The Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA) went west to sunny Alpine, CA, for their San Diego Classic, being hosted by Viejas Casino April 2-5. Defending champion Allison Fisher is looking to not only hang on to her title but to move up in the WPBA rankings, as this event, being the first of the season, will see the tour’s rankings points reset to zero. This means that whoever wins this event will have a head-and-shoulders start over the rest of the field in the race to be top dog on the tour.
The event has been chock-full of upsets so far, and it’s only one day in. Top-ranked tour player Kelly “KwikFire” Fisher whitewashed Stacy Novak in her first match 9-0 only to fall 9-8 to 24th-ranked Jennifer Chen in the second. In the first round, four-time National Collegiate 9-ball champ Eleanor Callado defeated Austrian wunderkind Jasmin Ouschan 9-7, sending her to face a long trek back through the one-loss side. However, in the second round, Callado was bested by Tiffany Nelson-Crain 9-6. In yet another upset, Holly Sholes met Ga Young Kim in the second round and dealt her a 9-7 loss.
However, most of the top-ranked ladies have made it through unscathed to the third round. Second on the tour, Karen Corr won her first two matches over Susan Williams 9-5 and Ewa Laurance 9-7 and will next face off against the tour’s 2008 Rookie of the Year, Iris Ranola, who earlier defeated Kim Shaw 9-7.
Sweden’s Helena “Sledgehammer” Thornfeldt is going strong, having bested Nicole Keeney 9-4 and then decimating Alice Rim 9-1. Her next match will be against Sholes. Allison Fisher sent Brittany Bryant to the west side 9-1 and then defeated the young Liz Lovely 9-4 and will face off against Nelson-Crain in the third round.
Xiaoting Pan’s next challenge will come from Melissa Herndon, who just survived a hill-hill match against Debbie Schjodt 9-8. Pan defeated first Liz Taylor 9-2 and then Liz Ford 9-6 to reach the third round. Vivian “The Texas Tornado” Villareal is also still going strong, having bested Miyuki Sakai 9-1 and then eking out a 9-8 win over My-Hanh Lac.
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