; specifically her time at home with her family, which she noted she had not had much of in her past. Now, she's finding herself elevating that time on a priority scale above shooting pool. She has found that this shift in priorities tends to elevate the significance of each accomplishment.

 

"I don't play a lot these days, because some things (events) are not worth the time to be away from my family," she said. "I don't expect to be competing in 10 years time, so any victory is very valuable to me."

 

Concurrent Amateur/Open events take center stage

 

Kudos to Brian Champayne, who coordinated this long and multi-faceted event, which, as noted at the outset, included four other tournaments, including two which drew more entrants than the main event.

 

Up first on Thursday, January 2 were the Amateur Men’s and Women’s 9-Ball events. In the Men’s event, Tyler Edey and Kevin Osborn battled twice to claim the title. Edey won the first 7-1 to claim the hot seat. Osborn came back after downing Joe Spence 6-4 in the semifinals to defeat Edey 9-7 in the final and claim the Amateur Men’s 9-Ball title. Regene Lane went undefeated to grab the Women’s Amateur 9-Ball title. She and Cindy Nana fought a double hill hot seat match that eventually sent Nana to the semifinals, where she defeated Jenny Lucas 5-2. Lane defeated Nana a second time, this time 7-3 in the final to claim that 9-ball title.

 

On Friday, January 3, Tyler Edey was also in the finals of the most heavily-attended event of the long weekend, the Men’s 8-Ball, which drew 73 players. Edey was sent to the loss side in a double hill, winners’ side quarterfinal, as Stephen Holem advanced to the hot seat, downing Mike Robinson 6-1 in the winners’ side final. Edey worked his way back through five loss-side opponents, including a double hill win over Robinson in the semifinals to face Holem in the finals. Holem completed his undefeated run with a 7-4 victory over Edey.

 

In the Women’s 8-Ball event, which drew 56 entrants, Bonnie Plowman and Tasha Thomas battled twice, hot seat and finals, to determine the winner. Plowman, who finished undefeated, took the hot seat match 5-3, and when Thomas returned from a 4-2 victory over Jana Montour in the semifinals, defeated her a second time 6-4 to claim the event title.

Bryant comes from the loss side to defend WPBA Blue Emu title at Borderline Billiards in TN

Crowning achievements for (l to r) Kyoko Sone & Brittany Bryant with Janet Atwell

It began on Thursday, May 30 with a preliminary tournament made up of 30 lower-ranked players from the Women’s Professional Billiards Association (WPBA) and ended on Sunday night, June 2 with the crowning of defending champion Brittany Bryant, who had to come from the loss side (five matches) to meet Kyoko Sone in the finals of the WPBA’s Signature Tour Stop, the Blue-Emu Southern Open. The $10,000-added event drew a total of 62 entrants, including Janet Atwell to her venue, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN.

The event was not exactly a proverbial ‘walk in the park’ for the WPBA’s #4-ranked player. Bryant won the event, having won less than 60% of the games she played in it (70-49; 58.8%). The seven opponents she faced in races-to-8 chalked up an average of five racks against her. She got by Kelly Cavanaugh, Jessica Barnes and Mary Rakin by an aggregate score of 24-7, but against her other four race-to-8 opponents (LoreeJon Hasson, Allison Fisher, Melissa Little & Jennifer Baretta) she chalked up an aggregate of 32-26, or 55%. Not surprising necessarily, given the upgrade in the competition over those four matches. And then, of course, there was the third-round, 4-8 loss to Gail Eaton, which really did a job on the ‘numbers.’ Without that loss, Bryant would have finished with an overall game-winning average of just over 60% (62.8), rather than less.

“I go to every event to win it,” said Bryant, “but I didn’t go with any expectations this year. “There were actually a few more players who were higher up (in rankings) than there were last year when I won it.”

The ‘First Stage’ double elimination bracket yielded 16 players who advanced to the Final Stage; eight from the winners’ side and eight from the loss side of that bracket. Among those who emerged from that bracket was runner-up Kyoko Sone, who lost her opening round match, double hill to Mary Rakin. Rakin advanced to defeat Kelly Isaac 7-5 and become one of the eight winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage. Sone moved to the loss side, where she defeated Toni Esteves and Janet Ritcey, both 7-2, to become one of the eight loss-side competitors to advance to the final stage.

