By NYC Grind Contributor, Alison M. Fischer
Here at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach Convention Center, day two of the US Open 9-Ball Championships brought about the completion of most of the second round of action in the winner’s bracket. Each round of competition at the US Open is featuring one live streamed match on Accu-Stats.com for fans around the world to see this historic annual event.
Highlighting the second day of the competition were a number of interesting outcomes in the form of surprise upsets. One such upset sent former US Open Champion and world title holder Ralf Souquet of Germany to the one-loss side much earlier than expected, as Souquet turned up on the wrong end of an 11-10 finish against England’s Lee Brett. This was a strong statement for Brett, who has been building recognition here in the U.S. as both a formidable player and instructor. Another top German competitor also saw a loss already, as Oliver Ortmann was defeated by Israel Rota (11-4).
Warren Kiamco, one of the top player representing the Philippines at the Open, was also ejected to the loser’s bracket, following a strong performance from his Round 2 opponent, Tommy Kennedy. Although Kennedy came out with a big lead in this match…both he and Kiamco were playing strong, but Kennedy’s edge was his ability to capitalize on key opportunities. Kiamco started to make a comeback in the latter half of the match, but not soon enough before Kennedy closed out the win at 11-7. Although Tommy Kennedy won the US Open twenty years ago in 1992, he has shown that he still has the ability to battle with the top contenders of today.
Along with the upsets of Day 2, the second round of the winner’s bracket also featured some dynamic pairings. Two of Canada’s top players were matched up in this round, where John Morra defeated Erik Hjorliefson 11-8. Another top Canadian force at the US Open, Jason Klatt, battled on Monday evening against recent World Cup of Pool champion Petri Makkonen of Finland, and came out on top at 11-7.
Meanwhile, international promoter for Dragon Promotions and top US player Charlie Williams suffered a loss on the hill against Germany’s Ralph Eckert, 11-10. Other top US pros who lost in round two include Rodney Morris, who lost 11-8 to Mario He, and Stevie Moore, who lost a hill-hill fight against relative-unknown Mike Fuller.
On Monday evening, the crowd also got to see one of Qatar’s top player in action, as Hanni Al Howri battled with area favorite Johnathan “Hennessee” Pinegar. This was a tooth-and-nail battle throughout the match, where the two stayed tied closely in battle. However, with the score tied 8-8, Al Howri started to assert control, winning the next two games to get to the hill 10-8. But, Pinegar edged another notch closer after playing a smart runout after Al Howri broke dry to go 10-9. In the following rack, Pinegar had a chance to go double hill, but missed a critical bank on the five in the side, giving the win to Al Howri. This match showcased Al Howri’s high-impact style that draws the attention of spectators, making him one to watch going forward at the Open.
Other top highlights of the night include:
Corey Deuel over Keith Bennett 11-7
Mark Haddad (USA) over Liu Haitao (CHI) 11-9
Nick Ekonomopoulos (GRE) over Tony Robles (USA) 11-4
So Shaw (GRB) over Ernesto Dominguez (USA) 11-10
Today’s action on Day 3 will feature more rounds from the one-loss side, while winner’s bracket competition will continue on Day 4. From here on out, more top players will be seen battling one another.
Some of the buzzworthy matches to look forward to in Round 3 include:
Francisco Bustamante vs Mika Immonen
Thorsten Hohmann vs Efren Reyes
Earl Strickland vs Robb Saez
Santos Sambajon vs Alex Pagulayan
Daryl Peach vs Ralph Eckert
Complete brackets and real-time scoring of matches can be found on AZbilliards: http://usopen.azbilliards.com/index.php
Check out Accu-Stats.com to access the live stream of feature matches in each round of the event.
Stay on the NYC Grind for more of our day-by-day coverage of the 2012 US Open 9-Ball Championships here in Virginia Beach.
To learn more about the US Open, visit www.usopen9ballchampionships.com.
Check out more photos by Alison M. Fischer from Day 2 below: