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Rocket Streaks to Incredible Comeback

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 20, 2008

Rocket Streaks to Incredible Comeback
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA

by InsidePOOL Staff

After trailing Harriman 10-4, Morris came back to win the match 11-10 in the forst round of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship.

After trailing Harriman 10-4, Morris came back to win the match 11-10 in the forst round of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship.

Day one at the U.S. Open is in the books, with almost all of the 238-player field having played one match.

“Rocket” Rodney Morris got a surprise in Danny Harriman, the last featured match of the evening. Though Harriman has been off the circuit for some time, he’s apparently been keeping in shape, for he was up 10-5 on the Hawaiian before he knew it. Drawing deep, Morris drew within a rack, and then an early combo on the 9 ball made it a hill-hill nail-biter. Morris broke but scratched, but Harriman was forced to play safe on the 2 ball. Morris hit the 2 and moved the 7 next to the 8 ball. Harriman ran out to the 6 ball, using it as a break-out shot but had no shot on the 7 ball. Left with a bank shot, Morris made it perfectly and cleared the rest of the balls to win 11-10.

In the match between CJ Wiley and Tony Robles, a last-minute addition to the schedule, Robles started off strong with a 3-1 lead only to watch as Wiley chipped away at it. Wiley managed to knot the score at 5 apiece and then took the lead for the first time 6-5. Not to be outdone, Robles took the next rack after an uncharacteristic error by Wiley and then ran the next five racks in a row for the 11-6 win.

View the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship tournament brackets (updated after each round)

View the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship image gallery

See the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship Live  

See the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship Live

See the 2008 U.S. Open live

In other highlights, defending champion Shane Van Boening held his own against Zaid Thweib, who kept fairly even with him until Van Boening swept past to win 11-8. Chris Melling of the UK came back from a 9-1 deficit to defeat Jonen Alba 11-9 after being given one chance, with fellow countryman Raj Hundal coming through the winner of a double-hill match against Danny Petralba. Shannon Daulton managed to best David Grossman 11-8 by “ducking.” Former U.S. Open champ Gabe Owen trounced Ryan McCreesh 11-3, with another former champ, Corey Deuel, dealing an 11-1 loss to Claude Fuller.

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Miscommunication Mars Opening Rounds of U.S. Open

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 19, 2008

Miscommunication Mars Opening Rounds of U.S. Open
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA

by Inside POOL Staff

The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship kicked off Sunday with a few issues.  The tournament staff quickly remedied the issues and the nation's longest running billiards event is firing on all cylinders.

The U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship kicked off Sunday with a few issues. The tournament staff quickly remedied the issues and the nation

Several players have received incorrect information regarding the beginning of the 33rd Annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, which has resulted in a last-minute scramble.

Former BCA Open champion Tony “The Silent Assassin” Robles says he contacted Q-Master Billiards twice and received information both times that the players’ meeting for the U.S. Open was to be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 19. Mike Lebron, former U.S. Open champion, also says he received the same information.

Robles didn’t arrive until late Saturday evening and found that he had missed the players’ meeting and the draw, but after explaining things to tournament director Ken Shuman, he was able to take the place of one of the byes and now plays CJ Wiley at 11 p.m. Wiley was not at all bothered by this, saying, “I don’t care—I just want to play!”

View the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship tournament brackets (updated after each round)

View the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship image gallery

See the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship Live  

See the 2008 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship Live

See the 2008 U.S. Open live

However, the rounds are underway and have gone through three sessions already. Tony “T-Rex” Chohan matched up with Chris Bartram on the television table and bested him 11-7 in a quick match that saw some early 9 balls. Mike Dechaine fought tooth and nail against Tony “The Sniper” Crosby and sent him west 11-10. Ernesto Dominguez earned a quick win when Jason Hunt forfeited his first match, and Scott Huggins sent consummate road man Eric Durbin to the left side 11-5.