The other winners’ side competitors to advance to the Final Stage were Jennifer Berzinski, Jessica Human, Hiroko Makiyama, Ashley Burrows, Stephanie Mitchell, Kia Sidbury and Billie Billings. The other loss-side competitors to advance were Autumn Duncan, Kelly Isaac, Susan Wilbur, Julie Cooper, Angela Janic, Stephanie Goens, and Catherine Tschumper.

Moving into the Final Stage, beginning on Friday, May 31, the 16 arrivals from the preliminary bracket faced 16 players more or less in the middle of the WPBA rankings (approximately #17-#32). The winners in this opening round of Final Stage play advanced to meet the WPBA’s top 16 players, who had been awarded opening round byes.

Of the WPBA’s top 16 players who waited until Friday evening to begin competing, only three failed to advance on the winners’ side past their opening match; Jessica Barnes (WPBA-ranked #16) was defeated 8-2 by Kyoko Sone, Gerda Gregerson (#8) lost to Mary Rakin 8-6 and Emily Duddy (#10) joined them on the loss side following an 8-3 defeat at the hands of Naomi Williams. Among the more notable matches in this round of play, and the only one to go double hill was the battle between Allison Fisher and Russian teenager Kristina Tkach, who, a week earlier, had been the only female to compete in the Open/Pro event of the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial in New York City (she finished in the tie for 5th place). She was defeated by Fisher here and went on to win two loss-side matches before being eliminated by Line Kjorsvik.

A final round on Friday night brought the field down to the winners’ side quarterfinals. Kyoko Sone had sent Line Kjorsvik to the loss side and on Saturday night, faced Mary Rakin, who, after her victory over Gregerson, had sent hostess and WPBA-ranked #9 Janet Atwell over. Brittany Bryant, who’d defeated Loree Jon Hasson was to meet up with Gail Eaton, who’d gotten by Melissa Little. Fisher followed up her win over Tkach with a victory over Jia Li and on Saturday night, faced Naomi Williams, who had just survived a double hill battle against Helena Thornfeldt.  The last of the winners’ side quarterfinals pitted Jennifer Baretta against Monica Webb.

These matches elicited the winners’ side semifinals, which began immediately afterwards. Sone, who’d downed Rakin 8-5 met Eaton, who’d sent Bryant to the loss side 8-4, as Fisher, who’d defeated Williams 8-3 met Baretta, who’d gotten by Webb 8-5.

“I have to give Gail so much credit,” said Bryant of her only loss in the tournament. “I have never seen her play that well. I was down 7-1, took a break, composed myself and got it to 7-4.”

“I wasn’t disappointed,” she added. “I didn’t play poorly and Gail took control when she needed to.”

Sone advanced to the hot seat match 8-3 over Eaton. Fisher and Baretta, almost predictably, fought to double hill before Baretta prevailed to join Sone in the hot seat match. Sone downed Baretta 8-4 to claim the hot seat and waited on what turned out to be Bryant’s fateful return.

Meanwhile, back at the loss-side ranch, Bryant and Melissa Little were laying in wait for Fisher and Eaton, respectively. Bryant had defeated Jessica Barnes 8-2 and Mary Rakin 8-3 to draw Fisher. Little had won four loss-side matches, including a double hill win over Naomi Williams and an 8-4 victory over Kjorsvik to draw Eaton. Little made it five in a row with an 8-5 win over Eaton and advanced to the quarterfinals. Bryant joined her after surviving a double hill fight against Fisher.

“I expected to go back and forth with Allison,” she said. “It was actually the first time I had ever beaten her. I ended up breaking and running at double hill to win it.”

Bryant followed her double hill win over Fisher with a double hill win over Little in the quarterfinals and for the second time, she finished with a break and run. In the semifinals, Jennifer Baretta came within a game of giving Bryant a third straight, double hill challenge, but Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 8-6.

“I was up 6-2 in that match and she came back (to almost tie it),” Bryant said. “And then, there was a big game swinger, when she could have tied it at 6-6, but I won to go up 7-5. She won a game and I won the next game to win the match.”

The finals between defending champion Bryant and Sone came within a game of going double hill, as well, but for the second time in a row, Bryant edged out in front at the end to win it 10-8 and claim the 2019 Blu-Emu Southern Open.

