Final Four Set for WPBA Open
WPBA U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Norman, OK
Only four ladies remain in the WPBA U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, hosted by the Riverwind Casino in Norman, OK. Sunday will consist of two semifinal matches and then the finals. In the first semifinal match, Iris Ranola and Yu Ram Cha will face off, and in the second, Jeanette Lee and Kelly Fisher will meet.
In the first quarterfinal match, Iris Ranola and Sarah Ellerby broke and ran out their first rack, respectively, and then Ranola gained the edge by snapping in the 9 ball. Ellerby missed a 5 ball in the next rack and Ranola cleared the table, and then Ellerby scratched on the 3 ball, allowing Ranola yet another out to make it 4-1 in her favor. After a safety skirmish, Ellerby took the next rack to draw within two games. However, Ranola was on a roll. She broke and ran out and then capitalized on yet another error by Ellerby in the next rack, this time on the 3 ball, to reach the hill 6-2. When Ellerby sent the cue ball off the table while attempting to shoot the 7 ball in the final game, Ranola had no troubles clearing the remaining balls to win 7-2.
Korea’s Yu Ram Cha matched up with Karen Corr in the second quarterfinal match, taking the first rack after Corr missed a bank shot on the 8. Cha took the next two games as well, as she ran out from an empty break by Corr and then pocketed the 9 ball when Corr missed it. But Corr took the next two in a row to make it 3-2 Cha in the short race to 7. Cha came out the winner of two massive safety exchanges to draw closer to the finish line, but her cue ball flew off the table on her following break, and Corr dished up, making it 5-3. Cha reached the hill in the next rack, but Corr wasn’t about to give up, capitalizing on a failed safety attempt by Cha. In the last rack of the match, Corr played a weak safety on the 1 ball, and Cha pocketed the 1 and played perfect position on the 2-9 combination, winning 7-5.
A missed 8 ball by Jeanette Lee in the third quarterfinal match gave the first game to her opponent, Pam Cimarelli (a.k.a. Treadway). Safety play gave the second rack to Lee, but Cimarelli used the same tactic to win the following rack. Cimarelli scored the next with a 5-9 combo. Both missed the 9 ball in the next rack, but Cimarelli sank it, pulling away to 4-1 in her favor. A missed 5 ball by Cimarelli gave a rack to Lee, and then she scored a difficult run-out. She then fluked in the 9 ball off to knot the score at 4-all. A 4-9 combo by Lee finally put her in the lead, and a missed 2 ball by Cimarelli put Lee on the hill. Though Cimarelli made a tough kick shot on the 2 ball in the last rack, she scratched, and Lee cleared easily to win 7-4.
The audience at the Riverwind Casino was treated to a hill-hill match between Vivian Villareal and Kelly Fisher in the last quarterfinal match. Fisher took the first two racks after a couple of errors by her opponent, and though Villareal took the next after a missed 8 ball by Fisher, “KwikFire” pocketed a 3-9 combo to go up 3-1. The score seesawed to 5 apiece, with neither player breaking and running out. Villareal reached the hill when Fisher missed the 9 ball, but Fisher was quick to counter when Villareal missed the 4 ball in the penultimate rack. A lengthy safety battle ensued in the last game, and it ended with Villareal missing a simple 8 ball, with Fisher advancing to the finals.
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