Reigning women’s World 10-Ball Champion Chieh-Yu Chou and fellow countrywoman Shui Ching Chiang took turns stealing defeat from the jaws of victory Thursday night.
Playing in their first-round, winner’s bracket match in the women’s Apex Wisconsin Open, each player seemed to make a costly mistake almost immediately after gaining an advantage – only to watch their opponent hand the match right back to them. In the end, Chou prevailed in a straight sets victory, defeating Chiang 4-3, 4-3 at Ho-Chunk Gaming in the Wisconsin Dells.
Chou built an early 3-1 advantage then missed a pair of shots in consecutive games that allowed Chiang to tie the score. After trading safeties in the deciding rack, Chiang appeared to be in position to close out the set but lost control of the cue ball and missed the 5 ball in the corner pocket, allowing Chou to return to the table and clear the remaining balls to seal a 4-3 victory.
After splitting the first two racks of the next set, Chou was on her way to taking a 2-1 lead but scratched after pocketing the 10 ball. Chiang had a chance to steal the following rack and increase the lead when her opponent missed the 6 ball but missed a makable 10 ball in the corner pocket. Chiang had another chance to grab the lead in the fifth rack when her opponent could not land a ball on the break but she missed the 4 ball, handing her opponent a one game lead instead.
Standing at the table with a chance to close out the match, Chou misplayed position on the 3 ball and left a wide-open table after a jump shot attempt, allowing her opponent to tie the match. In the deciding rack, Chiang had an opportunity to clinch the set and send the match to a shootout until she missed the 4 ball in the corner pocket, handing her opponent another 4-3 win.
Russia’s Kristina Tkach also survived an opening-round scare against Spain’s Mayte Ropero to advance in straight sets.
Ropero jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage thanks in part to a couple of missed shots by her opponent, who clawed back to tie the match in the second half of the set. The Russian then used lengthy safety exchanges on the 2 and 6 balls along with the navigation of a tough table layout to claim the deciding rack and win the set, 4-3.
In other notable matches on the winner’s side, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Allison Fisher defeated Canada’s Brittany Bryant in straight sets, 4-3, 4-0.
The Spaniard was able to snag the opening rack of the second set when Tkach misplayed position on the 7 ball but allowed the Russian to tie the match when she failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next game. Tkach had a chance to grab her first of the set in the third rack but misplayed position on the 10 ball, watching the cue ball drift into the jaws of the side pocket yet stay on the table. She kicked at the ball and pocketed it into the corner pocket but failed to call the pocket, allowing Ropero take ball-in-hand and the lead. Tkach snagged a rack back to tie the set, then took advantage of a missed 10 ball by her opponent to break the deadlock, then broke and ran to close out the match.
On the winner’s side of the men’s bracket, Fedor Gorst survived a scare from American Jesse Engel to remain unbeaten and advance to the single-elimination stage.
After splitting the first two games, Engel used a foul by his opponent take the lead but a dry break in the next game allowed Gorst to tie the score. After using a safety exchange to take a 3-2 lead, Gorst had a chance to close out the set but missed a bank shot on the 2 ball into the side pocket, enabling Engel to run out to tie the score. With a chance to take the set, the American missed a long shot on the 1 ball and left a sharp cut on the ball which Gorst deposited into the corner pocket and ran out to win the frame, 4-3.
After splitting the first two racks of the second set, Gorst used successful safety exchanges on the 1 ball in back-to-back games to build a 3-1 lead then capitalized on a missed shot by his opponent in the next rack to seal the victory.
Action resumes Friday morning at 9 a.m. local time with one-loss side competition on the men’s side, including defending champion Alex Kazakis looking to stay alive against Joven Bustamante and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Mika Immonen facing American Paul Song.
Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International. A schedule of televised matches will be posted daily on the Pro Billiard Series and CSI Facebook and Instagram pages.
The Apex Wisconsin Open is the second tournament of the season for this year’s Predator Pro Billiards Series schedule. The Pro Billiard Series is a series of open, professional events held around the world to provide more opportunities for professional and aspiring pool players to compete in high-quality events, earn more income, sharpen their skills, and earn their way into the Predator World 10-Ball Championship held in Las Vegas each year as part of the CueSports International Expo.
The Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series by CSI feature six open professional events during the calendar year. Created by league operator CueSports International together with the Predator Group, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the following year Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held during the annual CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
These events are played on Predator Apex Pro tables covered with Predator Arcadia Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.
CueSports International (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader and is currently comprised of three divisions: CSI Leagues, CSI Events and CSI Media. CSI Leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, CSI Events produces numerous amateur and professional events around the globe and CSI Media creates live streaming and digital content. Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is “shaping the future of pool.” For more information about CSI or any of its divisions, visit www.playcsipool.com.
Predator’s mission is to inspire billiard fans by providing innovative experiences and products that deliver high-performance, with unsurpassed class and style. Predator, Poison and Uni-Loc are Predator Group brands that focus on performance pool tables, cues, billiard accessories, and precision components. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit www.predatorcues.com, www.poisoncues.com and www.uni-loc.com.