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Kelly Fisher comes from the loss side to down Tzu-Chien Wei at WPBA’s Aramith/DR Classic

Kelly Fisher

Kelly Fisher came to Rothschild, WI on the long weekend of November 20-24 in search of her first 2019 win and knew almost immediately that she might need to defeat some adversaries she’d faced before. There were, at the WPBA’s Aramith/DR Pool Classic, the usual array of suspects in that regard; Allison Fisher, Jasmine Ouschan, Jennifer Baretta, LoreeJon Hasson, Janet Atwell and Line Kjorsvik, to name just a few. And though she wouldn’t have to face China’s Siming Chen, who did not compete and who’d defeated her in the finals of the WPBA Masters last February in Michigan, she knew she might have to face Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Chien Wei, whom she’d defeated in the semifinals of that WPBA Masters and then, been defeated by in the semifinals of August’s Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa. She did face Wei this time around, twice as it turned out, losing the first, but coming back from the loss side to win the second and claim the event title. The $20,000-added event drew 48 entrants to the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center in Rothschild.

The importance of chalking up her first win of the year at this event was not lost on Fisher. As a professional, she’s not inclined to dwell on a given event’s individual importance, lest it interfere with the game(s) at hand, but having been on the mend since surgeries sidelined her for a few years, she was getting a little antsy.

“I was getting a worried for a moment there,” she said. “I’d had numerous semifinal wins (since last May; 3, to be exact), so I’m very pleased to have gotten this title.”

“I’m finally feeling that my game is back to where it was a few years ago,” she added.

Fisher was one of 16 seeded competitors who were awarded opening round byes, as the other 32 squared off against each other. Fisher drew Shanelle Loraine out of that original 32, defeated her and joined 12 other players who’d been awarded opening round byes in advancement to the third round. Only Gerda Gregerson, Melissa Little, Line Kjorsvik and Jenna Bishoff from that group of 16 seeded, went to the loss side, sent by (in order) Jeannie Seaver, Dawn Hopkins, Jasmin Ouschan and Teruko Cucculleli.

Fisher went on to defeat Monica Webb 8-1and then survived a double hill battle versus Jennifer Baretta to draw Tzu-Chien Wei in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jasmin Oushchan, in the meantime, got by Joanne Ashton 8-1, survived her own double hill battle versus Kjorsvik, and downed Dawn Hopkins 8-2 to pick up Jia Li.

Wei defeated Fisher 8-5 and in the hot seat, faced Ouschan, who’d sent Li to the loss side 8-4. A double hill battle ensued for possession of the hot seat. Wei prevailed, sending Ouschan off to a second straight, double hill semifinal matchup against Fisher.

Over on the loss side, there were some top-notch matches brewing as the tournament’s elites moved toward picking up Fisher and Jia Li, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. After losing to Jeannie Seaver in the second round, Gerda Gregerson embarked on a six-match, loss-side streak that saw her eliminate Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Catherine Tschumper and, moving into the early money rounds, Caroline Pao and Emily Duddy. She went on to down Brittany Bryant 8-5 and young Atlantic Cup Challenge competitor, April Larson 8-4 to draw Li.

Fisher drew Tamara Peeters, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak of her own and fresh off something of an 8-1 upset over Teruko Cucculleli. Cucculleli had defeated Allison Fisher on the winners’ side, before being sent over by Jia Li in a winners’ side quarterfinal. She proceeded to eliminate Jessica Barnes, Beth Fondell and jumped into the money pool with an 8-4 win over Loree Jon Hasson. She downed Gail Eaton and Dawn Hopkins, both 8-6 and then, eliminated Cucculleli to reach Fisher.

Fisher gave up only a single rack to Peeters in advancing to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Jia Li, who’d sent Gregerson home 8-6. Fisher won a second straight 8-1 match, eliminating Li 8-1.

That little 16-2 run wasn’t destined to last, as Fisher squared off against Jasmin Ouschan in the semifinals. It was Ouschan’s second straight double hill match, and proved to be the second one in a row that she lost.

With lingering echoes of previous matchups and a nagging little voice that kept telling her that since she’d earned herself a second chance against Tzu-Chien Wei, she’d damn well better take advantage of it, Fisher launched into the finals, in search of her first 2019 win. There are, she noted, generalities about such endeavors, and specifics, related to particular opponents. You have to play ‘your game,’ regardless of opponent, while awareness of specific opponents can inform decisions about approach.

“My main thing,” said Fisher, “is to come out of the gate strong, to keep control of the table.”

“Looking back at previous matches against Wei,” she added, “it was about not allowing her to come back. She’s capable of coming back from behind, so I knew once I had (the lead), I had to keep it.”

As noted in a Biblical proverb – “The heart of Man (Woman) plans his/her way, but the Lord establishes his/her steps.” Fisher lost the opening four racks and immediately switched roles to become the person “capable of coming back from behind.” She allowed Wei only one more rack, before she chalked up 10 to claim that first 2019 title.

“I’ve been practicing quite hard,” she said a few days later from her home in Scotland. “It came down to being patient. I knew I was close (to getting back into previous form), and that there was room to grow.

“I want to win the big ones,” she added, “and it really is just a matter of practice.”

She’ll spend a few days at home, more than likely find time to do some of that practice and then head for China and competition in the 2019 Women’s World 9-Ball Championships, to be held from December 13-20.

WPBA representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiards Products, Aramith, Outsville and Simonis Cloth.

Ouschan and Filler Lead Female Entries to US Open 9-Ball Championship

Jasmin Ouschan (JP Parmentier – Matchroom Multisport)

Women’s Eurotour stars Jasmin Ouschan and Pia Filler are the first two female players to have entered the 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship, which will take place at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Convention Center from April 13-18.
 
Ouschan recently won her 17th Eurotour title at the Predator Women’s Veldhoven Open and is no stranger to the Matchroom Pool TV stage having previously represented Austria at the World Cup of Pool.
Filler was in husband Joshua’s corner as he landed his first US Open 9-Ball Championship success in April and such was the magnitude of the event she knew she had to take part in 2020.
 
“It will be amazing to participate in the biggest pool event in the world and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Filler. “It is going to be a great experience for my career and it will help me to improve and develop my game.
 
“The US Open was definitely the best event of 2019 so far but everybody who knows the Matchroom crew knows it’s going to be even better and bigger in 2020! Chen Siming performed really well in this year’s US Open and she showed the whole world that women can! This should be a good motivation to all the female players out there to train hard and show it to everybody.
 
“If female players start to participate in big events such as the US Open we can show everybody how good we can play it could be a new era for women’s pool.”
 
Emily Frazer, COO of Matchroom Multi Sport, said: “It’s a great standpoint to already have world-class female players like Pia Filler and Jasmin Ouschan excited and registered for the US Open 2020.
 
“Just four women participated in the event earlier this year but Siming Chen showed an impressive journey throughout – giving women the inspiration to enter in what is the biggest and most prestigious multi-table event in pool industry. Both Kelly Fisher and Han Yu earned their place in the World Pool Masters this March with close and tense matches; it’s time that women competed among men in these global events and there is no greater fulfilment than seeing the confidence shine through from the likes of Ouschan and Filler.
 
“It’s race to 11, winner breaks, 40-second shot clock and a tough grind; who says female players don’t have a chance to go far in this event? Let’s hope this sparks more women to register because the 256 field will sell out, I guarantee that!”
 
Player entries for the 2020 Open 9-Ball Championship are open now at www.matchroompool.com. Player entry fees remain at $1,000 and former champions receive free entry to the event. After sold-out crowds, record TV ratings and a full field of 256 players for the 2019 US Open 9-Ball Championship, players are encouraged to enter the 2020 Championship early to avoid disappointment.
 
Prize money payouts will start from 97th place, with players reaching this stage receiving $1,000. Those who successfully progress from the double elimination stage will earn at least $5,000 with quarter-finalists taking home $7,750, semi-finalists earning $15,000 and the runner-up to be paid $30,000.
 
Spectator tickets for the 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship will go on sale on Friday, September 13th with full details including pricing to be announced shortly.
 
The 2020 US Open 9-Ball Championship will be partnered by Diamond, who supply the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip. The US Open 9-Ball Championship is sanctioned by the WPA.

Reincarnation Of Pool Major Begins In Vegas

Si Ming Chen

The 43rd partypoker US Open 9-Ball Championship broke off at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas on Sunday as a 256-player field of the world’s elite pool players began their quest to land one of billiard’s biggest titles.
 
The reincarnation of one of pool’s oldest majors, now promoted by Matchroom Multi Sport, began at 9am with 33 tables breaking in unison. Among the first to move to the winners’ side of the tournament was reigning champion Jayson Shaw, who got his tournament off to the perfect start with an 11-0 dismantling of German Marcus Westen.
 
Later in the day Shaw defeated fellow Brit Tom Staveley while American No.1 Shane Van Boening is also still going on the winners’ side as is the tournament’s highest-ranked female player, Siming Chen of China.
 
But there were a wave of early casualties as seeded players including previous US Open Champions Mika Immonen and Kevin Cheng fell into the losers’ side of the tournament. World Pool Masters winner David Alcaide and Mosconi Cup winners Skyler Woodward and Tyler Styer also have just one life left in this double elimination format and must now win eight consecutive matches to make the last-16 stage of the event.
 
