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Day 3 at Soaring Eagle Masters, We are Down to Four ~ By Mark White.

The first live stream of the day promised to be a cracker, experience against youth, and they don’t come any more experienced than the Duchess of Doom. She would be hurting from last night’s 8-1 defeat to Kristina Tkach, but as Alli posted on Facebook after the match, “Last night I lost to Kristina, 'The Krystal' Tkach, who incidentally played a perfect match, much as it’s not fun losing, it means I need to look at what I could have done better and try to do better, back to the daily grind, coffee, of course." Always ready with that British wit. Alli accompanied the post with this lovely Buddha quote;

Her opponent is an up-and-coming 17-year junior, Kennedy Meyman, nicknamed 'The Smooth Kriminal'; yes, I spelled it correctly. You know what these youngsters are like, the way they spell it should be a krime. Kennedy had a long and hard day 2 winning three matches, 8-4, 8-4, and late into the night, she went hill-hill with the Billiard Bombshell, Emily Duddy winning 8-7.

Kennedy Meyman
Kennedy Meyman, deep in thought at the CSI Expo in Vegas in March 2023

Alli won the leg, had a lovely break, and played an attacking shot on the one to break out the 2, another aggressive shot on a thin 2, and, unfortunately, a scratch off the 3. Kennedy, with ball in hand, ran out the balls and took the first rack. It only took one visit from Allison Fisher M.B.E. You may not know what MBE stands for, well it's M.ost B.alls E.liminated. and she eliminated all nine after an illegal break from Kennedy and leveled the match at 1-1. Rack 3 and almost a scratch on the 9 for Allison, but it hung on the shelf, a bit like me, left on the shelf, so a little warning for Kennedy in that rack after she missed the three ball if she misses too many, Allison will punish you, another nice finish to rack four and the multiple cue sports champion was in full flow and the Duchess of Doom living up to her moniker as she broke and ran f, the next for a 4-1 lead.

A rare misplaced positional shot from the 2 to the 3 meant Alli had to go for the short stick and lost the cue ball off the table. Ball in hand for the youngster and living up to her nickname stole the rack, smooth Kriminal to the Duchess for. A rare failed escape from a snooker let Kennedy back in to win the next, which got her within one. But yet another break and run from the Charlotte-based Brit got her another rack closer to the eight she needs to go through to the quarter-finals at 5-3. A sloppy safety from Kennedy cost her the next rack also, and this is where experience comes in. I remember when I was 17, all I wanted to do was pot balls, and it's not until later in your development do you realize the importance of playing good safeties, and you kind of say to yourself I've had enough of handing my opponents opportunities and then start to make the safety part of the game a part of your routine.

6-3 Kennedy broke, and it was probably the most scrappy rack of the match, which Allison took and experience may be playing a part again in those tactical battles, but Kennedy is so young with so much time to learn, and she will learn from this match. She tried a very tough shot with a massive amount of inside spin, which made her miss the two by a long way, and once again, Alli picked up the scraps to get on the hill.

Alli broke and pushed out in rack 11 and a terrific shot on the one from Kennedy, then missed a two you'd expect her to make, and Allison smelled blood and ran out the table to advance 8-3. Kennedy can take a lot away with her from this tournament. I get the feeling we will be seeing a lot more of Kennedy in the future.

Allison Fisher
Experienced Allison Fisher M.B.E. into the next round

One loss-side Match results

Stephanie Mitchell 8 -7 Ashley Rice

Kaylee McIntosh 8 - 6 Teruko Cuddulelli

Angela Janic 1 - 8 Kyoko Sone

Naomi Williams 2 - 8 Bean Hung

Kristina Zlateva 8 - 6 Joanne Mason Parker

Kennedy Meyman 3 - 8 Allison Fisher

Janet Atwell 3 - 8 Seo Seoa

Loreejon Brown 5 - 8 Savannah Easton

What a blockbuster the next one was billed to be, and it didn’t disappoint, Wei Tzu Chien against in-form conquerer of the Duchess of Doom Kristina 'The Krystal' Tkach.