“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Bryant of the final match. “She broke and ran the opening game and we had a few safety battles. I was up 6-2 and she started to make a comeback.”

As with the semifinal match against Baretta, Sone had the opportunity to tie things up at 6-6.

“She missed a key 8-ball to tie it up (at 6-6),” she said, “so it was 7-5 and I won the next three.”

WPBA representatives thanked Janet Atwell and her Borderline Billiards staff for hosting the event, as well as sponsors Simonis Cloth, Aramith, Diamond Billiard Products and Outsville.com. The next WPBA event, scheduled for August 8-11, will be a $10,000-added Signature Event, to be held in Fairfield, IL. Further details will be available soon. Bryant said that she plans to be in attendance.

Kazakis Makes It Three In A Row At The Spot

Ruslan Chinakhov and Alex Kazakis (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Alex Kazakis made it “three in a row” with another undefeated run through the field at The Perfect Storm Open event at The Spot Billiards in Nanuet, NY on November 9th – 11th. 
 
After his undefeated run and victory over Tony Robles in the Grand Master’s division of the NYC 8-Ball Championship at Steinway Billiards on November 3rd – 4th, Kazakis then came from the one loss side to double dip James Aranas at the Sandcastle Billiards’ Player Relief Open 9-Ball event on November 8th. Kazakis kept up his winning ways over the weekend of November 9th – 11th with another undefeated run, this time in the Men’s Pro 10-Ball division at The Spot. 
 
Kazakis had wins over Ryan McCreesh, Mike Dechaine, RYan Lineham and then Ruslan Chinakhov for the hot-seat. On the one loss side, Chinakhov had a rematch with Casper Matikainen who had lost to Chinakhov in the first round. Chinakhov was successful again in the rematch, but still couldn’t get by Kazakis in the finals. 
 
The Men’s Pro event was only one of four events that took place at The Spot over the long weekend. A six player round robin Women’s Pro event saw Chezka Centeno come out on top of the field, with Kyoko Sone taking second. The Women’s Amateur division was won by Jia Li, who defeated Borana Andoni for the hot-seat and again in the finals. Finally, the Men’s Amateur division was won by Ryan Lineham, who defeated Mark Nanashee for the hot-seat and then Mhet Vergara in the finals. 
 
The Spot added $1000 to each Pro event and co-owner Lenore Donovan-Chen was appreciative of everyone for their help managing the different divisions and players on this weekend. She thanked event sponsors Pro Vapes Liquid and Clutch Shot Apparel, Upstate Al for streaming the event and Ariel Roy Francisco from Roy’s Basement for bringing his players out to support the event. 

China Open Day 1

Siming Chen

It is much too early in this event to pick any favorites so let’s just review the interesting match ups and resulting situations. Thorsten Hohmann is on the one-loss side early after losing his first match 9-5 to Yu Lung Chang.  Now he has to square off against Tomasz Kaplan to stay alive. Corey Deuel had a bad day against Chris Melling as he found himself on the wrong side of a final 9-2 score.

Rodney Morris is in a tough spot. He lost his second round match to Niels Feijen 9-3 and now must defeat former World Champion Karl Boyes in order to make it to the final bracket. Shane Van Boening is exhibiting his usual muscle as he pelted Le Hewen 9-1 to win his opener.

As of this moment four males have made it through to the final bracket. They are: Mika Immonen, Can Wang, Niels Feijen, and Khanh Nguyen.

On the ladies side Jennifer Barretta lost her first matche. She lost to Yichen Liu 7-4 and now awaits a match on the sudden-death side with Zhiting Wu. Allison Fisher won her first match 7-2 against Jing Wu and will next face Kyoko Sone.

Siming Chen and Xiao-Ting Pao will face one another at the end of the winners bracket in their group. The fans will get to watch two World 9-Ball Champions square off for the honor of remaining undefeated and a better seeding in the final group.

Kelly Fisher remains pristine as she won her first match 7-4 against Xinmei Liu and now will face Ziglan Wei for the opportunity too retain an unblemished record.

This is just the first day of the event and the players are working their way through the opening group stages to find their way into the final single-elimination chart. We should have the final charts possibly as early as Friday so check back often for news.

You may follow the event via live scoring at the WPA Website.

