Webb Takes First WPBA Title
WPBA Tour Championships / Hollywood, FL
Monica Webb secured her first Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) championship title, winning their Tour Championships over top-ranked Kelly Fisher. The event was held November 13-16 at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL.
Webb’s undefeated tournament journey started with a 9-4 victory over Val Finnie. She then sent Ewa Laurance to the left side of the chart with a compelling 9-4 win, and Jeanette Lee was her next victim, falling in a tightly contested 9-7 match. In the final 16, she met young gun Anna Kostanian, and the two fought to hill-hill before Webb advanced to the quarterfinals.
Her opponent, the number-two ranked Karen Corr, took the first game of the match, but after that Webb took the next three for a 3-1 lead. They traded the next two games after a failed safety attempt by both, and then some back-and-forth play led to Webb going up 5-2 in the shortened race to 7. Corr got a shot on the 4 ball that was intended to be left safe by Webb, and she ran out to get back within two games. Webb left Corr an open shot on the 1 ball in the next, and Corr cleared the table, but Webb then reached the hill when Corr fouled on the 1 ball. After trading innings, Webb forced a foul from Corr on the 3 ball, and Webb took ball in hand to win the match 7-4.
Vivian Villareal and Xiaoting Pan played in another quarterfinal match that was neck and neck until the score reached 3 apiece. However, two critical errors by Pan put Villareal at 5-3 up, and then a failed safety attempt by Pan on the 5 ball gave Villareal the hill. Pan only took one more rack before Villareal, with a stunning one-rail massé kick shot on the 3 ball that ultimately led to her pocketing the 6-9 combo for the win.
Sarah Rousey, who defeated Allison Fisher again for the second time this year, reached the quarterfinals to match up with Gerda “G-Force” Hofstatter. Still high on her success, she took a commanding three-rack lead against the Austrian. Rousey missed a kick shot on the 3 ball in the next rack, and Hofstatter drew a bit closer, but Rousey rallied after trading safeties on the 2 ball and cleared to go up 5-2. Hofstatter’s bad luck continued as she hooked herself on the 5 and fouled, giving Rousey ball in hand and the hill. Hofstatter took the next rack when Rousey left her a peek at the 4 ball. It looked as though Hofstatter would win the following game, too, after Rousey clipped the 9 ball en route to the 2, but Hofstatter scratched on the 3 ball, and Rousey ran out to win 7-3.
In a brutal quarterfinal match that saw Kelly Fisher advance to the semifinals, Helena Thornfeldt never seemed to get composed throughout. A series of errors and rattled balls gave Fisher such an advantage, she was able to win the match in a wipeout 7-0.
Though it’s been 10 years since Villareal has won a title, her opponent in the semifinals, Webb, had never won one, and she was on a mission. However, Villareal is sponsored by the Seminole Tribe of Florida and was playing in their casino. It turned out to be a tight match. Though Webb took a three-rack lead from the get-go, Villareal got on the board when Webb, playing from a snooker behind the 7 and 8 balls, left Villareal an open table. Webb recovered to take advantage of a poor safety and go up 5-1. But if Webb was hoping for an easy victory at that point with two racks to go, she had another thing coming. Villareal fought back to come within a game to make it 5-4, but they traded the next two racks, with Webb reaching the hill. Villareal had the break advantage but missed a two-way shot on the 4-9. With an open table, Webb was able to dish up to make it to the finals 7-5.
“Kwik Fire” Fisher made short work of her semifinal opponent, Rousey, taking a 6-0 lead. A combination of bad luck and a couple of mistakes went against Rousey, and though the crowd was behind her, she was overpowered. In the seventh game Rousey broke, pocketed a ball, and cleared the table to get on the board 6-1. When Fisher rattled the 3 ball, it seemed as though Rousey might get another rack, but she didn’t have a clear shot. She kicked in the 3 but then was forced to play safe on the 4 ball and left it dead center. Fisher could see just enough to pocket it and then clear the rest of the table to win 7-1.
The final match between Fisher and Webb started off fairly evenly, with the first two racks being split. From there, though, Fisher took the next two games to go up 3-1. Unfazed, Webb broke and ran the next rack and then won a safety battle over the 1 ball to knot the score at 3 apiece. Webb missed a one-rail kick in the next, giving the lead back to Fisher, but she quickly tied it back up when Fisher scratched on the 8, leaving Webb only the 9 ball. A failed position shot on the 5 ball by Fisher put Webb in the lead for the first time in the match. When Fisher instigated a safety skirmish on the 1 ball in the following rack, it was she who ended up leaving Webb a shot and handing her the hill 6-4. Webb broke and played safe on the 2 ball; when Fisher kicked at it and left Webb a tricky shot, Webb opted to cross-bank it into the corner. She negotiated another difficult shot on the 3 to get excellent position on the 4, and from there, with four balls left, she painstakingly picked her way through to win her first WPBA title 7-4.
1st Monica Webb
2nd Kelly Fisher
3rd Sarah Rousey
5th Helena Thornfeldt
9th Jeanette Lee
Ga Young Kim