Wei won the lag and broke in rack 1, a miss on the three from both players in a nervy start as you'd expect, this was a winner side round 3 match, and Wei Wei got away with her miss on the three, and Kristina failed to make contact, and it was an easy run for the Chinese Taipei Puerto Rico Open champion to take the first rack, but it only took Kristina a few minutes to break and run to level at 1-1. Loose safety from Kristina on the one ball, and Wei Wei takes a 2-1 lead. Kristina hit straight back with a break and run to go level again. This had hill-hill written all over it from the start.

A miss on the one for both players was the key to the 6th rack, but again it was Kristina on the wrong side of luck, and once again, Wei ran out to lead again 3-2. This is like a game of tennis both players winning alternate racks and were level once more. I remember sitting there watching, wondering are they going to trade blows all match.

We expected the quality to rise on day three, and these two are not disappointing. Yet another break and run from Chien to retake the lead 4-3, and things started to get away from Kristina but they were both playing with a safety net as the loser would have one more chance, but to come this far without losing a match, you want to get this one out of the way and get an early night. The Krystal is definitely not shining as she did against Allison in the last round, and Tzu Chien is running a wei with it 7-3, and she had a chance to close it out but missed a thin six ball, and Kristina still kept fighting, 7-4. The Krystal is made of strong stuff; she pulls another one back, and after being 7-3 down, she clawed her way back to 7-6. Wei Wei began to crumble, and just when it looked like Kristina was going to take it to hill-hill, she got out of position on the 3. Although she made the ball, she got out of position on the 4, hooked herself gave ball in hand to Wei Wei for the easiest of runouts, Kristina will have to play again, and Wei Wei has some time off.

Heartbreak for Bean Hung, who fought back to Hill Hill with Kyoke Sone. She was on the 8, tried to play a three-rail position to the nine, made the 8, and scratched in the side, must have felt devastated.

Play Diagram
Bean was kind enough to make this graphic to illustrate the horrid scratch and allowed me to use it, Thanks Bean, have a Good Day.

Also, Allison Fisher was zlayed by Kristina Zlateva, and Fefilova Styer beat Jasmin Ouschan, but what that meant was Jasmin would play Kaylee McKintosh on the TV table, and Allison Fisher would step into the booth and swap her Mezz for a mic. It’s the M.B.E. on the M.I.C.

Kaylee Mckintosh 8 - 3 Stephanie Mitchell

Kelly Fisher 8 - 2 Yuki Hiraguchi

Jasmin Ouschan 6 - 8 Margarita Fefilova Styer

Brittany Bryant 7 - 8 Veronique Menard

Kyoko Sone 8 - 7 Bean Hung

Wei Tzu Chien 8 - 6 Kristina Tkach

Allison Fisher 4 - 8 Kristina Zlateva

Savannah Easton 3 - 8 Seo Seoa

Jasmin Ouchan and Keylee McIntosh had another long day and are both drinking at the last chance saloon, and it was the worst possible start for nicknameless Jasmin as she scratched on the break and left a simple one-nine combo and then a mistake on the seven by Jasmin allowed Kaylee back to the table to take the last 3 for a two-rack lead. Interesting point by Dean Roeseler telling viewers that Jasmin had actually asked for the air con to be turned off by her table, which made Allison's ears prick up as she joked, "That's why the table played so tight when I played on it. Why does she get to choose to have the air con off; I'm higher ranked than her".

Soaring Eagle Hotel and Casino
The entrance to the Soaring Eagle Hotel and Casino, Who are you betting on?

Rack 3 went to Jasmin and is on the scoreboard at 2-1 down, and a lovely run out in the next rack to level it at 2-2. I think if I had one criticism of Kaylee, maybe she goes for one shot too many on occasion. She had an excellent opportunity to play a friendly safe and put Jasmin under some pressure but went for a very risky bank. It's the art of knowing when to attack. With table conditions changing because of the heat, you have to be able to adjust, and that could be why she missed that bank—lots of strategies in cue sports. Anyway, 3-2 to Jasmin, and she seemed to begin to get a grip on this game after another mistake on that six-ball by Kaylee this time and Jasmin, who was two down then led by two and a rack later, it was three games clear.