The tournament feature table, streamed live at Facebook.com/USOpen9Ball, ended with a classic between two American legends as Dennis Hatch and Earl Strickland battled out a hill-hill thriller before The Hatchetman delivered a decisive blow to knock ‘The Pearl’ over to the losers’ side of the brackets.
 
Play continues at 9am local time on Tuesday. The US Open is split into two stages with the full field playing double elimination down to the final 16 from Sunday, April 21 until Tuesday April 23. From Wednesday April 24 until Friday April 26 the final 16 players will play straight knockout in the Diamond Arena with global television coverage including Sky Sports and DAZN.
 
All matches at the partypoker US Open 9-Ball Championship are race to 11, winner breaks, except the final which is race to 13. The draw and match schedule for the first stage of the tournament is available now at www.matchroompool.com.
 
Players are playing for their share of a $300,000 tournament purse. The winner will take home $50,000, the famous US Open green jacket and the newly-commissioned Barry Behrman trophy.
 
Tickets for the 43rd partypoker US Open 9-Ball Championship are still available at www.matchroompool.com from as little as $10 with VIP packages also available for the final three days of the tournament.

Tkach downs defending champ Corr, wins SBE Women’s 9-Ball Pro Players Championship

Kristina Tkach (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

The first time that Russia’s Kristina Tkach showed up on the AZBilliards’ database radar was almost exactly five years ago (April 12, 2014) when she finished as runner-up to Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan at a stop on the EuroTour; the Dynamic Billiard North Cyprus Open. Ouschan played the proverbial ‘lights out’ at that tournament, giving up only seven racks over six matches and none at all to Tkach in the finals. At the time, Tkach was 15 years old. Later that same year, Tkach won the European Girls Championship in 8-ball. Two years later, she came back to that North Cyprus Open and came from the loss side to win it. She also went on that year to win all three disciplines of the European Girls Championships (10-ball, 9-ball & 8-ball), all on the same weekend. In her best recorded earnings year, to date (2018), she chalked up three wins on the EuroTour.

This year, she showed up on US payout lists, with an appearance at the Derby City Classic, at which she cashed in the 9-Ball Division (47th) and 9-Ball Banks (91st). In February, she finished 7th at the WPBA Masters at which she ended up as one of the loss-side competitors to fall victim to Kelly Fisher, who, at the time, was working on a nine-match, loss-side winning streak that would eventually put her into the finals for an unsuccessful rematch against Siming Chen.

In the ‘what have you done for me lately’ department of the pool world, Tkach came to the 2019 Super Billiards Expo (March 28-31) at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and went undefeated through a field of 47, on-hand for the Expo’s Diamond Women’s 9-Ball Pro Players Championship. Along the way, in the event semifinals, she eliminated the event’s defending champion, Karen Corr, who ended up winning more racks against her (6) than any of Tkach’s previous opponents, or her finals opponent, Sarah Rousey.

The Diamond Women’s Pro Players Championships were, of course, only one of 11 events at the SBE, including the 27th Annual Allen Hopkins’ Super Billiards Expo’s Diamond Open 10-Ball Pro Players Championships, the results of which have been posted in a separate article. Details about the ProAm Bar Box Championships and highlights of the varied Amateur events will be posted here in a third report.

Starting at the end, so to speak, it should be noted that while Tkach pocketed (pursed?) $5,000 and, like James Aranas in the 10-Ball Pro Players event, a Waterford crystal trophy, valued somewhere in the vicinity of $500, the trophy never made it to Tkach’s transportation out of the Expo Center. According to reports, the trophy came in two pieces; a base and its crystal bowl. As it was being carried out to a vehicle in preparation for Tkach’s exit from the Expo Center, the box it was in, was dropped, shattering the bowl into the proverbial ‘million pieces.’ The box was being carried by a member of Ms. Tkach’s entourage, who, according to varied reports initiated immediate plans to have the bowl replaced.

Tkach’s trip to the winners’ circle was handled with much more dexterity. As with the 10-Ball Pro Players, the 47 women were organized into an original, double elimination bracket, out of which emerged a final group of 16 (8 from the winners’ side and 8 from the loss side). The final 16 moved into two winners’ and losers’ side, single elimination brackets.

Tkach was not afforded the luxury of ‘easy going’ in her opening rounds. She first drew J. Pechauer Northeast Womens Tour director and always-dangerous Linda Shea. A 9-4 win in that opening round led to a match against Dawn Fox, who’d been awarded a bye in the opening round. Tkach downed Fox by the same 9-4 score, and then defeated Stacie Bourbeau 9-3 to become one of the eight winners’ side’s Final 8. Also advancing to the Final 16 from the winners’ side were Karen Corr, Kim Shaw, Kelly Wyatt, April Larson, Dawn Hopkins, Briana Miller and Kelly Isaac.

