Rocket Shoots His Way Into Final 16 Winners
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
by Lea Andrews
1996 U.S. Open champion “Rocket” Rodney Morris is vying for a repeat at the 2009 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships, arriving on the final 16 on the winners’ side following a tight match-up with Corey “The Prince of Pool” Deuel. The two men are part of the field of 216 gathered at the Chesapeake Conference Center in Chesapeake, VA, October 18-24 for the 34th Annual US Open Championships.
Morris got off to a strong start against Deuel, leading the way at 6-3, but Deuel took rack 10 to make it 6-4, and back-to-back break and runs tied it up at 6 apiece. Nothing fell for Deuel on the break in rack 13, and after Morris’ push-out and some back-and-forth safeties, Deuel got control and seemed to be on his way out. When he got out of line on the 9, though, the tables turned. His bank attempt came up short, though the speed was just right to leave Morris with a very tough cut. He nailed it to get ahead 7-6, but Deuel tied it back up when Morris broke dry. Morris came out on top of rack 15, and his 9 on the break in rack 16 put him up 9-7. After getting ball in hand following a great safety on the 3 ball in rack 17, Morris was on the hill 10-7, but Deuel wasn’t ready to give up. He navigated the rack that Morris left on a dry break to make it 10-8, and after Morris found himself hooked on the 2 ball in rack 19, Deuel took ball in hand to get within one. But he could get no further. It was Morris who topped the safeties in the final rack, and though he came up short on position on the 9 ball, he sliced it in, urging it on with a shout as it dropped. “I felt nervous, as I always do,” said Morris of his match, “but that’s a good thing. The fact that I’m actually cued in and thinking the way I need to think is good.”
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Also in the final 16 is British former snooker player Chris Melling, who missed the feel of his 12.5-ounce snooker cue with its 8-millimeter tip during his hill-hill victory over Japanese player Tomoo Takano, who was responsible for sending last year’s runner-up, Ronnie Alcano, west earlier in the event. “I wish I had it back, but on the other end, there’s so much more you can do with an American pool cue,” said Melling, who now plays 9-ball and 10-ball exclusively.
Jose Parica earned his spot in the final 16 with his 11-9 win over 2007 champion Shane Van Boening, while Karl Boyes made it with an 11-5 win over Charlie “Hillbilly” Bryant. Out of the competition is Oscar Dominguez, who fell 11-9 to Matt Clatterbuck; Cliff Joyner, who fell 11-4 to Majed Alazemi; and Oliver Ortmann, the 11-7 victim of fellow countryman Thorsten “The Hitman” Hohmann.
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Photo courtesy Rodney Andrews/Inside POOL