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Van Boening Eclipses Alcano, Claims 32nd U.S. Open Title

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 20, 2007

Van Boening Eclipses Alcano, Claims 32nd U.S. Open Title
13-10 finals victory clinches 9-ball’s most coveted crown for the pride of South Dakota

by Paul Berg, Inside POOL Magazine Staff
The journey literally began Sunday night, but in Shane Van Boening’s heart as an American pool player, tonight ends a quest that probably began as soon as he could draw his cue ball. The 24-year-old from Sioux Falls, SD, has had an impressive year, finishing runner-up at the Enjoypool.com event in Las Vegas and the World Summit of Pool in New York and snapping off the World 10-Ball Championship in Jacksonville, FL. Tonight, with a 13-10 finals defeat of reigning world 9-ball champ Ronato Alcano, Van Boening has become the 32nd Annual U.S. Open 9-ball champion.
With four players of the original 233 entrants remaining at the start of the day, Van Boening faced Japan’s Tomoki Mekari in the final of the winners’ bracket. Van Boening had already defeated Sylver Ochoa, Chad Pike, Sparky Ferrell, Marcus Chamat, Ronnie Wiseman, and Corey Deuel before booking his ticket to the hot seat match with an 11-4 dispatching of Alcano in their first meeting. Facing Mekari, Van Boening jumped out to a 5-0 lead amidst mistakes from the Japanese. Mekari rallied with a pair of lucked-in 9 balls, the last an out-and-out miss of a straight-in shot that found another pocket. Mekari broke and ran to draw within two, and while Van Boening kept him down, Mekari broke and ran out late in the match to tie it 9-9. Mekari missed a fateful attempt at a 1-8 combination in the next, and Van Boening left him in his chair from there, clearing and breaking and running out for an 11-9 entrance to the single race-to-13 finals.

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As they were playing, Alcano was making short work of the only remaining past Open winner. Ralf “The Surgeon” Souquet played exceptionally well throughout the week, but facing Alcano, he missed far more often and fell 11-3 to land in fourth place. Mekari was next on the lanky Filipino’s chopping block, as Alcano gained another large early lead, later breaking and running twice consecutively to reach the hill to Mekari’s paltry two wins. Alcano won 11-5 from there, Mekari’s last bit of fight enough to earn a slightly better final score and a third-place finish.
In a rematch with Van Boening, Alcano’s soft cut break gradually became as ineffective as it had in their previous match. While Van Boening lost his early 3-2 edge, he stayed with Alcano, missing only three balls to Alcano’s impressive total of two for the entire match, retaking the lead at 9-8. With a pivotal roll up 10-9, Van Boening attempting to jump to bank the 2 ball and instead kicking behind it and landing the cue ball in jail for Alcano, the South Dakotan took an 11-9 lead. His version of the soft cut break dropped four balls in the next, and Van Boening ran out to reach the hill. While his scratch on the next break gave Alcano a tenth win, the Filipino’s dry break in the next gave Van Boening a run-out to savor, and he took his time polishing off the 13-10 triumph.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
With the conclusion of play, promoter Barry Behrman handed Van Boening his oversized $50,000 check amidst a champagne toast and fan revelry.

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Van Boening and Mekari reach U.S. Open Winners

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 20, 2007

Van Boening and Mekari reach U.S. Open Winners’ Finale
Four remain for final day of play; Alcano and Souquet seek another shot

By Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
With the last match of play on day six of the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships concluding shortly after 4:30 AM here in Chesapeake, VA, four male billiard players representing four different countries have weathered the field of 233 entrants. With a chance to erase any doubt about the strength of the field in his World 10-Ball Championship victory this past summer, Shane Van Boening has reached the winners’ bracket final undefeated. His opponent will be unheralded Tomoki Mekari of Japan, who held his place on the A-side despite the grimmest of deficits in his evening matches.
Van Boening claimed his fifth and sixth victories of the Open11-8 over Corey Deuel and 11-4 over Ronato Alcano. World 10-ball credentials trumped reigning World 9-Ball champion status, as the South Dakotan was in clear command throughout his bout with the Filipino. Breaking and running twice consecutively on three occasions, Van Boening had obviously mastered his break on the Billiard Club Network live webcast table, while Alcano had trouble on his handful of opportunities snapping. Alcano found little help from Van Boening, who only made one significant error with a botched 2ball safety early on. In the end, Van Boening cleared the table after Alcano missed a tough 3ball trailing 9-4, and then broke and ran once more for the resounding 11-4 ticket to the last day of play unblemished.
Mekari’s two evening affairs were much more dicey. First, facing Atlanta resident Louis Ulrich, Mekari clawed out of a 9-4 hole. In one of two weak stretches in an otherwise stupendous tournament, Ulrich failed to either complete a runout or gain an edge in a safety battle, and Mekari improbably took seven straight and an improbable 11-9 win. Ralf “The Surgeon” Souquet was fresh off an 11-5 dissection of Dennis “The Menace” Orcollo and waited in the wings, picking up where he left off the previous set by breaking and running the first three against Mekari. Nonplussed, the Japanese steadily climbed back into the match, Souquet helping with three errors, each antithetical to his sterling play throughout the event. Once missing position, then failing in a safety, Souquet watched as Mekari tied the match at seven, and then took his first lead when Souquet missed a routine 3ball in the side. They traded racks from there, and Mekari broke and ran out the last two to reach the hot seat match with a resounding 11-8 triumph.
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Neither Alcano nor Souquet was willing to settle for a tie for fifth place. Ulrich bounced back with large margins of victory over James Walden and Orcollo, but would fall flat for a second time in a tournament where you need your best for last. Missing often against a runout machine like Alcano is a recipe for disaster, and while the Filipino heir to Efren Reyes magic did not resolve the troubles with his hard smashing break, he still shot like his idol on his way to a 10-0 edge. Ulrich managed to runout and break and run two more, but he scratched on the next break, and Alcano put Ulrich out in a tie for fifth, clearing there for an 11-3 result.
Souquet will face Alcano in the quarter-final, having actually eliminated an opponent after dealing five others their first loss. The German entered the one-loss side against a man who had ended the 32nd Open for eleven others already. Ramil Gallego lost his first round match 11-7 to Helsinki’s Markus Juva, and had since toppled three greats from his own country and contenders from a few others. Eliminating Francisco Bustamante, Thorsten Hohman, Mike Davis, Efren Reyes and Jose Parica back to back, Gallego then ended the hopes of Deuel, and had another past Open champion in his path for his seventh and final match of day six.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
Despite an impressive rally from 7-2 deficit to a 7-up knot, Gallego succumbed in the end to a pair of monster break and runs by Souquet after rattling the 1ball up the rail with his first lead. Gallego could only watch as his long trek came up two measly 9balls short, Souquet making five balls on the last break and sealing the deal 11-9 while Gallego rested his weary feet in the chair, fire in his eyes as the last ball fell and placed him in a tie for fifth. Tomorrow at 1 PM, the last standing past Open champion will try the remaining Pinoy hopeful, while Van Boening and Mekari will try to put themselves in the final race to 13 with fifty grand and a green jacket to the victor. Stay tuned to InisdePOOLmag.com for updates from the final day of the U.S. Open tomorrow.

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Sixteen Shoot on at U.S. Open

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 19, 2007

Sixteen Shoot on at U.S. Open
Undefeated ranks trimmed to eight; B-siders Immonen and Gallego win eight straight

