Fisher Takes Tournament of Champions Title
“I feel like I just won an Olympic Gold Medal,” said an elated Kelly Fisher moments after capturing the 2009 Mohegan Sun International Tournament of Champions title. The spirited $20,000 winner-takes-all event was held at Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino in Uncasville, CT, October 28. Fisher, originally from England and the 2008 Player of the Year, defeated China’s Xiaoting Pan, the 2007 World 9-Ball champion, 4-3 and 4-2 in the final match and was crowned the new women’s “Champion of Champions.” The two semifinals and the championship match were taped for broadcast by ESPN beginning December 27.
“We may look cool out there, but the pressure is just incredible,” said Fisher. “You have to play your heart out when every player is a champion. One or two errors, and you lose twenty thousand dollars. Your emotions are just wild during the entire tournament.”
Nonetheless, of the four international champions in the event, Fisher fought her way to the title. She defeated Monica Webb, the 2008 WPBA Nationals champion, in the semifinal round 4-0 and 4-3. The semis and final matches require a player to win two sets, race to four games each set. In the event of a tie, the pressure becomes brutal with a one-game sudden death tie-breaker.
The other semifinal match also brought cheers from the crowd. Xiaoting Pan and legendary Allison Fisher, who was recently inducted into the BCA Hall of Fame, split sets 4-3 and 4-3. The tie led to a hair-raising one-rack sudden death shootout. Pan won the lag and the break, and after trading safeties, she ran the table to take the match.
Kelly Fisher’s final match against Xoiating Pan was neck-and-neck, featuring precise run-outs and fierce safety play. Fisher narrowly won the first set 4-3, then took the first two games of set two. But Pan rallied the next two games to tie the score at 2-2. Fisher quickly ran the next two racks to close out the championship match.
The crowd gave Fisher a standing ovation when she won the final match. She raised his arms in victory and then accepted the highest single winner’s purse in women’s pool of $20,000. The trophy and the check were presented by Mohegan Sun and Fusion Billiard Tables.
The 2009 event was the Twelfth Annual International Tournament of Champions. Bob Yalen, Director of Sports & Entertainment for Mohegan Sun, was delighted with the brilliant play and the crowd of pool fans. “We will continue to host this event,” he said. “The crowds appreciate watching champions go head to head, and the players were a credit to the sport. We are extremely pleased.”
In addition to the tournament site at Mohegan Sun, the event was sponsored by Fusion Billiard Tables, Aramith Tournament Billiard Balls, Simonis Cloth, Mueller Recreational Products, Executive Billiards, and Silver Cup Chalk. The WPBA-sanctioned event was produced by Billiards International, Ltd.