China Open First-Round Draw


The China Open begins on Thursday, June 5, and we have received the draw for the first round. Players that play one another in the first round are grouped together.

GROUP A

Thorsten Hohmann
Yu Lung Chang

Radoslaw Babica
Tomasz Kaplan

Seung Woo Ryu
Basher Hussain Abdul Majed

Hamzaa Saeed Ali
Ronglin Chang

GROUP B

Chris Melling
Corey Deuel

Robbie Foldvari
Shaun Wilkie

Xihe Zhu
Jurgen Jenisi

Abdullah Al Yousef
Pin-Yi Ko

GROUP C

Mika Immonen
Jin Hu Dang

Alejandro Carvajal
Jeffrey Ignacio

Phil Reilly
Meshaal Turki Al Ali

Warren Kiamco
Can Wang

Group D

Niels Feijen
Matthew Edwards

Rodney Morris
Johann Gonzales Chua

Jeremy Sossei
Oscar Dominguez

Khanh Hoang Nguyen
Karl Boyes

GROUP E

Carlo Biado
Hajato Hijikata

Mohamed Al Hosani
Ahmad Taufiq

Bing Jie Chu
Konstantin Stepanov

Albin Ouschan
John Morra

GROUP F

Dennis Orcollo
Mateusz Sniegocki

Brent Wells
Ralf Souquet

Daryl Peach
Jalal Yousef

Jason Klatt
Nick Ekonomopoulos

GROUP G

Darren Appleton
Hoang Quan Do

Nico Erasmus
Hunter Lombardo

Chi Dung Luong
Aloysius Yapp

Hewen Li
Shane Van Boening

GROUP H

Jiaqing Wu
Yong Dai

Karol Skowerski
Zbynek

Haitoa Liu
Kenny Kwok

Takhti Zarekani
Lee Van Corteza

The draw for the Women’s Division is:

GROUP A

Han Yu
BYE

Yichen Liu
Jennifer Barretta

Charlene Huey
Zhiting Wu

BYE
Jasmin Ouschan

GROUP B

Allison Fisher
BYE

Huyen This Ngoc
Jing Wu

Kyoko Sone
Mariya Levova

BYE
Yuan-Chun Lin

GROUP C

Siming Chen
BYE

Jiao Ma
Shu Wah Hoe

Qiuyue Ren
Iris Ranola

BYE
Xiao-Ting Pan

GROUP D

Xiao-Fang FU
BYE

Narantuya Bayarsaikhan
Kristina Zlateve

Nataliya Seroshtan
Ana Mazhirina

BYE
Sha Sha Liu

GROUP E

Rubilen Amit
BYE

Akami Kajatani
Joanne Ashton

Tianqi Shit
Bai Ge

BYE
Chichiro Kawahara

GROUP F

Ga Young Kim
BYE

Xiaotong Wang
Moirudee Kasemchaiyanan

Brittany Bryant
Meng Gao

BYE
Chieh-Yu Chou

GROUP G

Pei Chen Tsai
BYE

Szu-Ting Kuo
Judy Walia

Emily Duddy
Sijia Wang

BYE
Yu Ram Cha

GROUP H

Ziglan Wei
BYE

Carlynn Sanchez
Katarzyna Wesolowska

Xinmei Liu
Xin Run He

BYE
Kelly Fisher

 

Taiwan Army: Japan Dark Horse Heroes

Chinese Taipei’s Pei Chen “Penny” Tsai is looking to improve on her Silver Medal from last year

Manila, Philippines-  If anyone thought Taiwan has lost any of its touch as one of women’s pool dominating forces, you would be seriously mistaken. Out of the 9 players Taiwan started with in the Yalin World Championship group stages, a staggering 8 have qualified through. Taiwan had 3 spots into Stage 2, and sent a small army of 7 Chinese Taipei ladies to the qualifiers in Manila at Star Billiards. 6 of the seven ladies won their tournament to enter the final group stage of the main event. It is an incredible stat when comparing to Europe who sent 9 women into the main stage (not the qualifiers) and only 2 remain.

