Past Champions Fall, Others Look for Repeats
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
by Lea Andrews
As day five of the 34th Annual U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships draws to a close, some former champions are saving their dreams of repeats for next year, while others continue their march towards the finish line and the green jacket and $40,000 that come with it. The field of 216 that arrived for the event, which is being held October 18-24 at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake, VA, is growing steadily smaller as the end of the week draws near.
2002 winner Ralf Souquet is one such winner still marching on, having arrived in the winners’ side final eight following his victory over Steve Moore. After being tied up 4-4 with Moore, Souquet didn’t allow him to hit the string again. “Well,” acknowledged a modest Souquet, “he didn’t want to win it. Let’s put it that way,” he laughed. “He had some chances—he scratched twice, both times on the second-to-last ball. He could’ve won a lot more games. It could’ve been a much tighter game, because I didn’t play very well. I made several mistakes throughout the match. So did he,” conceded Souquet, “but I managed to get over my weak points and finish the match with quite a comfortable score of 11-4.”
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View the LIVE STREAM from ACCU-STATSFive-time winner (1984, 1987, 1993, 1997, 2000) Earl Strickland is going to have to make his trek towards another jacket from the west side of the bracket, having taken an 11-5 hit from Filipino Lee Van Corteza, a player as modest as Souquet. “Almost every time he broke the balls, Earl didn’t make anything, so he gave me a lot of chances,” said Corteza.
1999 winner Johnny Archer had to go straight from his Hall of Fame induction ceremony to his west side match versus Stan Tourangeau, who managed to mark up two games only after Archer had already marked up nine, and Archer took the next two to close it out 11-2. “It felt good,” said Archer of his first win following his induction, which he called “a great experience.” About the remainder of the tournament, Archer is optimistic. “Just need a good couple of breaks and I think I could be right there at the end.” Also continuing through the left side of the bracket are former champions Shane Van Boening and Corey Deuel, while past champions now out of the competition include Nick Varner, Mike Lebron, and Gabe Owen.
Several players joining Souquet and Corteza in the final eight are “Rocket” Rodney Morris, who won 11-9 over British player Chris Melling; Kim Davenport, who defeated Mike Dechaine 11-8; Demetrius Jelatis, who sent Donnie Mills west 11-5; and Karl Boyes, who bested Jose Parica 11-4.
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