U.S. Open Second Round Hosts Hill-Hill Thrillers and Dominant Displays
Second round unbeaten play concludes, the long trek for one-loss players commences
With a mock-javelin toss of his cue before handling positional difficulties from the 8 ball to an 11-10 victory-clinching 9 ball over Marc Vidal, 1994 U.S. Open 9-Ball champion Efren Reyes thrilled the gallery as he does every year in the Chesapeake Conference Center. In the 32nd U.S. Open, Reyes is in the most difficult quarter of the sprawling 233-player bracket. It is mainly his friends in the Filipino contingent that block the path to another title for “The Magician.” Only two out of the eight third-round matches tomorrow in Reyes’ bracket tomorrow won’t involve the Philippines. Former world 9-ball champion Thorsten Hohmann will play strong breaker Lee Holt, while last year’s fourth-place Open finisher Robb Saez tackles Canadian dazzler Tyler Edey, the winners advancing to play each other in the fourth round.
While Allesandro Torrenti lies immediately next in Reyes’ road, the conditions will be rockier if reigning world 9-ball champion Ronato Alcano makes the short trip to meet him. Alcano oppressed Irish snooker pro Paddy McLoughlin 11-3 and will have road man Chris Bartram next, the Columbus, OH, gambler making his mark with a second-round 11-5 defeat of Paul Potier. The Philippines could see two more all-Pinoy matches in the fourth round in the third of four brackets. Jose “The Leader of the Invasion” Parica advanced to a third-round match with Derek “Chewing Tobacco” Leonard, the winner of which will play either Francisco Bustamante or Joey Gray. While the young Oklahoman was impressive in an 11-5 defeat of Mark Jarvis, Bustamante battered reigning Reno Open champ Rich Orem 11-4 under the heat of the television lights.
If Alcano perhaps reaching a match with his idol and a potential bout of two of the elder Filipino statesmen weren’t enough to cheer The Republic if the third round goes according to expectations, in the top half of the quarter another two fearsome representatives remain. Warren Kiamco will face Dan Louie in the third round, with the winner going against either Niels Feijen or Lee Van Corteza. While the youngest of the Filipino threats slipped past Jason Klatt 11-9, Feijen was turning in his second whipping of the event. Following the 11-1 victory over Don Polo, “The Terminator” expressed the steady attitude required to master this long week.
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Edwin Montal wasn’t one of them. The only Filipino standing in the final quarter of the draw, Montal picked the right round to also be Canadian in. While he trounced Charlie “The Korean Dragon” Williams 11-2, Windsor native and Detroit resident Ronnie Wiseman was similarly overpowering, besting Danny Mulhollen 11-4. Toronto’s young champion John Morra conducted a race with rival Sane Van Boening, wherein the South Dakotan was able to win his match 11-1, Morra finishing just behind him with an 11-2 result. The youngster admitted with a smile that he was watching Van Boening and trying to outpace him throughout his match.
The only Canadian loss of the round came right after the singing of “America the Beautiful.” D.J. McGinley succumbed to dark horse contender Markus Juva, the Finnish player completing a break and run for an 11-10 win interrupted by promoter Barry Behrman’s customary 9 PM announcements and subsequent patriotic ceremony. Juva will play Maryland’s Mike Davis, the Mosconi Cup team member a shaky 11-9 winner over past Mosconi player and Sledgehammer cue maker Mike Gulyassy.
Rodney Morris and Jeff Abernathy will play in the third round, both winning dramatic matches. For 1996 Open winner “Rocket” Morris, the road back from an 8-1 deficit to an 11-9 win over Roxboro, NC’s, Mike Fuller was a harrowing one, while Hickory, NC’s, Abernathy cleaned up from the 4 ball to draw within a 10-9 deficit of Canton, OH, room owner Chris Szuter. The regional standouts proved to be an even game, but Abernathy claimed victory, breaking in the 9 then breaking and running out for an 11-10 result.
2001 Open winner Corey Deuel lurks in the fourth bracket as well and cruised to an 11-5 win from a 5-all tie with Albania’s Ilar Jaho. Nick Varner and Shannon Daulton will have an all-Kentucky third-round match-up, each looking impressive on their way through the second round. The rest of the night will be filled with the beginning of one-loss play, where Mika Immonen signaled his intent to bounce back from a first-round upset by delivering an 11-0 donut to Robert Pierce. If Immonen’s memory of an 11-0 Open finals loss to Deuel has healed, he’ll have the heart to do the near impossible and climb all the way back through the world’s strongest 9-ball field assembled once each year in Chesapeake, VA. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for all the latest from the U.S. Open.