It’s been a while since World Champion Jasmin Ouschan has competed in the United States.
Having fewer professional women’s events domestically than what were available years ago doesn’t lend itself to traveling to America frequently. Mix in a pandemic and a newly developed second career as a dancing television celebrity in her native Austria and it doesn’t help matters. Total it all up and the last time Ouschan played in the U.S. prior to this week’s Apex Wisconsin Open was the 2019 Women’s Professional Billiards Association Masters, where she placed fifth.
After her two matches on Thursday, she might be wishing she had waited even longer to return. The multiple-time European champion started her day undefeated after a straight set victory over Zach Bos in the opening round. By the end of the evening, she was reduced to a spectator, having suffered back-to-back grueling losses to Denis Grabe of Estonia and Joven Bustamante at the Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino in the Wisconsin Dells.
The Austrian got off to a hot start against Grabe in the opening match, jumping out to a quick lead after pocketing the 10 ball on the break in the first rack of the set. Things quickly unraveled, with Ouschan failing to pocket a ball on the break in the next rack and Grabe taking advantage by winning the next two games. The Austrian had another opportunity as she worked her way through the fourth rack after Grabe broke dry but she missed a routine shot on the game-winning 10 ball. The young man from Estonia then finished off the set, 4-1, after Ouschan scratched while kicking at the 3 ball in the fifth rack.
Grabe used a pocketed 10 ball on the break of his own and victorious safety exchange to build an early 2-0 advantage of the second set, but Ouschan climbed onto the scoreboard when her opponent committed a foul in the third rack. After tying the score 2-2, she used a carom shot involving the 5 and 10 balls to take the lead then used a missed 3 ball by Grabe in the next game to close out the set, 4-2.
After both competitors pocketed their first four shots in the overtime shootout, the cue ball was moved back a diamond and the format switched to sudden death. Grabe made the first shot while Ouschan missed, handing the Estonian the win and moving over to the one-loss side.
Later in the day, Ouschan squared off against Filipino Joven Bustamante, where the two split the first six racks of the first set. Bustamante broke in the set-deciding seventh rack, then played safe and appeared to be in position to run out the rack after a brief exchange – until he missed the 5 ball in the side pocket. Ouschan jumped the 6 ball to pocket the 5, then ran the remaining balls to survive the set, 4-3.
The Filipino jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the next set thanks to a combination shot after a dry break from Ouschan in the opening rack and a break-and-run in the following game. The Austrian cut the deficit to 2-1 after a victorious safety exchange in the third rack led to a combination shot on the 10-ball but Bustamante climbed onto the hill in the next rack when Ouschan again failed to pocket a ball on the break. Ouschan used victorious safety exchanges to gut out the next two games and tie the set and appeared to be in position to clinch the set after Bustamante left an opening after another misplayed safety. After pocketing the 8 ball in the corner pocket, she was left with a long straight shot on the 9 ball which Ouschan missed. Bustamante cleared the table to send the match to shootout, which he won 6-5.
In other notable matches, Jeremy Seaman used three pocketed 10 balls on the break to defeat former World 9-Ball champion Thorsten Hohmann in straight sets, 4-1, 4-2 on the winner’s side. South Dakotan Danny Olson took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent Mario He – including a pair of missed 9 balls in the first set – and defeated the reigning Ohio Open champion in straight sets, 4-2, 4-2. Arcadia Arizona Open runner-up Roland Garcia earned a first set 4-1 victory against Robbie Capito, then watched as his opponent stormed back to claim the final set, 4-1, then won in a shootout, 3-2 to remain undefeated. Capito will now face Canadian John Morra, who needed a shootout victory of his own to squeak by American Michael Yednak.
Friday’s action begins at 11 a.m. eastern time with notable matches including Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton facing fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen in a winner’s side match and Chris Reinhold taking on Roberto Gomez Jr. on the one-loss side. Competitors will be jockeying for one of the 16 berths available in Saturday’s single-elimination phase of the event, with the remaining eight players on the winner’s and one-loss qualifying and the seeding being redrawn before play begins.
The Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.
Hours later, Gorst would pitch a 4-0 shutout in the first round of his match against Dimitris Loukatos, but lost the second set 4-3 and lost in a shootout to the Greek, 4-3. The Russian moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will play Friday morning.
England’s Darren Appleton appears to close to regaining the stroke that landed the former U.S. Open 9-Ball champion in the Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame. Facing Mickey Krause of Denmark, Appleton played nearly flawless in a straight set second round victory.
After Krause used a break-and-run and a scratch on the break by his opponent to build an early 2-1 lead, Appleton took advantage of a foul by his opponent in the fourth rack to tie set then tacked on back-to-back breaks and runs to close out a 4-2 victory. The Brit, reached the second round with a straight sets victory over Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn, was equally crafty in the second set, using two victorious safety exchanges and a break-and-run to build a commanding 3-0 advantage. Krause had a chance to climb onto the scoreboard after his opponent scratched on the break in the fourth game but failed to secure position on the 6 ball and missed a bank shot. Appleton executed a sharp cut on the object ball then finished off the rack to pitch a 4-0 shutout and advance to the third round of the winner’s side of the bracket.
Appleton will face fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen in the third round Friday at 11 a.m. eastern time.
In other matches of the day, Roland Garcia took advantage of a handful of errors by three-time Mosconi Cup member Tyler Styer to earn a 4-0, 4-2 victory and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Immonen needed an extra frame to survive a 7-6 shootout against Michael Schneider of Switzerland.
Competition resumes Thursday morning with notable matches including Denis Grabe of Estonia taking on Jasmin Ouschan at 11 a.m. eastern time, Garcia taking on Robbie Capito at 3 p.m. and Mieszko Fortunski of Poland meeting Hunter Lombardo on the one-loss side of the bracket at 6 p.m.
The Apex Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.
Follow the Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page
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