Reigning World Pool Champion Albin Ouschan and FargoRate Ohio Open winner Mario He are definitely familiar with not only each other but each other’s game, with both calling Austria home as well as competing and traveling together for the last dozen or so years.
In Wednesday’s opening round of the Arcadia Arizona Open at Casino Del Sol Resort, the two acquaintances took turns taking advantage of missed shots and misplayed position as He came from behind to defeat Ouschan in a sudden death shootout, 5-4. The match was one of 11 during the opening day of play which required a spot shot shooting contest to determine the winner – with some notable names now on the one-loss side of the bracket after missing shots during the extra frame.
He took advantage of a couple of early mistakes by his opponent to build an early 2-0 lead in the race-to-four first set, but Ouschan gutted out a pair of racks to the match. After He claimed the fifth rack to regain the lead, Ouschan had a chance to tie the match again but struggled to control the cue ball and ultimately missed position on the 6 ball, allowing He to claim the first set. The tables turned in the following frame, with Ouschan building a 3-2 advantage while He controlled the table with a chance to tie the match. While attempting to pocket the 6 ball and secure position on the 7 on the opposite side of the table, He drew the cue ball backwards and watched as it rebounded off the rail and into the side pocket, allowing Ouschan to close out the set and send the match to a shootout.
Both players were flawless in the first portion of the extra frame, as each deposited the 10 ball into the corner pocket four consecutive times. When the format switched to sudden death and the cue ball was moved back a diamond, Ouschan missed his first attempt while He connected on his and earned the victory.
Meanwhile, Michigan’s Jeremy Seaman is certainly not a stranger to the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, having battled his way into a fifth-place finish at October’s FargoRate Ohio Open. Wednesday afternoon, Seaman continued to show fearlessness and determination, battling back from a 4-3 first set defeat at the hands of former World Pool Masters winner David Alcaide to claim the second set and win his opening round match in a shootout. With the match tied at three games each, Seaman executed a sharp cut on the 2 ball followed by a cross-side bank shot into the side pocket on the 3 ball to help run out the rack and claim the set, 4-3.
Both players made the first two shots during the extra-frame shootout before each missed in their third try. After Alcaide failed to pocket the ball for a second time, the American came to the table and tumbled the 10 ball into the corner pocket to secure the victory, 3-2.
In other notable matches, U.S. Open Pool champion Carlo Biado took advantage of a handful of errors by opponent Jesus Atencio to win in straight sets, 4-2, 4-1 and former U.S. Open Pool champion Corey Deuel breezed by BCA Hall of Famer Thorsten Hohmann, 4-1, 4-1. Two-time United States Mosconi Cup member Chris Reinhold survived a scare from Mickey Krouse of the Netherlands, bouncing back from a 4-2 first round loss to win the second set, 4-3 and win a shootout, 3-1. Reinhold then defeated Roberto Gomez Jr in straight sets 4-1, 4-2 to earn a spot in Friday’s third round of play.
Competition resumes today at 10 a.m. local time, with notable matches including He facing BCA Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet, Japan’s Naoyuki Oi matching up against Filipino Alex Pagulayan and World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis squaring off against Max Lechner.
Live coverage of the Arcadia Arizona Open will be streamed for free on any device with Billiard TV or the World Billiard TV YouTube channel throughout the week. Follow @probilliardseries on social media for up-to-date information, or visit probilliardseries.com for the latest results and live brackets