See and Murphy Advance to US Open 10-Ball Hot Seat BoutThrillers on the A-side, six left with one loss in fourth Qlympics main event
by Paul Berg, InsidePOOL Magazine Staff
In dramatic contests with a certain déjà vu quality compared to their victories last night, Huidji See and Shannon Murphy have continued undefeated runs to the penultimate step to the top of a Qlympics podium. Both escaped 11-10 tonight in U.S. Open 10-Ball play at the Clarion Conference Center in Louisville, and can focus on their bids for straight pool supremacy until the winners’ bracket final on Thursday. For the young all-around threat from Cincinatti, OH, it would take another comeback against a veteran, while See would have to hold on to a second lead against a dangerous foe.
Rafael Martinez-Chavez is a consummate professional with champion-level skills in all games, the type that Murphy aspires to be. Having upended another touring regular and in-state competitor in Columbus’ Chris Bartram from a 7-2 lead last night, Murphy started working back down 6-3 against Martinez and the alternate break. He was only able to momentarily close the gap to 6-5, as Martinez escaped spinning cue bumps of other balls for position repeatedly on his way to a 10-7 edge.
Murphy showed resolve, clearing at any opportunity as Martinez’s break faltered, and then capitalizing when Martinez took one chance too many, bumping the 10ball with only one other left on the table and getting hooked for position. Murphy cleaned up, and then ran out from Martinez’s empty break for a tie at ten games each. His own break pocketed the 4 and 6balls, and Murphy executed two slices down the rail in succession with opposite spins to get to the 3ball. There, the 21 year-old checked the 5-10 combination in the side, and rolled from the 3ball to it, knocking it off for the 11-10 victory. Martinez was stuck in the chair for the last two racks the same way Bartram had been, and will have to work his way back from the loss after playing straight pool tomorrow.
Holland import See jumped on Atlanta resident Louis Ulrich 4-1 at the outset of their match, and like the lead he managed to maintain against John Schmidt the night before, See would stay in control until the climax. Ulrich took four straight from that initial advantage, tying the match at four with a well executed three foul and breaking and running for a brief 5-4 lead. Utilizing strong defense and a few fortunate rolls, crucially kissing into a shape for a razor thin 2-10 carom to go up 9-5, See seemed to be in control. Occasional spurts of trouble with the cue ball on the break kept him from ever running away however, and like the night before, See watched a top player rally only to fall short. Ulrich brought the score to hill-hill, but after a sequence of safeties for every ball in the case game, See got a suitable look at the three to run out from, and claimed an 11-10 ticket to the winners’ bracket final with Murphy.
There is a European on the one-loss side also, as Finland’s Joonas Ohtonen continues to stay in the mix he followed to the Great Southern Classic II in Atlanta after extending his trip to the states beyond the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. Ohtonen has notched victories over Tony Mougey and Jason Miller. The lanky Finn will have Dee Adkins, who came through an all-Ohio hill-hill comeback win over Bartram, the second one the reigning Derby City St. Louis Louis award winner suffered in two nights. In a match that will deal the loser a cashless finish and a 7th/8th place tie, the winner of Ohtonen and Adkins can look forward to Ulrich.
Bartram’s road partner lost to him in the first round, but Jason Klatt will play for a shot at the cash after wins over weeklong after-hours nemesis Adam Behnke and David Dlugach. Klatt’s opposition will come from Gabe Owen, who is fortunate to have so many different colors and styles of Mueller embroidered shirts to sweat through, because the charts are keeping him the busiest. With an 11-9 victory over Schmidt that was tight throughout, Owen kept his hopes in 10-Ball alive to go along with his unbeaten run in the U.S. Open 14.1 Straight Pool Championship thus far and his second place finish in the One Pocket last week. Rafael Martinez awaits the winner of Klatt and Owen, another strong contender in the all-around race.
In daytime straight pool action tomorrow, Owen and See will clash alongside Martinez and Miller in the final four of the winners’ bracket. A ring game is also in the offing, as the boys from TheActionReport.com are at it again. Currently, it stands at a six man affair with a $250 stake each, with $500 added by the promoters for a $2,000 winner take all race to thirteen games. Murphy, Adkins, Ohtonen, Behnke, Bartram and Ulrich are slated to be the competitors. Stay tuned to InsidePOOLmag.com for inevitable adjustments to that humdinger and all the latest from the Qlympics in the home of bank pool.
Correspondent’s note: Your IP correspondent would like to thank fellow site scribe Tom Fryer, inimitable local railbird Stan “Candyman” Mutt and tournament director Ken Shuman for contributing information to these reports. Hit ’em where you want to guys, and again, thanks for the extra eyes, ears and melons.