Meanwhile, on the loss side, Tkach’s eventual opponent in the finals, Sarah Rousey, earned her spot on the losers’ side’s final 8, when she defeated Kim Whitman 9-4. Rousey, who fell ill, temporarily, before her final winners’ side match against Kelly Wyatt, was forced to forfeit that winners’ side match. Joining Rousey from the losers’ side were Dawn Fox, Veronique Menard, Lai Li, Stacie Bourbeau, Tara Williams, Nathalie Chabot and Kaylin Wikoff.

The winners’ side single elimination bracket set Tkach and Corr onto a collision course that would end in the winners’ side final. Tkach downed Kelly Isaac 11-4 and Briana Miller 11-3 to draw Corr in those semifinals. Corr eliminated Kim Shaw 11-7 and April Larson 11-8 to face Tkach.

In the winners’ side finals that followed, Tkach chalked up more racks against Corr than all of Corr’s first three opponents combined; Tkach 11, Corr’s first three 8. Corr had won just over 77% of the games she played in three double elimination matches, (27-8), but entering the finals, only 59% of the two games she’d played in the single elimination phase. Tkach, by comparison, had a lower winning percentage than Corr in her double elimination matches (71%; 27-11), but in her two single-elimination matches, prior to meeting Corr, she’d won just under 76% of the  games (22-7). When the winners’ side final (event semifinal) was over, won by Tkach 11-6, Tkach advanced to the finals with a 71% game-winning percentage. Corr was eliminated, having won 62% of her games.

On to Sarah Rousey, who, on the loss side, had defeated Dawn Fox, Veronique Menard and in the loss-side bracket final, Tara Williams 11-5. She came into the finals having won 65% of her games, overall (60-32). That percentage was 71% through the first two matches (she’d forfeited the third match) and 61% in the three loss-side matches.

As happened in the 10-Ball Pro Players event, the SBE’s Web site failed to record the fact that a match between Kristina Tkach and Sarah Rousey happened at all. As noted in the earlier 10-Ball Pro Player report, a final did, in fact occur. Tkach gave up only four games in the race-to-11 finals to claim the event title, which, according to our records is her first major event victory here in the US.

China’s Siming Chen gets by Britain’s Kelly Fisher twice to win 2019 WPBA Masters

Kelly Fisher and Siming Chen (Photo courtesy of WPBA)

In what proved to be her best recorded earnings year, to date (2017), China’s 24-year-old Siming Chen won five major events between March and November, opening with a win at the Amway Cup in Chinese Tapei, followed by victories in the China Open (June), the Dynamic Klagenfurt (part of the Euro Tour in Austria; Oct.)  and a week apart in November, the Women’s World 9-Ball Championships (Nov. 8-11) and the All-Japan Women’s Championship (Nov. 16-26).
 
In the Women’s World 9-Ball Championships that year, there was only one competitor among the top eight finishers who was not from China or Chinese Taipei. That lone competitor, who finished in the four-way tie for 5th place was Britain’s Kelly Fisher. Five months earlier, Fisher had finished in the four-way tie for 5th place at the China Open, sharing the spot with Chihiro Kawahara (Japan), Rubilen Amit (Philippines) and Xiao-Ting Pan (China).
 
And this is just that one year, her best recorded earnings year, to date. Chen’s been winning money on the international pool scene since 2009, when she was 16. All this, by way of an introduction to who she is – the #1-ranked female pool player in the world right now – and why, to no one’s surprise, she went undefeated through a field of 64 entrants to win the 2019 WPBA Masters, held from February 27-March 3 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant, MI. Also to no one’s surprise, Kelly Fisher recovered from an early round loss to Chen and fought back though nine matches on the loss side to face her a second time in the finals.
 
It’s not unusual for fans of the billiard sports to be more keenly attuned to players from their own countries and/or players who compete regularly in their country. We here in the US of A are aware of many female competitors who are not native to this country, but are well-known by virtue of their presence competing (and in some cases, living) here. Allison Fisher (Britain), Karen Corr (Ireland), Kelly Fisher (England), Ga Young Kim (South Korea), and Jasmin Ouschan (Austria), as just a few examples of those who competed at this year’s WPBA Masters. The home-grown female talent on hand was larger and made its presence known, just not for as long, as the visiting competitors flexed their considerable muscle and advanced toward the finals.
 
Jennifer Baretta made it to a winners’ side semifinal (right after defeating Janet Atwell), and made it to the quarterfinals before giving way to Kelly Fisher. Gerda (Hoffstater) Gregerson, a member of the WPBA Hall of Fame, originally from Austria, later from Sweden and currently residing in Charlotte, NC made it to a winners’ side quarterfinal against Siming Chen.
 