by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Seeking a fifth consecutive victory without a loss at the 32nd U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, 16 of the world’s very best billiard players went to ground this afternoon. Eight are still standing, the result of impressive displays, while eight more persevere on the B-side of the chart. This year’s Open has taken exciting shape, with many prognosticated pairings having reached the end of their harrowing quarters of the draw.
Reigning world 9-ball champion Ronato Alcano and elder Filipino statesman Jose Parica will play tonight at 7 PM, both by virtue of resounding 11-3 victories during the 1 PM session over Warren Kiamco and Tyler Edey, respectively. The winner of this highly anticipated bout will face either Corey Deuel or Shane Van Boening. While Deuel has a longer curriculum vitae, with a U.S. Open to his credit from 2001 and a win at the UPA event in Valley Forge this year, recently crowned world 10-ball champ Van Boening recently edged Deuel in a high profile (not to mention high stakes) challenge match. Deuel bested Mosconi Cup team member Mike Davis 11-7 earlier, while Van Boening outdid Ronnie Wiseman 11-8.
On the other half of A-side, Louis Ulrich continues to look like the strongest hope for an American winner this year. With a resounding 11-1 defeat of Tony Robles following on the heels of his 11-0 whitewash of Ernesto Dominguez last night, Ulrich moved forward to face Japan’s last man standing, Tomoki Mekari, who upended two-time Open winner Allen Hopkins 11-6. Next to them on the board is Dennis Orcollo, arguably the most feared member of the vaunted Filipino contingent, and Ralf “The Surgeon” Souquet, German title holder at events the world over. Orcollo slowed the magnificent run of Tulsa, OK’s, James Walden with an 11-5 performance, while Souquet handed Johnny Archer an embarrassing 11-2 defeat on the Billiard Club Network television table.
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The excitement on the winners’ side is palpable, and before the evening’s play is through, only two men will stand without a loss. The other two who come back for tomorrow’s finale will have to work their way through the treacherous one-loss side. For Finnish star Mika Immonen and Filipino stalwart Ramil Gallego, it’s a rocky road well-traveled. Each has won eight straight matches facing elimination. For Gallego, today has included three 11-6 wins over Thorsten Hohmann, Francisco Bustamante, and Davis, eliminating the Frederick, MD, household name in a tie for 17th place. Immonen has ended Rodolfo Luat 11-8, Tony Crosby 11-6, and finally Robles 11-8 in a very competitive match. “The Iceman” held a commanding lead over “The Silent Assassin,” but Robles came back and took the lead before falling to some stupendous shot-making from Immonen.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
Gallego has Efren “The Magician” Reyes to look forward to, who has steamrolled his last two opponents and looks sharp after his BCn broadcast loss to Alcano last night. For Immonen, Larry Nevel awaits, having eliminated past champions Gabe Owen and Hopkins in his last two matches. The other two remaining pairings on the one-loss side will be Kiamco against Niels Feijen and Archer against Walden. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for an update after the long night ahead at the Chesapeake Conference center, as it will get down to four men with a shot at the coveted green jacket by the end of play.

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U.S. Open Winners

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 18, 2007

U.S. Open Winners’ Bracket Halved to 16, Filipino Contingent Still Strong
Late Night Ahead for One-Loss Hopefuls in Chesapeake

