The beautiful Hard Rock Hotel and Casino played host to the Classic tour for a fourth time and recorded another fantastic event. The crowds were treated to great play and the usual mix of surprises.
Alison Fisher/photo WPBA
As matches proceeded on Thursday, only seeded players Ewa Laurance and Jeanette Lee lost and moved to the one-loss side in the first round and Tiffany Nelson in the second round. Friday, however saw, #1 Allison Fisher, , #3 Xioating Pan, #5 Monica Webb, #8 Gerda Hofstatter, make the final eight along with Dawn Hopkins, Helena Thornfeldt, Melissa Herndon and Kim Shaw.
On the one loss side, players fought through Friday and Saturday afternoon to make the final sixteen. These players included two unseeded players Cathy Metzinger and Lisa D Atri along with Karen Corr, Kelly Fisher, Sarah Ellerby, Ga-Young Kim, Jennifer Chen and Megan Minerich.
The redraw to the final 16 provided drama, as Fisher drew Jennifer Chen, Hofstatter drew Karen Corr, Herndon drew Sarah Ellerby, Thornfeldt drew Cathy Metzinger, Pan drew Megan Minerich, Webb drew Lisa D Atri, Hopkins drew Ga-young Kim, and Shaw drew Kelly Fisher. In this round only two lower seeded players were able to pull off an upset. Gerda Hofstatter defeated Karen Corr 9-8 and Melissa Herndon defeated Sarah Ellerby 9-7 and joined Fisher, Thornfeldt, Pan, Webb, Kim and Kelly Fisher in the quarterfinals
The omni important round to determine the televised semi-finals produced some super exciting matches. Allison Fisher defeated Gerda Hofstatter 9-8, Melissa Herndon defeated Helena Thornfeldt 9-7, Xioating Pan defeated Monica Webb 9-7, and Ga-Young Kim defeated Kelly Fisher 9-7. Fisher would play Hendon and Pan would play Kim in the televised semi-finals.
As Sunday matches began the large Hard Rock crowd, saw Ms. Fisher and Ms. Herndon fight to a 4-4 score at mid-match. From that point forward Fisher took charge and closed with a 7-4 win. The match was highlighted by only one missed ball between the two players, with safety play determining the final score. Match two featured a repeat of the final in the season opening North Carolina Classic in February. Again the match opened with great play and a 3-3 score. At that point Ms. Kim held her break and won game eight on Ms. Pan s break to take a 5-3 lead. When Kim was able to win game nine on her break to post the 6-3 lead, the outcome seems to be determined. Ms. Pan fought back as expected to 6-5 but fell short leaving Kim with a 7-5 win.
The final was again a WPBA Classic final. A determined Allison Fisher began strong and raced to a 4-0 lead. Ga-Young fought back with great offense and closed to 4-3, but world s #1 displayed the form that earned her 10 player of the year selections and over 60 pro 9-ball titles. Fisher won the last three games to claim the title and send the race for player of the year into a three event contest over the last three tournaments of the year.
As the event ended a great success, it should be mentioned that it began on Wednesday evening with a super success as well. A pro-celebrity event was staged following a lavish reception for the players and guests with the purpose to raise monies for Vivian s Kidz, a charitable foundation formed to benefit children. Several sports and media personalities participated in this fun night and silent auction of sports collectables. Congratulations to the Hard Rock and the Seminole tribe on staging a winning weekend.
The sponsors of this highly successful event were The American Poolplayers Assn. as Presenting Sponsor, Brunswick Billiards as Table, Iwan Simonis as Cloth sponsor and Aramith for balls. Ozone Billiard provided sponsorship for closed captioning on the television broadcasts.