Four Players Return to U.S. Open 9-Ball
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
Only four players remain to try for the lion’s share of the $50,000-added prize purse at the 35th U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships. In the first round of the evening, “Rocket” Rodney Morris lived up to his nickname and went through his match against Thorsten Hohmann like a shot. Morris held a 6-0 lead on the German before Hohmann even put a bead on the wire. Morris only allowed his opponent to claim one more rack before winning the match 11-2, sending Hohmann home in ninth place.
Newly inducted Hall of Fame member Francisco Bustamante followed Hohmann soon after, as Ralf Souquet dealt him an 11-5 loss. The 2007 champion, Shane Van Boening, was quick to follow. Corey Deuel led their match throughout and was able to oust Van Boening 11-8. Lo Li-wen was the last to go, as Warren Kiamco sent him packing after their lengthy 11-9 match.
In the winners’ bracket, defending champion Mika Immonen galloped to a 6-0 lead over Canada’s Jason Klatt as if he and Morris were racing. Klatt almost turned the match around, getting to within two racks at 6-4, but Immonen was too determined to add the third trophy to his collection and won the next five in a row to win 11-4.
The second round of the evening saw three very close matches in which it was impossible to predict the winners. On the one-loss side, Kiamco, the last Filipino standing, edge out the last German, Ralf Souquet. Kiamco held a one-rack lead for most of their match until the very end, when he surged ahead to win 11-8.
Morris held the lead the majority of the time during his one-loss side match with Deuel. It was only after the score was knotted at 8 that Deuel took the lead, winning two in a row to reach the hill. Morris took one more rack, but one only—Deuel won their match 11-9 and deposited Morris into a seventh-place tie with Souquet.
The winners’ bracket match was a back-and-forth affair between Darren Appleton of the U.K. and Spain’s David Alcaide. Though Appleton held the lead early, Alcaide soon claimed it from him, going up 6-5. After the score leveled at 8-8, though, Appleton wrested the lead back, and he stayed ahead, crossing the finish line with an 11-8 victory.
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After three such close matches, the final round of the evening was rather anticlimactic. Both matches were in the one-loss side to determine fifth place. Kiamco matched up with Alcaide, and though they stayed level during the first half, Kiamco left Alcaide behind in the second, speeding to an 11-5 victory. And in the other match, Deuel and Klatt split the first two racks, and that was the last time Klatt took a game. Deuel won ten racks in a row to stay alive for Saturday and a chance at the $40,000 first-place prize.
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