Twenty four players remain in the event making the halfway cut. The army of Taiwanese women is taking up 1/3 the field left includes : CHOU, Chieh-Yu; TSAI, Pei Chen; YUAN, Chun Lin; L. H. SHAN ; Y. T. CHAN – ; H. Y. TAN -; H. C. LIN ; T. C. WEI 

The Dragon Promotions produced 4th Annual Yalin Women’s World 10-Ball Championship is the most followed women’s event of the year. In the host country of the Philippines, it is the biggest female sporting event of the country. The event is supported by Asian table mammoth Yalin Billiards, advanced cue engineer OB Cues, long lasting Championship Tour Edition Cloth, top playing Aramith Balls, and #1 TV network broadcaster ABS-CBN. Star Billiards and Pool & Billiard Magazine are also proud supporters. This year’s edition will take place August 20th-24th once again at Robinson’s Galleria Mall, which has now become synonymous for creating the dynamic atmosphere of the coveted championship. Robinson’s Galleria is connected to the host hotel Crowne Plaza Galleria. With massive media and global networks covering the Yalin Women’s World 10-Ball Championship, it will continue as still the biggest and most watched women’s billiard event in the world. 

Japan also hasn’t escaped the attention of the event. Though not winning any of the top spots in the group stages, Japan has managed to maintain 3 players into the final cut of the event. Ironically, all three players are qualifier winners with Japan’s top Stage 2 women eliminated early in the round robin stage. Kyoko Sone, Kimura Maki, and Akimi Kajitani will carry the Japanese flag into the final stage of the event. Kajitani is the most successful of the women left, a former Bronze finisher in the 2009 World 10-Ball Championship.

As of yet, no Japanese woman has ever won a World Championship in pocket billiards. These three ladies have earned their shot in changing that in the next 48 hours.

This is the biggest women’s sporting event of the year in the Philippines, with the host country featuring the best players from Italy, Japan, China, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, India, Iran, Netherlands, Sweden, Venezuela, England, Norway, Taiwan, Austria, and Singapore.

Follow the ladies at  http://www.facebook.com/womensworld10ball  For more info email womensworld10ball@gmail.com Complete info and news  visit  http://www.yalin.cn/ 
Results and brackets can be found at www.womensworld10ball.com   

An elite 48 world class pros and international women superstars are fighting it out in Manila. With the one goal in mind: to become the World Champion of 10-Ball.

An Epic Worthy of A Final

Kim, Fisher, Photo courtesy of Pan Yulong

(Shenyang, China)–Korea’s Ga Young Kim and Great Britain’s Kelly Fisher are two giant names in today’s world of women’s professional pool. And today, as the 2012 Women’s World 9-ball Championship entered the knockout stages, the two put on a show that will surely enhance their reputations many fold for years to come.

Kim is a two time former world 9-ball champion and US Open champion who  lights up arenas wherever she plays. Besides her prodigious talents on the table, Kim is about as good an ambassador as the sport will ever find. In addition to her native tongue, she speaks fluent Chinese and English. And her looks, charm and fashion sense are impeccable.

With her rugged looks and style, world number 2 Fisher can appear at first to be almost the antithesis of Kim. But the affable Brit is just as deadly on the pitch, and just as nice off of it.

So when the two met up today in the round of 32 inside the ultra hip Richgate Shopping Center here in Shenyang, the match had the feel of a finals showdown.  For some reason the organizers decided not to put this match on the TV table, and instead stuck the pair in the very back of the 2nd floor trade hall where all the outside table matches have been played.  Perhaps it was just as well because the barebones setting gave the match the feel of a back alley brawl, which is what it turned out to be.

The few dozen fans squeezed into the small space who watched the pair slug it out will not soon forget what they saw. Both players, who know each other’s games well,  played their usual manner of fast and aggressive pool. And they combined that fan-friendly style by playing just about as perfect as one could play over the course of 17 racks.

Up early, Kim, fiery and intense, continually repulsed every effort by Fisher to grab the lead. Along the way,  Kim continually pushed her lead up then always saw it shrink back again. The pair executed one amazing shot after the next, as if the contest was a great heavyweight fight of years past, where every bomb was answered with another bomb back.   Stellar banks, pots off kicks, lock down safeties, great escapes, you name it; this was championship 9-ball at its best.

Eventually Kim found herself on the hill, up 8-6. But Fisher would have the last laugh, as she pounced on Kim’s one missed shot in the match, in the last rack, and took a 9-8 win, to move into the final 16.