Siming Chen’s trip started with the proverbial bang, as she shut out Indiana’s Tonya Wiser and then ran right into Kelly Fisher for the first, though not the last time. Chen gave up only a single rack to Fisher in their first meeting and then defeated Billie Billing 9-1 to arrive at her winners’ side quarterfinal match against Gregerson. A 9-3 victory over Gregerson gave Chen a 36-5 game winning record moving into her winners’ side semifinal match against Jennifer Baretta.
 
Chinese Tapei’s Tzu Chien Wei, in the meantime, who’d cashed in three of the four events won by Siming Chen back in 2017, worked her way through a slightly more resistant field of competitors, downing Caroline Pao 9-2 in her opening match, and Jessica Barnes 9-3 in her second. She then survived a double hill battle against 20-year-old Russian Kristina Tkach to sport a 27-13 game record, going into her winners’ side semifinal match against Allison Fisher.
 
Chen advanced to the hot seat match with a 9-2 win over Baretta, as Wei defeated Fisher 9-5 to join her. Chen claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Wei and waited for what turned out to be the return of Kelly Fisher.
 
Fisher, over on the loss side, was working on a nine-match winning streak that would carry her all the way back to a finals rematch against Chen. She started that trip with three victories in which she gave up only a single rack each to Ewa Mataya Laurance, Caroline Pao and Kaylin Wykoff. Jenna Bishoff put up a bit of a fight in the following round, chalking up more racks against Fisher (5) than her first three loss-side opponents combined. Fisher returned to form with a 9-1 victory over Janet Atwell and then gave up three to Kristina Tkach. This put Kelly Fisher into a match against Allison Fisher, fresh from the winners’ side semifinal.
 
Jennifer Baretta drew Jasmin Ouschan, who’d been defeated by Allison Fisher 9-7 in a winners’ side quarterfinal and then defeated Helena Thornfeldt 9-4 and Line Kjorsvik 9-7 to face Baretta.
 
Everybody got caught up in a double hill fight for advancement to the quarterfinals. Baretta eventually defeated Ouschan, and Fisher eliminated Fisher (that’s Kelly over Allison). Kelly Fisher ended Jennifer Baretta’s run 9-5 in those  quarterfinals and then got wrapped up in another double hill fight, which she won, against Tzu Chie Wen in the semifinals.
 
As she’d describe it later from an airport in Detroit, awaiting a flight to Newark, and eventually, home to England, three matches in a row on that last Sunday just about did Kelly Fisher in, and “the wheels sort of came off.” Siming Chen completed her undefeated run at the 2019 WPBA Masters with an 11-2 victory over Kelly in the finals.
 
WPBA representatives thanked the Soaring Eagle Resort & Casino for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Outsville AccuRack, Aramith, PoolActionTV, Simonis Cloth and Diamond Billiard Products.

Shane Van Boening and Han Yu Wins 2018 AzB Player of the Year Awards

By it’s very nature, the AzBilliards Player of the Year awards are meant to acknowledge the best male and female players from the preceding year. On the men’s side though, the 2018 Player of the Year race seemed to be much more of a comment on parity in the game instead of one player’s dominance.
 
2018 didn’t see any real dominance from one player as it seemed we had as many different winners as we did marquee events. Joshua Filler’s World 9-Ball Championship win made him a candidate, and we expect to see him dominate the game in coming years. Jung-Lin Chang’s win at the International 9-Ball Open, teamed with a 5th at World 9-Ball, certainly put his name in the equation, and Niels Feijen’s World Pool Masters win put his name in contention. In the eyes of AzBilliards though, it was “The South Dakota Kid”, Shane Van Boening, who earned the Player of the Year recognition.
 
Shane’s back to back US Open 10-Ball and US Open 8-Ball wins back in July were certainly impressive. Prior to that, Shane had wins at the US Open One Pocket and Bank Pool Championships. Add on his August win at Turning Stone and there was also that 3-9 combination with the weight of his country on his shoulders in London. When you expand the scope to top 4 finishes, you have to count his runner-up finish at the World Pool Masters, his 3rd place finish at the World 9-Ball Championship and his 4th place finish at the International 9-Ball Open.
 
Van Boening’s total tracked prize money in 2018 was just over $110,000, a full $40,000 more than his closest competition, Dennis Orcollo. With the majority of Van Boening’s wins coming in the states, his end of year WPA ranking sits at 8th place. That is with him only competing in five of the eight ranked WPA events.
 
The race for 2018 Female Player of the Year came down to a three way Chinese photo finish with, Han Yu, Siming Chen and Xiao-Fang Fu all making a case for the honor. While the future of the ladies game still firmly resides in China, we here at AzBilliards really only had the China Open, Women’s World 9-Ball Championship and Amway Cup to figure into our final decision.
 