by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Deservedly under the television lights during both Billiard Club Network live matches, top 9-ballers from The Republic of the Philippines stole the show tonight at the 32nd U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. With impressive 11-7 wins, Jose Parica and Ronato Alcano have stepped past other greats from their homeland. Both are in the same quarter of the draw, which is down to 16 undefeated billiards players, with an estimated 29 more that will wake up alive in another way if all one-loss matches are completed in the wee hours Friday morning. With dazzling performances from unbeaten threats and massive shows of heart from B-side battlers, Thursday at the Open was a sign of even better 9-ball to come.
Amidst the Filipino-laden third quarter of the draw, Parica opened a 6-3 lead against Francisco Bustamante that turned into an 11-7 victory. The match history between the two is very lopsided in Parica’s favor, a notable loss for Bustamante coming here two years ago in the semifinal match. Next for “The Leader of the Invasion” in his charge to do one better than his multiple runner-up Open finishes will be strong Canadian Tyler Edey, who defeated 2004 runner-up Thorsten Hohmann. With a 10-8 lead, Edey played a safety with just the 9 remaining on the table, leaving the cue ball on the opposite end rail and inducing a bank attempt from Hohmann that left a long 11-8 clincher for Edey.
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The other remaining pairing on their chart will be Alcano and Warren Kiamco. A veteran from Parica’s era, Kiamco jumped out to a 6-1 lead on young fellow Filipino Lee Van Corteza, and despite a rally from the offensively explosive Turning Stone Classic winner, Kiamco took charge and finished comfortably 11-6. For reigning world 9-ball champ Alcano’s part, playing under the television lights against his hero in youth Efren Reyes, things got a bit tighter.
Alcano gained a 6-3 lead when Reyes rattled the 6 ball, and he banked it home to start a clearance. Reyes took the next four games and a 7-6 lead, Alcano missing the 3 ball in the thirteenth rack after the blitz from “Bata.” Capitalizing on a pair of uncharacteristic misses, getting a fortunate roll on one of his own and out-dueling Reyes in a kick-safety contest, Alcano swept the next seven games from there for the 11-7 triumph.
Alongside Alcano in the 9 PM match time, other favorites continued to progress. Yet another feared Pinoy, Dennis Orcollo broke out of a 4-4 knot with Tony Crosby, running four racks from the break at one stretch en route to an 11-4 victory. And with a clutch 8-9 carom after Rodolfo Luat scratched with six balls left on the table, backroom great James Walden claimed an 11-10 victory to reach Orcollo and complete his sweep of last year’s Open finalists.
In their quarter of the bracket, a match was brewing since the draw went down between Johnny “The Scorpion” Archer and Ralf “The Surgeon” Souquet. Archer was in control throughout his 11-5 win over Tony Chohan. Souquet went the distance with Larry Nevel despite an early advantage for the German. With the score tied at 9 and Nevel breaking, neither player made a ball on the break nor missed a shot afterwards, the alternating run-outs resulting in an 11-10 escape for Souquet.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
Archer isn’t Atlanta’s only remaining undefeated threat. Louis Ulrich resides there these days, and with an 11-0 win over Ernesto Dominguez (a rarity as late as the fourth round of the Open), he’ll have a date with Tony Robles in the fifth round, courtesy of “The Silent Assassin” holding off Japan’s Naoyuki Oi 11-8. Japan will still be represented in their quarter of the bracket, as Tomoki Mekari advanced 11-10 over past Open winner Tommy Kennedy to reach a match with two-time Open champ Allen Hopkins, himself a winner over Chuck Raulston.
Corey Deuel just concluded the last of winners’ bracket play in an 11-10 victory over Shannon Daulton, a match that was moved from the television table to expedite play. Mike Davis is waiting for him, having hung on to a dwindling lead against Rodney Morris 11-9. Rounding out their section of the chart will be Shane Van Boening by way of an 11-3 stomping of Marcus Chamat, facing Ronnie Wiseman, who nipped John Morra 11-10 after a long-missed 9 ball when the Detroiter was up 10-7.
There is still plenty to sort out on the B-side of the chart. Many great victories have been followed by obliterations at the hands of those coming out of the winners’ bracket with something to prove. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for an update tomorrow on the shooters taking the long road to the most coveted crown in 9-Ball.
As a special note, Dan Louie was the victim of internal distress of an as-yet-undisclosed nature earlier today when he collapsed in the midst of his match. He is in stable condition after successful surgery, and here at the Conference Center, promoter Barry Behrman stepped to the microphone to echo the prayers and thoughts of his many friends and admirers here at the storied U.S. Open.

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Amidst One-Loss Paydays at the Open, Tradition and Tragedy Transpire

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 18, 2007

Amidst One-Loss Paydays at the Open, Tradition and Tragedy Transpire
Title defense ends against local standout, past champions persevere on one-loss side

