WPBA U.S. Open / Norman, OK
by Anne Craig – WPBA
The field has been narrowed down to the final four at the WPBA U.S. Open, being held at the Riverwind Casino in Norman, IL, this week. From a full field of 64, it has come down to long-time rivals Allison Fisher versus Karen Corr in the first semifinal match and Ga Young Kim against Gerda Hofstatter in the second.
Fisher, who will be this year’s inductee into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame, had to defeat Kelly Fisher in back-to-back-matches to reach the quarterfinals, where she faced off against Xiaoting Pan, whose last tournament win was the 2008 BCA GenerationPool.com Championship. Pan took an early 2-0 lead in the shortened race to 7, but Fisher brought the score to 3-all after a couple of errors by Pan. She took the lead in the match after winning the next rack, and then when Pan came up dry on her break, Fisher took that game as well to lead 5-3. The ladies traded the next two racks, but when Fisher broke in the final game, she pocketed three balls and was left with an easy layout for the run-out and the 7-4 victory.
Corr and her opponent Vivian Villareal both have been strangers to the winner’s circle of late. The match remained even throughout, though Villareal had a two-game lead at the first. At 4-3 Villareal, “The Texas Tornado” had the break, and though she called “Nine ball!” she came up empty. Corr picked through the rack to tie the score. Corr then took her first lead of the match after winning the next rack with a break and run-out. When Villareal left herself a difficult shot on the 8 ball in the following rack and missed, Corr got that game as well to reach the hill 6-4. A table scratch by Corr after a strong safety by Villareal gave the Texan ball in hand and the next game, but when she came up dry again on her next break, Corr was ready. She pushed out, and Villareal tried for a safe but came up short. Corr played safe on the 1 ball, and Villareal kicked and almost pocketed it, but she left a fairly open table for Corr, who ran out for the 7-5 win.
Ga Young Kim escaped a fairly tight match against Austria’s Jasmin Ouschan to face off against Helena Thornfeldt in the third quarterfinals. Kim drew first blood, but Thornfeldt countered with a 3-9 combo in the second game. Though both players did not seem at their best, the score seesawed to 3-all before Kim began to get in a groove. A break and run-out gave Kim the lead, and then Thornfeldt fouled on the 1 ball in the next game, and Kim dished up to make it 5-3. Kim broke and ran out again in the next rack, making an 8-9 combination to reach the hill 6-3. When Thornfeldt came up empty on her final break, Kim took over, and she cleared the table easily to advance to the semifinals 7-3.
Hofstatter’s last title was nine years ago at the BCA 9-Ball Open Championships, so she went into the quarterfinals against Monica Webb determined. Webb leapt to a 2-0 lead, but Hofstatter parried and evened the score at 2-all. They also traded the next four racks, making it an evenly matched race at 4 apiece. Two clusters in the next rack gave both players trouble, but Webb scratched and Hofstatter was able to clear the problem balls and run out to take the lead 5-4. A dry break by Hofstatter, though, allowed Webb to knot the score again after she cleared the table. Webb then broke and had a pretty open table but missed a cut on the 6 ball, giving Hofstatter the hill. “G-Force” had the break in the last game, and she was able to break and run out to win 7-5.
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