Based on her World Title win at the Women’s World 9-Ball Championship, her third place finish at the Amway Cup and her 9th place finish at the China Open, AzBilliards has chosen Han Yu as the Ladies Player of the Year.
 
Yu just edged past Chen in AzBilliards tracked prize money at $52,700 and sits atop the WPA Women’s rankings.
 
Van Boening’s win was his third career AzBilliards Player of the Year award, and his first since 2014. Yu’s win was her second and will join the 2016 trophy in her trophy case.
 
As always, AzBilliards thanks Aramith and Simonis for their invaluable support with this award. Both players will be presented with a trophy created by Aramith and Simonis.

Fisher goes undefeated for the second time in a month, winning WPBA Ho-Chunk Classic

Ga Young Kim and Allison Fisher (Photo courtesy of the WPBA)

Fresh off her August 16-19 victory at the NAPT Summer 10-Ball Classic, Allison Fisher proved once again that age is just a number, and a fairly insignificant one at that. On the long weekend of September 13-16, Fisher joined what turned out to be 63 WPBA entrants in a multi-stage/bracket format at the Ho-Chunk Casino in Wisconsin Dells, WI and went undefeated through that field to capture her second title in a month. Fisher had to get by Korea’s Ga-Young Kim twice to claim that title.
 
The multi-stage format of this event created preliminary, 32-entrant rounds of play for 64 invited and seeded players, based on current WPBA standings going into the event. The lower-ranked invitees faced off against each other on Thursday, Sept. 13, in a standard 32-player bracket. Sixteen players, eight on each side of the bracket, emerged and advanced to play against a group of 16 players already selected to compete on Friday. When that Friday bracket came down to a final 16, those 16 advanced to compete against the WPBA’s top 16 players on Saturday (chosen from among the invitees who were able to attend). It was in this third, Saturday bracket that Fisher began her quest for the title.
 
On Thursday in races to 7, Kaylin Wikoff, Caroline Pao, Tonya Wiser, Naomi Williams, Kristie Bacon, Cathy Metzinger, Jia Li, and Jenna Bishoff won two matches each to advance to Friday’s bracket. In her second match, Jia Li downed LoreeJon Hasson 7-5 to get into that winners’ side final eight. Metzinger was among the final eight as the result (in part) of a forfeit by Jeannette Lee in her opening round of play. Lee came back through two rounds of loss-side play to become one of the 16 that advanced to Friday. Hasson won her only match on the loss side of the Thursday bracket and advanced, as well, along with Maria Juana, Lisa Cossette, Susan Wilbur, Sonya Chbeeb, Bonnie Arnold and Stephanie Mitchell.
 
On Friday in races to 8, Pao, Metzinger, and Arnold made it through their second day, winning two matches each to become one of the winners’ side final eight advancing to Saturday. Joining the event for the first time and winning their first two were Maureen Seto, Siming Chen, We Tzu Chien, April Larson and Kia Sidbury. Sidbury was originally scheduled to start on Thursday but a no-show for the tournament led to the 63-entrant field and an opening on Friday, into which she slipped. On the loss side of Friday’s bracket, Juana, Bishoff, Williams, Li, and Jeannette Lee advanced to their third day of competition. Lee had been defeated by April Larson, double hill, in Friday’s opening round and won two to join everybody on Saturday. Also winning two on the loss side and advancing to Saturday were Janet Atwell (defeated by Pao, double hill, in Friday’s opening round), Sara Miller and Robin Parker.
 
On Saturday in races to 8, Fisher said ‘hello’ to everybody and opened with an 8-1 victory over Juana, before running into Jeannette Lee (first of a series of classic women matchups during the day). Lee had defeated Kim Newsome 8-5 to start her day. Fisher defeated Lee 8-4 and then picked up the Texas Tornado, Vivian Villareal, who’d defeated Jennifer Barretta 8-2 in the previous round. An 8-2 win over Villareal sent Fisher to a winners’ side semifinal against Siming Chen, who’d defeated Line Kjorsivik 8-4 and Caroline Pao 8-3 to reach her. Melissa Little and Ga Young Kim squared off in the other winners’ side semifinal.
 
Fisher defeated Chen 8-2 and arrived at the hot seat match with an aggregate score of 32-9 (78%). Kim sent Little to the loss side 8-2, as well, and she came to the hot seat with an aggregate score of 32-14 (69%). Allison claimed the hot seat 8-3 over Kim and waited on her return from the semifinals.
 
On the loss side, Chen picked up Barretta, who was in the midst of a four-match, loss-side winning streak that had included victories over Jeannette Lee (8-5), Jia Li (8-4) and Brittany Bryant 8-5. Little drew The Grinder, teenager April Larson, who’d been defeated by Jia Li on the winners’ side of the final bracket, and was in the midst of a six-match winning streak that would take her as far as the semifinals. Larson had most recently eliminated Vivian Villareal and Caroline Pao, both 8-3.
 
