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.