Five Undefeated Rule Straight Pool Roost
Predator Straight Pool Championship / East Brunswick, NJ
by Skip Maloney, Inside POOL Magazine
As day two of the $25,000-added Predator Straight Pool Championships at the Hilton in East Brunswick was drawing to a close Tuesday, August 26, only four undefeated players remained—Johnny Archer, Francisco Bustamante, Nick Van Den Berg and Mika Immonen. A fifth undefeated player awaited the results of a late-night match between Marc Vidal and Dave Daya, both 4-0 as they commenced play.
Defending champion and number # 1 seed Oliver Ortmann followed his 2-1 opening round of play with defeats over Bill Maropolous 100-51 and battled back from a 75 – minus 1 deficit against Mike Dechaine to win 100-94. Ortmann and the player who beat him on Monday, USA’s Allen Hopkins, remained at the top of their group with 4-1 records heading into Wednesday’s final day of round robin play.
Bustamante and Ralf Souquet appeared destined for a final-round battle, though it will not be against each other. Bustamante prevailed over Souquet on Tuesday 100-67. Bustamante went on to defeat France’s Vincent Facquet and Martin Kempter, as Souquet moved on to defeat Tony Robles and Jonathan Smith. Bustamante, at 5-0, sits at the top of that group, with Souquet a single loss behind him at 4-1.
Netherland’s Nick Van Den Berg is also at 5-0 following Tuesday victories over Raj Hundal, Germany’s Sebastian Staab, and Thomas Engert. Engert and USA’s Corey Deuel are two games off the pace at 3-2, with Deuel defeating Liz Ford 100-12, then falling to Hundal in a close 100-96 match.
Mika Immomen followed his 3-0 opening round with a 2-0 second round to join the 5-0 club, defeating Mikes Yednak and Mike Davis. Konstantin Stepanov and Ed Deska, who opened with a 2-1 day on Monday kept pace with a win and a loss each but failed to gain any ground on Immonen.
And Johnny Archer continued to roll through his group, defeating Alan Rolon and allowing Steve Lipsky only 24 balls on his way to victory against him. Poland’s Radoslaw Babica, who entered Tuesday action with a 2-1 record, appears to be in the only position to challenge Archer in that grouping. He defeated Mohammed Hakim 100-46 and was playing a late-night match against Rolon.
The women have flexed their muscle a bit in these matches, although at the close of play on Tuesday, Jasmin Ouchan, Gerda Hofstatter, Liz Ford or Yu Ram Cha did not appear to be in a position to challenge the four front-runners in their separate groups who will be moving on to the round of 32. Ouchan had the misfortune of playing in the group with Johnny Archer, who defeated her on the opening day of play, as did Calvin Coker. She went on to defeat Steve Lillis on Tuesday but fell to Rolon and was facing Babica late on Tuesday night.
Hofstatter split her two-game opening round but dropped all three Tuesday, falling to Bob Maidhof, Danny Harriman, and Niels Feijen. Ford’s lost three, including a 100-12 defeat at the hands of Deuel on Tuesday. Yu Ram Cha is at 2-3, as well, winning one in each of the first two rounds.
At the end of Tuesday’s action, each of the eight groups had either a 5-0 or 4-1 leader. With three games left for each player on the closing day of round robin play in the tournament, the action will be heating up around the players flirting with three or four losses on Wednesday. The top four in each of the eight groupings are going to move on.
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