Players Advance and Fall at US Open 9-Ball
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
by Lea Andrews
Charlie “The Korean Dragon” Williams, who found himself on the left side of the bracket of the 34th Annual U.S. Open Championships following an 11-9 loss to one of North Carolina’s finest, Keith Bennett, is still in the running after a decisive win over 2004 U.S. Open champion Gabe Owen. As play continues from October 18-24th at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake, VA, the original field of 216 becomes ever smaller.
Williams kept a strong lead over Owen throughout their match, getting up 6-2, 7-4, and 10-4. When he broke open rack 15, nothing fell for him, and Owen cleared the table cleanly and efficiently to make it 10-5. Owen’s comeback, if there were to be one, would have to be now. The cue ball ricocheted off another ball into the foot pocket on the break, though, and all he could do was wait to see if Williams could navigate the rack. Once Williams got past the 3 ball, which could go only in the side, the rest of the rack looked to be paint-by-numbers for a player of Williams’ caliber. When he came up a little bit short, (“A lot bit,” he later quipped) the path to the winning 9 ball wasn’t quite so simple. What should have been a simple two-rail shot turned into a very thin cut up the rail with a three-rail Z-pattern path to the 9 ball, which was sitting on the foot cushion. “I practice that shot a lot, actually,” explained Williams, who hit it perfectly to take the match 11-5. “I’m good at cut shots. I just tried to put myself in the moment, just making sure I didn’t over-hit it.” Williams went on, “You know, it’s a lot of pressure to finish the match out, and you have a tendency to overamp. I just reminded myself not to hit it too hard, and it went in.”View the U.S. Open 9-Ball Double Elimination Tournament Brackets 1 (updated continuously)
View the U.S. Open 9-Ball Double Elimination Tournament Brackets 2 (updated continuously)
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Williams joins the growing list of those responsible for ousting crowd favorites: Ricky Yang, who won 11-5 over Ronnie Alcano; Matt Clatterbuck, who got a wish granted from Ryan “The Genie Man” McCreesh and knocked him out 11-9; and Manny Chau, who won 11-7 over Nick Varner, a back-to-back champion in 1989 and 1990.
Tonight’s 10 p.m. round will feature eight winners’ side matches, including Steve Moore versus 2002 champion Ralf Souquet, Chris Bartram versus Jeremy Sossei, and Lee Van Corteza versus five-time winner Earl Strickland.