by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
At a buffet during the dinner break this evening for fans to mingle with past U.S. Open champions, 2006 winner John Schmidt was obliged to say his first words as one of the club. Despite an explosive start against top Virginia Beach billiard player Eric Moore, Schmidt fell 11-7, shortly before Dan Louie literally collapsed with an opening 2-0 lead in his one-loss match. The legendary player in the Pacific Northwest and restaurateur out of Seattle, Louie fell to the floor in the Chesapeake Conference Center, and while the nature of his ailment is unknown at this time, Louie was quickly attended to and maintained coherence throughout the wait for medical assistance.
In the mixed atmosphere of reverence and concern, the grueling Open grinds forward. In early morning play today, Gabe Owen advanced through Rob Pole Jr. to reach Steve Moore, both guaranteed their entry fees back with the loser tying at the edge of the payout in 64th/96th place. Recent buzz in the backroom Mike Dechaine eliminated Italian champion Fabio Petroni 11-5, and the mighty Alex Pagulayan stands next in his path.
In later matches, some have already punched the clock for their five hundred bucks. David Hunt fell 11-3 in a second-match victory of the day for Owen’s old friend Jeremy Jones. A few good players won their first of the day only to run into a loss, Hunter Lombardo able to eliminate local junior national champion Chris Futrell before being bumrushed 11-7 by Brandon Shuff. The UK’s Daryl Peach kept Charlie Williams out of the money earlier today but promptly made the trip to the pay window in an 11-4 loss to Chris Bartram.
Columbia, SC’s, Scott Rabon has posted two 11-8 victories over Canadian Brady Golan and New Zealander Ceri Worts to stay alive. Bouncing back from tough losses last night on the A-side, pre-tournament favorites Niels Feijen and Robb Saez are back in business. Feijen led Shawn Wilkie 10-4 at the time of Louie’s unfortunate difficulty, and playing at the nearest table, Feijen waited the longest of any of the stopped tables to resume play. He closed the set 11-4, having stared on in concern for Louie with the rest of the assembled pool family. Saez was far away from the commotion on the Billiard Club Network television table, overcoming a steady deficit to Mike Gulyassy in an 11-8 victory.
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The biggest news of the day was, of course, the ousting of Schmidt. A pair of Q-Master Billiards II employees were amongst Moore’s acquaintances in the crowd and recounted a swift three-piece that Schmidt put down to take a 4-1 lead. Moore was undaunted, and utilizing some break and runs of his own, as well as a persistent defensive game that always left Schmidt tough long looks and nearly cost him a game to three consecutive fouls, took momentum back on his way to the 11-7 shocker. Moore’s next opponent will be Rabon during a tough set of 7 PM matches determining 49th/64th place, including Shuff against Shawn Putnam and Jones against Raj Hundal. For those who have followed Moore each year when the Open comes to his town, he never disappoints, two years ago ousting Corey Deuel to uproarious crowd response.
US Open Tournament Bracket A1
US Open Tournament Bracket A2
US Open Tournament Bracket B1
US Open Tournament Bracket B2
Deuel will play in the Chalk Off Arena at 11 PM tonight against Shannon Daulton. It will be the only undefeated action during that time slot, as the rest of the 32 remaining players without a loss will fill in the 7 and 9 PM action alongside further one-loss play. Featured matches played tonight on billiardclubnet.com courtesy of the BCN and Accu-Stats crews are Jose Parica facing Francisco Bustamante at 7 PM, and Efren Reyes against Ronato Alcano at 9 PM. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for the latest from the 32nd U.S. Open, where the finest 9-ballers in the world will need their best tonight.

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Grinders Galore Trek Through One-Loss Charts at Grueling U.S. Open

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 17, 2007

Grinders Galore Trek Through One-Loss Charts at Grueling U.S. Open
128 players still in action; third round of unbeaten play set for tonight