“That was one of the best matches I’ve ever played,“ an obviously ecstatic and relieved Fisher said afterward. “The standard was so high. I had to play that good to beat her because when she’s on fire, she’ll kill me. She has in the past.”

Fisher has to like her chances as the world championship heads into the last two days, but with the quality of the field remaining, she knows the deal.

“Just give 100% and hope that the luck is on my side,” she said. “I can win here. But this is 9-ball and anything can happen. I just have to take it one match at a time.”

Fisher will now face the lone American entry in this year’s championship, Monica Webb,  on Wednesday. Webb came off the losers side in the group stages today and took down China’s Bai Ge in the round of 32, 9-4 in a fairly sloppy match.

The remaining two days are shaping up to be a fascinating slugfest of epic proportions as the race to the world title intensifies. Unlike last year where the Chinese had already taken over by the final 16, this year the remaining field is much more varied; six Chinese, four Taiwanese, two Brits, 2 Japanese, 1 Korean and 1 American.

China had 33 players in the field of 64 but the six remaining are all capable of taking the title. 18 year old Chen Siming looks like she is going to be very difficult to stop. First out on the TV table today, world number 1 Chen demolished former world champion Shin Mei Lui of Tawain, 9-3.  2010 World 9-ball Champion Fu Xiao Fang, and 2009 World 9-ball Champion Liu Shasha  also looked ready for glory as they easily won their matches.

One of the surprises of the day came when Japan’s Sone Kyoko shocked the home town fans by defeating defending champion Bi Zhu Qing of China 9-7 on the TV table. Kyoko will join compatriot Chichiro Kawahara in the round of 16 after Kawahara easily beat the Philippines’ Rubilen Amit, 9-2.

Hall of Famer and four time world 9-ball champion Allison Fisher made it a bummer of a day for the Philippines, as she knocked out Iris Ranola, 9-6.

The contingent from Taiwan is looking very strong so far, especially 2008 World 9-ball champion Lin Yuan Chun and two time and current Amway champion Chou Chieh Yu, who both advanced today.

Two dark horses fans should look out for are Korea’s Park Eunji and China’s Yu Han. Yu made it to last year’s semi-final where she barely lost to Chen Siming. Yu is quietly playing strong pool and can beat anyone in the field.  Park is surely a bit of a longer shot but this stylish young lady seems to have a knack for finding the finish line.

The round of 16 begins Wednesday in Shenyang at 10am local time(GMT +8). The field will be down to four after tomorrow’s play. The semi-finals and finals will take place on Thursday June 21. The winner will receive $40,000 while the runner up gets a check worth $20,000. The total prize fund is $160,000.

The WPA will be providing full coverage of all the action from the 2012 Women’s World 9-ball Championship in Shenyang on our website,www.wpapool.com. There you can get all the latest updates with live scoring of all matches, articles offering insights and analysis, updated brackets and photos. Fans around the world can also follow the tournament via the WPA Twitter feed, @poolwpa.

Round of 16 Matches
Wednesday June, 20, 2012
Race to 9, Alternate Break

Chen Siming(CHN) vs. Chichiro Kawahara(JPN)
Lin Yuan Chun(TPE) vs.Fu Xiao Fang(CHN)
Yu Han(CHN) vs. Li Jia(CHN)
Tsai Pei Chen(TPE) vs. Shou Chieh Yu(TPE)
Sone Kyoko(JPN) vs. Park Eunji(KOR)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) vs. Monica Webb(USA)
Allison Fisher(GBR) vs. Tan Ho Yun(TPE)
Chen Xue(CHN) vs. Lui Shasha(CHN)

 
Day 2 Results, Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Round of 32 Knockout Stage. Race to 9, Alternate Break

