Fisher Fights Through As Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open Begins
Four-time Predator Pro Billiard Series champion Kelly Fisher had to come from 3-2 down to eventually win the second set against 12-year-old American Savannah Easton and move to the winners’ qualification stage of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open.
At the impressively set-up Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, 192 pro players from 44 countries opened the 2022 Caribbean CueSports International Expo on Tuesday. With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.
In the Open event, Fedor Gorst, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Darren Appleton won twice to reach winners’ qualification, the latter defeating Chang Jung-Lin 4-0, 4-1.
After beating Elise Qiu on a shootout at the start of the day, Fisher faced Easton on the TV table in her hunt for an unprecedented fifth Predator Pro Billiard Series title. Easton has been making waves this year, most recently taking fifth in the WPBA’s Sledgehammer Open in Bristol, TN last month.
The 12-year-old had seen off Emilyn Callado in straight sets in the opening round and earned a huge ovation from the Puerto Rican crowd for her efforts against Fisher, who was almost taken to shootout by the youngster nicknamed ‘Roadrunner’.
Having won the first set 4-2, Fisher took a 2-0 lead in the second. However, the American youngster, who will take part in the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships starting Friday, cut that lead in half after making the 5 with the bridge. Easton then leveled the set at 2-2 after a safety battle with just the 9 and 10 remaining and a long 8 opened up the fifth game of the set for the junior, who took a 3-2 lead.
A dry break from the hill allowed Fisher to play a safety which Easton couldn’t escape but ball in hand was returned by the Brit when she completely missed the 7. However, Easton left a long 9 in the jaw and Fisher was finally level again at hill-hill in the second set.
The final rack brought more drama as Easton battled for the shootout but the pressure showed as she overcut the 10. Both players had another chance to close out the set but it was Fisher who got over the line to advance to winners qualification tomorrow.
“What a great player, she has nerves of steel and definitely one to watch for the future,” said Fisher. “She should have had me there, it should have been a shootout. I was all over the place but she missed some crucial balls at the end.
“What a great future she knows she must have, she is a great player and we are going to see her in the future. I, personally, don’t want to play her again; she put me under pressure, she got me, could have had me, and I don’t want to play her again until she’s 18!”
“I was this close, I was so close,” said Easton. “In the first set when I was 2-2 I thought I might be able to beat her, and in the second set when it was 3-2 and I took that break, I was so excited but I tried to hold it in as much as I could. It was so fun, I couldn’t believe it.”
Fisher will now face Kristina Tkach for a place in the last 16. Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan will take on Chia Hua Chen after ‘Amber’ beat World Women’s 10-Ball Champion Chieh Yu-Chou in the opening round. Pia Filler, Tzu-Chien Wei, Kristina Zlateva, Jasmin Ouschan and Allison Fisher are among the other players still unbeaten in the women’s event.
In the men’s tournament, local favorite Alan Rolon was well-supported as he Wu Kun Lin by shootout and then Alex Montpellier to earn a day off and set up a winners’ qualification match against Badar Alawadhi on Thursday morning.
A strong field spelt early casualties as the likes of Ko Ping-Han, Aloysius Yapp and Ko Pin-Yi all lost in the first round and now face a long road to reach the last 32 and single elimination.
The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Wednesday with six more matches streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV, the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com
Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com
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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 professional tables covered with Predator Arcadia Reserve Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.
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