Top Four Return to the U.S. Open 9-Ball
U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships / Chesapeake, VA
Many fine players were eliminated from the 36th U.S. Open 9-Ball Championships Friday, with only the top 6 returning Saturday to collect their piece of the $175,000 prize purse. Defending champion Darren Appleton will face off with former champ Alex Pagulayan in the hot seat at 1 p.m., while Shawn Putnam and Dennis Hatch will go head to head in the quarterfinal match.
Appleton sent Johnny Archer west in a tight 11-9 match and then went on to face down Putnam 11-7 to reach the hot seat match. In the bottom bracket, Pagulayan breezed through reigning 10-ball champion Huidji See of the Netherlands 11-3 to face Larry “The Truth” Nevel, who had just bested Japan’s Kenichi Uchigaki 11-9. Pagulayan held the lead in his match with Nevel, who, down 9-5, missed a bank shot on the 6 ball and stabbed the floor with his cue, smashing the shaft. Pagulayan reached the hill after that rack, and though Nevel put another couple racks under his belt, after a failed attempt at a bank in the last rack, Pagulayan ran out for the 11-7 win.
Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour regular Hatch was taking care of business on the west side of the chart, routing Johnny Archer and sending him home in ninth place. Their score was tied 4-all when Archer allowed Hatch to the table and never saw it again, as Hatch ran the set out to win 11-4. Hatch then turned Filipino champ Warren Kiamco’s lights out in the following round, eliminating him 11-5.
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After his winners’ side match loss, Nevel went on to face Hatch, with “The Hatchetman” dominating completely. Up 9-3, Hatch pushed out after his break, and Nevel took a swing at the 1 ball and scratched, handing Hatch the hill and then forfeiting the next rack to hand the match to Hatch 11-3.
Putnam defeated reigning world 9-ball champion Yukio Akagariyama 11-9 only to be sent west by Appleton 11-7. From there he held a 10-4 lead over See, who attempted a comeback and won the next four racks, but Putnam shut him down 11-7 to return Saturday.
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