Chou Chieh Yu(TPE) 9 – 7 Lin Hsiao Chi(TPE)
Li Jia(CHN) 9 – 4 Han Fang(CHN)
Lin Yuan Chun(TPE) 9 – 4 Line Kjorsvik(NOR)
Chen Siming(CHN) 9 – 3 Liu Shin Mei(TPE)
Yu Han(CHN) 9 – 4 Ren Qiuyue(CHN)
Fu Xiao Fang(CHN) 9 – 4 Wei Tzu Chien(TPE)
Chichiro Kawahara(JPN) 9 – 2 Rubelin Amit(PHI)
Tsai Pei Chen(TPE) 9 – 5 Lai Hui Shan(TPE)
Kelly Fisher(GBR) 9 – 8 Ga Young Kim(KOR)
Monica Webb(USA) 9 – 4 Bai Ge(CHN)
Sone Kyoko(JPN) 9 – 7 Bi Zhu Qing(CHN)
Park Eunji(KOR) 9 – 5 Angeline Ticoalu(INA)
Lui Shasha(CHN) 9 – 4 Wu Jina(CHN)
Allison Fisher(GBR) 9 – 6 Iris Ranola(PHI)
Tan Ho Yun(TPE) 9 – 5 Caroline Roos(SWE)
Chen Xue(CHN) 9 – 5 Marika Poikkijoki(FIN)

 1st Session. Losers Bracket. Winner is through to final 32, loser is out

Group A
Wei Tzu Chien(TPE) 7 – 0 Jing Siya(CHN)
Li Jia(CHN) 7 – 2 Liu Yichen(CHN)

Group B
Ren Qiuyue(CHN) 7 – 5 Masami Nouchi(JPN)
Kim Ga Young(KOR) 7 – 2 Chan Ya Ting(TPE)

Group C
Iris Ranola(PHI) 7 – 6 Charlene Zhai Zeet Huey(SIN)
Angeline Ticoalu(INA) 7 – 2 Keiko Yukawa(JPN)

Group D
Kyoko Sone(JPN) 7 – 4 Sylvia Lopez(ESP)
Marika Poikkijoki(FIN) 7 – 6 Jung Bo Ra(KOR)

Group E
Caroline Roos(SWE) 7 – 2 Junko Tsuchiya(JPN)
Monica Webb(USA) 7 – 5 Wu Zhiting(TPE)

Group F
Line Kjorsvik(NOR) 7 – 6 Zhou, Doudou(CHN)
Lin Hsiao Chi(TPE) 7 – 5 Kaori Ebe(JPN)

Group G
Tsai Pei Chen(TPE) 7- 1 Gao Meng(CHN)
Liu Sha Sha(CHN) 7 – 3 Akimi Kajatani(JPN)

Group H
Liu Shin Mei(TPE) 7 – 5 Zheng Xiaochun(CHN)
Kawahara, Chichiro(JPN) 7 – 4 Liu Liying(CHN)

WPBA Masters Round Two Results

 

MT. PLEASANT, MI –  The WPBA Masters 9-Ball Championship wound up play tonight with completion of Round Two. Losing players in both rounds begin competition at 11 a.m. Friday in the one-loss bracket. Winners of the Round Two matches play at 3 and 6 p.m. Friday. Grand Ledge, Michigan's Vicki Paski upset top 8 ranked Brittany Bryant to join fellow Hall of Famers Allison Fisher, Karen Corr and newly inducted Jeanette Lee in the final sixteen.

ROUND TWO RESULTS
Allison Fisher d. Julie Kelly 9-2
Dawn Hopkins d. Cathy Metzinger 9-5
Vicki Paski d. Brittany Bryant 9-6
Helena Thornfeldt d. Jessica Karacia-Human 9-2
Jasmin Ouschan d. Eleanor Callado 9-3
Melissa Little d. Vivian Villarreal 9-7
Monica Webb d. Kelly Cavanaugh 9-3
Kim White Newsome d. Eve Stockstill 9-7
Jeanette Lee d. Teruko Cucculelli 9-2
Jennifer Chen d. Hiroko Makiyama 9-3
Karen Corr d. Sara Miller 9-3
Joanne Ashton d. Line Kjorsvik 9-8
Ga Young Kim d. Maureen Seto 9-3
Jana Montour d. Emily Duddy 9-3

ESPN3
For the first time in the history of the Women’s Pro Billiard Tour, the entire semi final and final matches will run LIVE on ESPN3, beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans can head to http://www.wpba.com for more info and tournament brackets, or visit the link direct at http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/817665/wpba-masters.

WPBA Masters Sponsors
Auto-Owners joins WPBA Masters sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Iwan Simonis Cloth, Aramith pro balls, Delta-13 (racks) and online gameroom supplier Pooldawg in sponsoring this historic event on the 2013 Women’s Pro Billiard Tour.
 