Larson advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-5 win over Little, and was joined by Chen, who’d defeated Barretta 8-2. Larson took the quarterfinal match over Siming Chen 8-5.
 
Larson’s remarkable run ended in the semifinals, when Kim defeated her 8-5. Kim’s second shot against Fisher, waiting for her in the hot seat, was a tightly contested, double hill battle. Fisher closed it out to claim the WPBA’s 2018 Ho-Chunk Classic.

Tkach comes from the loss side to win WPBA Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa

Kristina Tkach (Erwin Dionisio)

Two young women, one working on her best earnings year to date and the other, coming off of her best earnings year-to-date (2018) squared off in the finals of the WPBA Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa on the weekend of August 8-11. The former, Russia’s Kristina Tkach, a top performer for Roy’s Basement, came from the loss side to down hot seat occupant, Taipei’s Tzu-Chien Wei. Wei, who, according to our records, had her best year in 2018, had only cashed in one event thus far this year (3rd at the WPBA Masters in late Feb./early March). The $10,000-added event drew 48 entrants to the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center in Fairfield, Iowa.
 
They met twice; once in a winners’ side semifinal and again, in the finals. Wei had advanced past Catherine Tschumper, Emily Duddy and Brittany Bryant to arrive at the winners’ side semifinal versus Tkach. Kelly Fisher, in the meantime, who was runner-up to Siming Chen at the WPBA Master’s event in which Wei had finished third, got by Kelly Isaac, Gail Eaton and April Larson to arrive at her winners’ side semifinal match against Line Kjorsvik.
 
Fisher sent Kjorsvik to the loss side 8-3 and in the hot seat match, faced Wei, who’d defeated Tkach 8-6. Wei claimed the hot seat 8-5 over Fisher and waited on the return on Tkach.
 
On the loss side, Kjorsvik picked up Bryant, who, after her defeat at the hands of Wei, had eliminated Sara Miller 8-3 and, in a double hill match, Jennifer Baretta. Tkach drew a re-match against Monica Webb, whom she’d defeated 8-3 on the winners’ side. Webb moved west to defeat Kelly Cavanaugh, Jenna Bishoff and April Larson (all 8-6), and then survived a double hill fight versus Emily Duddy to draw Tkach.
 
Tkach gave up only a single rack in the rematch against Webb and in the quarterfinals, faced Bryant, who’d defeated Kjorsvik 8-4. Bryant and Tkach locked up in what was something of a predictable double hill fight for advancement to the semifinals. Tkach won it to earn her re-match against Fisher.
 
One might have expected a similar double hill battle between Tkach and Fisher, both anxious for a rematch against Wei in the hot seat. It didn’t happen. Tkach took care of business and downed Fisher 8-5.
 
With the intangible momentum on her side, Tkach came into the finals and defeated Wei 10-5 to claim her third major title of 2019. She’d previously won the Super Billiards Expo’s Women Championship in March and Europe’s Dynamic Billiards Treviso Open Ladies Division in May.
 
WPBA representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiard Products, Outsville, Simonis Cloth and Aramis Balls. 

Chen Siming goes all the way and takes the title in Klagenfurt

Chen Siming (CHN)

With an impressive 7:4 victory over Austria’s powerhouse Jasmin Ouschan, Siming Chen from China won the Klagenfurt Women’s Open Euro-Tour!
 
It was an amazing final match between the World’s #1 player and World Games 2017 Gold Medallist Chen Siming and her opponent, Europe’s #1 and World Games 2005 Gold Medallist Jasmin Ouschan. The dream of the organisers came true with these two high class players clashing in the final match. Chen’s way into the final was totally straight. She defeated all her opponents with a convincing result. The player who got closest to giving her a challenge was Eylul Kibaroglu (TUR) in the 3rd round who received a 4:7 defeat against Chen. On the other hand, Jasmin had to fight her way into the final match. She had clear results until she met Ina Kaplan (GER) in the semi-final. There, Jasmin was already on the hill, leading 6:3 when her opponent got some momentum and used her chances. Actually, Kaplan even managed to take the score to 6:6 before Ouschan was able to finish the match in her favour with 7:6.
 
The final match between the two superstars was quite open in the beginning. After 4 races the score was all square at 2:2. Then, Siming shifted into overdrive and took 3 racks in a row, gaining a 5:2 advantage over Ouschan. The Austrian took her time-out and tired to get her things together a bit better but the tide did not change in this match. Though Ouschan was able to win two more racks, Siming also stayed focussed and took her points and finally won the match and the tournament well deserved with 7:4. „I am quite happy to have won this event her in Austria“, stated Siming after the match, „the atmosphere was superb and it was not easy for me to compete against Jasmin with all these spectators cheering for her here“. „I really enjoyed my stay here in Austria. Tournaments in China are organised very differently. We have no music in the background and I really enjoyed this setup here. Also, the digital information system connected to the internet provides an amazing for the players“.
 
