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.