US Open Day Three: Rivalries Continue

The new limited-field format at the Simonis/Aramith U.s. Open 9-Ball Championship has given us great matches much earlier than usual this week. Day three began with a "grudge match" between Jose Parica and Efren Reyes. Both men have their supporters who will argue long and hard about the superior merits of their man. It was a match between two of the giants of the game, and the stands were filled with anxious fans. 

The contest started out with both men playing their usual strong pool. Reyes missed a ball in rack five that gifted Parica with his third mark and that seemed to strengthen Reyes' resolve. From that moment on it was all Reyes. The only thing Parica found at the table after that was either a kick or jump shot. Reyes kept him hidden and frustrated and controlled table after table, moving  a bead on his side after every 9 ball fell. He took the match 11-3.
Mike Dechaine and Justin Bergman had a barn-burner. Dechaine went out to an early three game lead but Bergman refused to lie down or go away. He just kept pace with Mike on firepower and took advantage of opportunities when they were there to be had. Bergman drew closer as the match proceeded and in the end our combatants were sitting together on the hill facing a one-rack decider. Both men got to the table during the match but the last one standing was Dechaine who retained his position on the winner's side. Dechaine would go on to face another tough opponent late on Wednesday in Albin Ouschan. Ouschan led most of the way, but in the end it was Dechaine dropping the final 9-ball for an 11-9 win. 
Two Canadians gave us a great show. Erik Hjorleifson and Jason Klatt are great friends off of the baize but they love to whip up on each other in tournaments. Hjorleifson led this one most of the way but Klatt never gives up the ship and he got stronger as the match went along. They gave us another double-hill match and Klatt played the final rack with the confidence his skills provide and took that final rack to slide by his buddy on the slimmest of margins. 
Darren Appleton looks unstoppable. He has now won three matches while none of his opponents got past four games. He was able to hold Hunter Lombardo to only three games and that is a very tall order. Appleton just does not give his opponents any air. When he isn't rack-running he delights in putting you in a jailhouse safety. 
We have seen a new name here that will become well known soon if he keep's playing like this. Alex Kazakis of Greece started this event by downing Rodney Morris 11-8, a feat that turned more than a few heads. He proved it was no fluke by dominating Kenichi Uchigaki  11-4. He fell to Appleton in round three, but looks poised for a run on the one loss side.
To the crowd's delight, Earl Strickland facing off against Shane Van Boening late in the day. Between these two players, they have eight US Open titles in their resumes and the room was packed with fans waiting to see what would happen. Although the crowd did their best to put Earl in the winner's circle, it was Van Boening looking like it was just another day at the office in an 11-7 win.
One match of note today was the one between Tony Drago of Malta and Chris Cantrall. Drago won 11-0 in a total time of 25 minutes. Think about that. That includes time for the racking. If it only takes a minute to gather the balls and rack them and get back up-table for the break shot that is 11 of those 25 minutes. He was running racks regularly in less than two minutes. 
Day four looks to have even more great matches in store for us. Appleton vs Boyes, Reyes vs Orcollo, Kiamco vs van den Berg, Bustamante vs Hohmann and Morris vs Kennedy are just a sampling of the winners side matches scheduled for today.
Follow all of the action with our online brackets and real time scoring, and watch select matches with Accu-Stats PPV coverage at