by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
Roughly half the original field of 233 billiard players will wait for next year for another chance at the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. With an early morning start at the Chesapeake Conference Center for one-loss bracket play, the remaining 64 players on the west side of the chart are one match away from making their entry fees back or going home with memories and hotel bills. Then there are those who aim for boom or bust in the backroom across town at Q-Master Billiards II, and a few action hounds have been spurred by tournament defeats to go off or inspired by scores to bring winning ways back to the arena.
Easily the most notable great eliminated from the tournament thus far is Earl Strickland. The five-time Open champion fell 11-6 to OK player William Compton, who logged another upset in his earlier one-loss match, besting “Machine Gun” Luc Salvas 11-3. Other recognized stars Charlie Williams and Daryl Peach will have to play to make the money, both with narrow wins to get that far.
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Other top players have bounced back from early losses and are beginning the massive and treacherous journey back towards the final four on Saturday. While they focus on this daunting undertaking, others have taken to late night play, with interesting results. For New Yorker Rob Pole Jr., staying in action right up until his 9 AM match this morning and booking a two-set winner over local 18-year-old comer Curtis Coleman inspired a comeback 11-8 victory over Michael Banks. “I played one of the best matches of my life,” Pole said afterward. Others have taken events at the conference center badly and gone on tilt at the pool room.
Florida player by way of Indiana, Josh Lewis followed up his loss to Derek “Chewing Tobacco” Leonard on the winners’ side of the tournament with a six-ahead loss to his ouster that cost him his cue and available cash. “I didn’t like the cue. I was trying shots in the tournament, and it wasn’t working for me,” Lewis said today, a resilient smile on his face.
For regional player Chad Pike, who occasionally visits Q-Master from nearby northern NC, it took everything he had to get a shot at the cash from the B-side after a drubbing from Shane Van Boening. Pike snuck past Jon Kutcher 11-10, having to jump the 9 ball to pocket the 8 ball in the case game and escape the heat. “I played bad again,” Pike mused afterwards. South Dakota’s rising star Van Boening is still looking strong on the undefeated side of things and will play tonight at 9 PM against Sparky Ferrell, the resilient but feisty gambler himself a winner in the backroom last night over Shin Ho Park.
Starting at 7 PM, all eyes will be on the east side of the chart. During that match time, Billiard Club Network viewers can look forward to a bout between runner-up at the Turning Stone Casino event, Louis Ulrich, and 2005 Open winner Alex Pagulayan, who just wandered past the tournament desk humming “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Tonight is special for the man who put a damper on his title defense last year, as birthday boy Steve Moore tries his hand against Ernesto Dominguez. If Pagulayan and Moore win, they’ll have a rematch from the first round of the Open last year, where Moore had a breakout win. Seven o’clock action could also possibly create a rematch from last year’s Open finale, if John Schmidt can overcome James Walden and Rodolfo Luat can stop Ceri Worts.
Bracket A1
Bracket A2
Bracket B1
Bracket B2
The BCn match in the Chalk-Off Arena for 9 PM will be Niels Feijen against Lee Van Corteza, an intriguing bout in the middle of a Filipino-infested quarter of the bracket. They have played twice in major tournaments this year with split results, each winning the event they defeated the other in. Also at 9 PM, a battle of Kentucky’s favorite sons of pool will commence, as Nick Varner and Shannon Daulton collide. With a plethora of other intriguing pairings, stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for results from the pivotal third round of the winners’ bracket at the 32nd U.S. Open later tonight.

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Second Round Play Informs Speculation on 32nd U.S. Open Favorites

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 16, 2007

Second Round Play Informs Speculation on 32nd U.S. Open Favorites
Some past champions dominate, others stumble in Chesapeake

by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
In a smaller room adjacent to the spacious arena for 9-ball play at the Chesapeake Conference Center, during the dinner break a buffet will be served for avid fans to mix with billiard players and vendors. Four big charts are hung on wall, the brackets that define the hopes and dreams of 233 aspiring contenders for the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. With half of the second round of the winners’ bracket completed and a third chart to be filled one step closer to the coveted right edge of writing space for the weary tournament officials, clear favorites and anticipated matches have emerged for all to jaw about.
In the first round of the day, Alex Pagulayan asserted his claim to the first of four of those charts. With an 11-0 victory over UPA President Frank Alvarez, Pagulayan signaled a return to the merciless attitude hidden behind his gleeful grin that carried him to this title in 2005. Consummate professional Louis Ulrich will be his next opponent, Ulrich himself coming off an impressive 11-5 victory over 2003 Open winner Jeremy “Double J” Jones on the Billiard Club Network table.
There are plenty of spoilers in his way to the final four of the A-side. California’s Ernesto Dominguez continued his strong play, toppling London’s Raj Hundal 11-8 to reach a third-round match with Atlanta’s Steve Moore. C.J. Wiley bounced back from a late-night 11-10 escape over 18-year-old local Curtis Coleman in the first round with an early morning 11-1 trouncing of Naohiro Kawabata and faces Tony Robles next. The other half of their quarter appears wide open, with past Open champion Tommy Kennedy in the mix after an 11-5 win against New Yorker Joey Korsiak. Another potential spoiler is Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, who followed his 11-10 upset of Mika Immonen yesterday with another 11-10 escape against top Virginia Beach player Eric Moore.
Bracket A1 (/BracketA1.jpg)
Bracket A2 (/BracketA2.jpg)
Bracket B1 (/BracketB1.jpg)
Bracket B2 (/BracketB2.jpg)
If the fearsome performances thus far by Archer and Souquet, as well as the chance of a fourth-round finals rematch from last year weren’t enough in this quarter, there is Dennis Orcollo stalking the top of the chart. Having spent last night hopping from table to table in the arena for practice after an unexpected no show by his first round opponent Cliff Joyner, Orcollo topped Mike Dechaine 11-5. 2004 Open winner Gabe Owen has been cleared from his path, as the Florida by way of the UK pro Tony Crosby reversed a 6-1 deficit to claim an 11-9 victory over “The Babe.”
Currently, the third of four match times to conclude the second round is nearing an end, and Marc “Spain” Vidal has broken in the 9 ball to tie Efren “Bata” Reyes 10-10. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for updates from the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships in Chesapeake, VA.