Top Eight Finishers
1. Chen Siming (CHN)
2. Jasmin Ouschan (AUT)
3. Ina Kaplan (GER)
Kateryna Polovinchuk (UKR)
5. Kristina Tkach (RUS)
Marharyta Fefilava (BLR)
Veronika Ivanovskaia (GER)
Pia Blaeser (GER)
 
That concludes the coverage from Klagenfurt. The Dynamic Billard Klagenfurt Open and the Klagenfurt Women’s Open have come to an end. The events were hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.eurotouronline.com  visit us on Facebook or check out our youtube channel for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

Corr Wins Rivers Casino Open

Karen Corr and Si Ming Chen

Karen Corr defeated Siming Chen in a heart-pounding, sudden death finale, capping off a four-day competition featuring the top 48-ranked pros of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association. The event ran April 19th-23rd, bringing back the final four players for Sunday’s performance. Brittany Bryant (Canada) and Line Kjorsvik (Norway) also made the cut, tying for third place.
 
The 2017 Rivers Casino Open, held April 19th-23rd, proved very exciting for the spectators in attendance and those who tuned in via the WPBA live stream. With the click of a mouse, fans could tune in to live matches on any one of six tournament tables, which included live scoring updates.
 
The Charity Pro-Am kicked off Wednesday afternoon, with 8 teams, each team paired with a Pro. After three fast and furious rounds of play, it was determined that “Team Brittany Bryant” and “Team Monica Webb” scored the most game wins in each round, and would face each other in a head-to-head final. Team Webb overcame Team Bryant for the win, and a great time was had by all participants! There was also a “Challenge the Pro” session with all proceeds going to charity. Top ranked players took on all comers, offering their fans not only an opportunity to play their favorite pros, but a chance to autograph billiard memorabilia and snap photographs.
 
Thursday morning began the trek to Sunday’s semi-finals. Chen claimed the first semi spot with wins over Kristina Grim, 9-3, Naomi Williams, 9-0, Helena Thornfeldt, 9-3, and Line Kjorsvik, 9-4. The second semi spot was claimed by Karen Corr, with wins over Julie Kelly, 9-6, Jessica Barnes, 9-6, Janet Atwell, 9-6, Monica Webb, 9-7, and Brittany Bryant, 9-3. Challengers were grinding it out on the west side of the chart, hoping to make Sunday’s show. Brittany Bryant bested Kelly Cavanaugh, 9-4, Robin Parker, 9-1, and Jennifer Barretta, 9-7, before losing to Corr. Bryant went on to beat Julie Kelly, 9-6, for an opportunity to face Chen in the first semi-final. The 2017 WPBA Masters Champion and new number one ranked WPBA player, Line Kjorsvik, beat Suzanne Peters, 9-6, Teruko Cucculelli, 9-3, and Sandy Badger, 9-3, but fell to Chen. From the one-loss side, Line went on to eliminate Monica Webb, 9-6, earning herself a shot at Corr in the second semi-final. Chen overcame Bryant both sets, 4-1 and 4-2, to reach the finals. Corr experienced another sudden death match with Line, but this time, she prevailed. Corr won the first set 4-1, and Line answered back, taking the second set, 4-1. Corr responded, winning the sudden death game to face Chen in the finals.
 
Siming played lights out all week, with a stable of opponents who could score no more than four games against her. In the first set, she cruised to a 4-0, but Karen fought back and won the second set, 4-3. Even on sets, players lagged for the break in the sudden death decider. Corr won the lag, broke, and made a ball on the break. Siming never made it back to the table. Corr made a nerve-racking out, flirting with the side pocket while playing position from the 6-ball to the 7-ball. The crowd watched and gasped in horror as the cue ball settled on the rail with perfect shape on the 7-ball. In true, champion form, Corr completed the run, earning herself a brand new title, 2017 Rivers Casino Open Champion!
 
The WPBA would like to thank its sponsors for this event, Rivers Casino and their staff who provided a fabulous venue and outstanding service, Diamond Pool Tables who provided the playing equipment and set-up for the event, Simonis Cloth who provided the cloth for the playing surface, and Aramith Pool Balls who supplied the brand new balls sets. Thanks go out to Dave Jacoby for building the WPBA 40th Anniversary Custom Cue for which raffles tickets were sold during the week, and given away on Sunday.
 
For more information about the Women’s Professional Billiards Association, please visit www.WPBA.com.