Tickets
Tickets are available via startickets.com or the Soaring Eagle Box office at 888-726-9633. 

WPBA Masters First Round Draws

The Women’s Professional Billiard Association’s (WPBA) top players have arrived in northern Michigan to compete in the WPBA Masters at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort. The WPBA Masters 9-Ball Championship kicks off the 2012 Women’s Pro Billiard Tour season and the first round of competition begins at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 26, 2012.  

Here is the first round schedule. (Note, the 16 winners will compete against the tournament’s top 16 seeds in round two, while the losers move to the one-loss side of the tournament chart.) To view the chart and ongoing results, visit www.wpba.com and click on “2012 Soaring Eagle Tournament Board.”
 
11:00 a.m.
Emily Duddy vs. Jacqui Herrera (winner plays Ga Young Kim at 6 p.m.)
Dawn Hopkins vs. Emilyn Callado (winner plays Gerda Hofstatter at 6 p.m.)
Val Finnie vs. Jessica Barnes (winner plays Ewa Laurance at 6 p.m.)
Susan Williams vs. Joanne Ashton (winner plays Cathy Metzinger at 6 p.m.)
Liz Cole vs. Cheryl Pritchard (winner plays Karen Corr at 6 p.m.)
Belinda Calhoun vs. Teresa Gifford (winner plays Brittany Bryant at 6 p.m.)
 
1:00 p.m.
Erica Park vs. Janet Atwell (winner plays Helena Thornfeldt at 8 p.m.)
Laura Smith vs. Barbara Lee (winner plays Jasmin Ouschan at 8 p.m.)
Morgan Steinman vs. Lonnie Fox (winner plays Nicole Keeney at 8 p.m.)
Jennifer Chen vs. Jana Montour (winner plays Kelly Fisher at 8 p.m.)
Eleanor Callado vs. Tina Hess (winner plays Line Kjorsvik at 8 p.m.)
 
3:00 p.m. 
Naomi Williams vs. Rebecca Wagner (winner plays Allison Fisher at 10 p.m.)
Maureen Seto vs. Vicki Paski (winner plays Jennifer Barretta at 10 p.m.)
Melissa Little vs. Angel Paglia (winner plays Jeanette Lee at 10 p.m.)
Kyoko Sone vs. Erin McManus (winner plays Tamara Peeters at 10 p.m.) 
 
There will be two sessions of play each day. The tournament will conclude on Sunday, January 29 beginning at 1 p.m., when the final four players remaining will compete for the title of 2012 WPBA Masters Champion. These three final-round one-hour matches will be taped by ESPN for future television broadcasts. Tickets are available via startickets.com. 
 
Alongside the WPBA Masters is the Soaring Eagle Open III, featuring amateur singles 8-Ball and 9-Ball tournaments in men and women’s divisions, with $10,000 in added prize money. This event also begins Thursday, January 26 and continues through Sunday, January 29, 2012. Visit www.soaringeagleopen.com for more information.

Amway Cup Day Three

Kelly Fisher

Day three at the 2011 Amway Cup was not kind to the home players as seven of the eight players from the host country of Taipei were eliminated. The sole remaining hope for Taipei in this event is Hui Shan Lai who defeated 2009 Champion Chieh Yu Chou on Saturday 7-6. Chou was running out for the victory at 6-6, when a missed 8-ball was the end of her campaign. Lai will face China's Xiao Fang Fu in the final eight.

Allison Fisher made quick work of Japan's Kyoko Sone on Saturday and Fisher played almost perfect pool in missing only one ball in her 7-0 win over Sone.

Women's World 10-Ball Champion Jasmin Ouschan is also looking strong after a 7-3 win over Yu Han and then a 7-6 win over 2009 World Champion Sha Sha Liu. Ouschan will face Fisher in the final eight.

Reigning Champion Yu Ram Cha has already accomplished something that has never been done before. A defending champion has never made the final eight in the year following a victory in this event. Cha whitewashed fellow Korean Yun Mi Lim 7-0 and then defeated 2008 Champion Yuan Chun Lin 7-2.

Cha's opponent in the final eight will be the same player she played in the finals last year; 2010 Female player of the year Ga Young Kim.

A champion in this event will be crowned on Sunday and you can follow all of the action at the official website.