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32nd U.S. Open Begins With Bangs From Past Winners

Posted by insidepoolmag on October 14, 2007

32nd U.S. Open Begins With Bangs From Past Winners

Sternest 9-ball field prepares for draw, Schmidt and Reyes make noise in their specialties
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
The most coveted crown in the home of 9-ball goes up for grabs this evening, as a field of 232 at press time representing 25 countries awaits the opening draw. From aspiring American road stragglers and hungry European stars to the full might of the feared Philippines, the great mix that descends upon Virginia for promoter Barry Behrman’s amazing national title has never been more diverse. From the site of the 32nd U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships at the Chesapeake Conference Center to the backroom action at Behrman’s Q-Master Billiards II in Virginia Beach, the stage is set for greatness from tonight through Saturday.
Efren “The Magician” Reyes is no stranger to the spotlight here. Winner of the Open in 1994 and also the Mid-Atlantic 9-Ball Classic here 2003, Reyes overcame a field of 30 at Q-Masters in a warm-up one-pocket tournament. Falling in the hot seat match 3-1 to Francisco Bustamante, Reyes roared back in the shortened one-loss match that followed, closing the 2-0 victory over Rafael Martinez-Chavez with a 10-and-out run that signaled his intent in the finals.
Reyes flip-flopped the earlier 3-1 result to his countryman, displaying the fantastic strategy and unbelievable offensive firepower that he is known for in the tactical discipline. Reyes is universally hailed as the world’s greatest one-pocket player, but reigning Open champion John “Mr. 400” Schmidt has his own niche. In the revered game of straight pool, known to dedicated fans as the country’s first championship-caliber pocket game and casual enthusiasts as Fast Eddie’s money-maker in “The Hustler,” Schmidt is a master. In the midst of Reyes’ finals triumph in one-pocket in the backroom, Schmidt was out in the front of the building running a new personal best.
“I’ve already bragged to everybody I could about it,” Schmidt said to Behrman as he was being presented with his green jacket for last year’s victory. “I was testing out this OB-1 cue and in my third inning ran 403,” Schmidt continued. The simultaneous level of play at Q-Masters may be a sign of the week to come for the two great champions, even as Schmidt joked, “I heard this was a nine-ball tournament.” In their path stand many greats, some with green jackets of their own, and others with one seemingly guaranteed to be within their sights before too long.
With slight changes to the classic format, a smaller break box, and a champions’ consensus move of the finals to one race to 13 from 11 the most notable, two rounds of play will take place tonight. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for news from the opening rounds of the U.S. Open as the draw for the national 9-ball pinnacle is underway.
Don’t forget to tune into the live broadcasts from the U.S. Open at BCn. The Inside POOL Magazien Xtreme Pressbox will also be broadcast on the Billiards Podcast by Inside POOL Magazine.
View the FREE podcast at iTunes (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=263687352)
View the Billiards Podcast by Inside POOL Magazine list (/pool-and-billiard-podcasts/pool-podcasts-and-videos.html)

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