One of the things about the Duchess of Doom is her depth of knowledge of the game. She has such a calming nature in the booth, too, and explains not only what she thinks they will do but why also, it's no surprise she has won so much in the sport, she really is the all-round consummate professional, a true ambassador of the sport.

Allison Fisher
When Allison is done playing, she is the perfect presenter to have in the booth, her knowledge and experience is unsurpassed

Kaylee decided to take a break at that point and came back. Nice break-off, and for a change, she had a shot on the one, but that has been a theme, no break and runs in the first seven racks that I remember. A reverse commentator's curse as I wrote that Jasmin made the first break and run of the match, as Kaylee was under more and more pressure which caused her to miss too many balls, and Jasmin grew in confidence, and Jasmin got to the hill.

Kaylee, ‘The Natural’ McIntosh
Kaylee, ‘The Natural’ McIntosh, making waves in the American Women’s game

Kaylee had her chances but couldn't take them, but she can take a lot away from this tournament and especially the match with Jasmin. She was the highest-finishing American which will give her some confidence, I'm sure. Go hit a few golf balls Kaylee and come back stronger for the next tournament.

Kaylee McIntosh 3 - 8 Jasmin Ouschan

Kyoke Sone 2 - 8 Kristina Tkach

Kristina Zlateva 8 - 6 Yuki Hiraguchi

Brittany Bryant 6 - 8 Seo Seoa

Last 8 match next, Kelly Fisher against Veronique Menard, who came through a very tough match beating her fellow Canadian Brittany Bryant on the hill and just one more win to be guaranteed at least $5,000 with a shot at the big one, $15,000. Already going to take home $3,000.

It looked like Kelly was going to run the first rack, finished on the '50-yard line', then scratched off the 9, 1-0 Vero. Kelly is known as Kwikfire, and she wasted no time in winning the 2nd rack with the five onto the 9, 1-1. They shared the next two racks, and in a bizarre 5th rack, Vero missed a long straight five ball by about 8 inches and came to rest right behind the seven-ball hooking Kelly. Fortunately, all Kelly had to do was go one rail, hit the 5, and it was a straight-in combo on the 7. Kelly cleared up and retook the lead 3-2.

An illegal break by Vero let Kelly straight back in, and she punished the weak break to take another to lead by two racks at 4-2. The rack didn't seem to break very well, but they are racking their own, so she could only blame herself if it was a slug rack.

A bad scratch in the side for Kelly allowed Vero back to the table, but another bad miss on the six this time allowed Kelly back in with just three balls left, easy out, and leads 5-2. Yet another mistake from Veronique and Kelly is getting stronger and stronger as the tournament gets down to the sharp edge of the competition. Champions tend to do that. Maybe they survive an early scare which kind of gives them a kick up the butt and kind of shocks them into action, they go through the gears, and by the semi-final, they are in top stroke. Another break and run for Kwik fire in complete control gets to the hill, and it's an uphill battle for the Canadian from here on in. Well, I am not commentating, so I cannot be accused of the commentator's curse. Actually, I don't believe in anything like that, including ghosts or UFOs, but just as Kellly looked like she had a chance to run the rack and book her place in the Semi-Final, she missed a straight-in two ball. She could probably hear her coach Lionel Payne shouting, "Slow down." Well, it cost her the rack, and Vero gave herself a glimmer of hope as she saves one match point to use the tennis term, seven-three.

Rack 11 went to the Iron City champion, and in the words of Tony Robles, "That's all she wrote." Kelly is into the Semi-Final. Vero is still not out though she goes to do a bit of sightseeing via the very pretty but longer scenic route.

