Ouschan Skates Into Finals
WBPA Tour Championship / Hollywood, FL
by Anne Craig
Jasmin Ouschan came into the WPBA Tour Championship semifinals as one of the hottest players on the tour, having won two events this season. Meanwhile, Jeanette Lee has put herself in contention several times in the past couple of years, searching for her first title since 2001. An interesting side note: all four fifth-place tie finishers had gone undefeated in the event until the quarterfinals Saturday night. Lee is the only player who had come from the one-loss side to reach the semifinals.
As tournament director Steve Tipton introduced the competitors, the crowd stood and cheered as the first semifinal match got underway. Ouschan won the lag and after pocketing the 8 ball was left with a spot shot for the 1 in the corner. Instead she chose to play a safe, although Lee could see the object ball. She made an awesome long-rail bank shot with perfect position on the 2. Taking a deep breath she continued with the 3 ball all the way to the 9, taking game one. Lee broke in game two and made a ball but was forced to push out, leaving Ouschan short rail to short rail for a potential bank in the side. Instead Ouschan forced a short safety on the pesky 1 ball but blinked first, allowing Lee an open shot and an open table. Her position play from the 5 to the 6 came up a bit short and she overcut the thin cut. Lady Luck was on her side and Ouschan could not see the full ball, but her safety attempt was poor and Lee had another open shot on the table. She let out a loud sigh of relief since the cue ball was all of 3 inches from the 6 with an awkward cut long to the corner pocket and it sank dead center. She once again left herself short on the 9 ball, but she cut it in successfully, and she let out a “Yes!” to take a 2-0 lead. Ouschan broke in game 3 but had to play safe. After Lee’s return safety Ouschan kicked the 2 ball in but missed the 5. Lee tried a corner pocket side rail bank shot and missed, giving Ouschan a shot back at the table, and she ran out to post her first game of the match, down 1-2. Lee broke, pocketed a ball and ran the rack to regain a two-game lead up 3-1.
Ouschan made two balls off of her next break with great position on the 1 to answer Lee’s volley with one of her own. She had no problems and the score was now 3-2 Lee. It was Lee’s break, and she pocketed a ball but scratched on the 1 after she had to play a slight massé shot on it. The mistake cost her dearly as Ouschan ran out to tie up the match 3-all. Ouschan broke and made a ball with a tough layout that she had to pick her way through. She did so successfully and took her first lead of the match, up 4-3. Lee broke in game 8 but scratched in the side pocket and Ouschan once again had ball in hand to try and run out for a two-game lead. Her shape from the 4 to the 5 came up short and she tried to play a safe, but that didn’t work and Lee had an open shot to the side, albeit not an easy one. She made the 5 perfectly, then the tough 6 and on to the 9 to tie the match again at 4-all. Ouschan put together a tough break and run rack to retake the lead up 5-4 and had ball in hand in game 10 after Lee scratched again off of her break. She ran out and reached the hill first 6-4 as the crowd applauded.
Ouschan was forced to push out after pocketing 2 balls on the break but couldn’t see the 2 and left the cue ball dead on the rail with the 2 uptable for a tough cut. Lee played pocket speed, and although she missed, she left nothing for Ouschan, who began a safety battle. They went back and forth on both the 2 ball and the 4 ball for several rounds until Lee kicked at the 4 one short rail, sending it uptable and back down for a kick cross-rail bank shot that had the crowd cheering. She even left herself perfect on the 5 ball. She ran out and was back to within one game down 5-6 with the break in game 12. Lee broke and made a ball, with an open table knowing she had what it takes to tie the match up and come back to win. She pocketed each ball methodically and tied at hill-hill. Ouschan had the break in the final game and pocketed a ball but was left with a safety, which she executed well. Lee was forced to kick one long rail and missed it entirely, giving Ouschan ball in hand and the opportunity to take this match and move into her third finals of 2009. With a fist pump and a shout, she made the 9 and Lee finished tied for third for the second year in a row at this event.
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