Margarita Fefilova Stye
Kelly’s next opponent for the hot Seat, Margarita Fefilova Styer

Outside results

Kristina Tkach 4 - 8 Jasmin Ouschan

Kristina Zlateva 8 - 3 Seo Seoa

Wei Tzu Chien 6 - 8 Margarita Fefilova Styer

Kelly Fisher 8 - 3 Veronique Menard

Wei Tzu Chien - Kristina Zlateva, Wei Wei wins the lag, breaks, and scratches, gives Kristina an excellent opportunity to get off to a good start, and she did running the rack to lead 1-0. Wei's safety was so strong she played an absolutely perfect full length of the table from right against the rail and hooked Kristina perfectly, and it earned her an opening in rack 2 to tie the match; so important not to let your opponent get away from you early. Wei took a scrappy third rack to lead 2-1 in the race to 8. Wei 3-1 up.

Wei Wei played really aggressively, and it looked like she decided to get the match over as quickly as possible and get to bed and recover for tomorrow. Nice bank on the nine, and she is pulling away 4-1 halfway to the required 8.

This is a really aggressive gutsy performance from Wei Wei. It seems she's going for everything. Played a full length of table 7 from tight on the rail, then missed a mid-range eight, but Kristina looked a bit exhausted. To be honest, she went to the B side very early, and it looks like she's run out of steam. It must seem such a long way back sitting in her chair at 5-1 down.

Wei, in control at the table, had a straightforward lock-up safety and probably played the worst shot of the match so far, with no damage done, and Kristina went back to her chair, looking like she was so tired she'd rather just sit down.

Wei Tzu Chien
The shadow killer Wei Tzu Chien

Wei Wei steals another rack and leads 6-1, and Kristina ambles to the table, bends down to retrieve the balls from the diamond table tray, racks the balls, has a decent break, and a shot on the one. Does the Zlayer have anything left in the tank? Come on, Kristina, one last push. The answer is yes; she breaks and runs, we have the grinder in the booth April Larson, and it looks like we have one on the table, too. Kristina is not ready for bed yet. The only Z's I see are the ones in her name, Kristina 'The Zlayer' Zlateva. 6-2. Another tough run out, but she pulled it off and made it 6-3. Kristina just can't get a look at the one off her break.

The fightback continued; Wei went for a difficult one, missed it, then a scratch, and from looking like she was out of fuel and running on vapors, Kristina found renewed energy and grabbed another rack to get even closer at 6-4.

Rack 11, and it's another cagey rack with lots of safeties, hooks, kicks; and Kristina reached for the Hanshew jump cue on several occasions, and I would say she is one of the top jumpers in the Women's game but just a little off in this match, but she does have all the weapons. Once again, though, Wei lets her back to the table, and it's 6-5. What a turnaround. A little tip for players, just hang in there; you never know what can happen. Kristina looked down and out; now it was Wei wanting her players' timeout. What a game 9-Ball is, sometimes referred to as 'Bingo pool' I wonder who's going to get the number 8 first and whose number is up.

This is a superhuman effort from the Zlayer. She comes from 6-1 down to level the match at 6-6. After such a great fightback from Kristina, it just wasn't meant to be, and it's Wei Wei who goes forward, and the Zlayer is out.

Tomorrow from noon local time, its Kelly Fisher up against Margarita Fefilova for the hot seat, and Wei Tzu Chien will play Jasmin Ouschan, who beat Veronique Menard 8-4.

Final four
Final four Kelly Fisher vs Margarita Fefilova, Wei Wei vs. Jasmin Ouschan

Place Payout

1st $15,000

2nd $8,800

3rd $5,000

4th $4,000

5-6th $3,000

7-8th $2,400

9-12th $1,800

13-16th $1,300

17-24th $1,000

Total $64,000

Jasmin Ouschan 8 - 4 Veronique Menard

Kristina Zlateva 6 - 8 Wei Tzu Chien

Tune in for the semi-final and final on Sunday, July 16th, 2023!


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