Contenders Emerge in Second Day of Play

Top male and female pros steer through second round
By Paul Berg, Inside POOL Magazine Staff
As stifling and certain as the desert heat of Las Vegas, the power of the Philippines in men’s 9-ball is on display at the 9-Ball Championships. With a tactical 11-6 victory over countryman Marlon Manalo, Francisco Bustamante advanced to the third round of undefeated play tomorrow, where he will meet Santos Sambajon Jr., who is fresh off an 11-5 thumping of defending champion Ralf Souquet. While his Mosconi Cup teammate Marcus Chamat showed tenacity, the Swede was felled 11-7 by Dennis Orcollo, leaving the only non-Pinoy victory during their scheduled match time to Niels Feijen. His 11-3 demolition of Tony Crosby certainly showed Feijen to be ready for the Filipino-loaded quarter of the draw that remains in his path.
The last of the second round is in progress currently, with marquee match-ups including Corey Deuel against Jose Parica, Fabio Petroni facing Charlie Bryant, Mika Immonen taking on Paul Potier, and Florida competitors Earl Strickland and Robb Saez. In earlier second-round play, Ronnie Wiseman edged past Rodney Morris 11-10 and will move on to play Thomas Engert.
Also in the daytime session of the second round, Raj Hundal undid Larry Nevel’s fine first-round work of besting Johnny Archer, the English potter topping “The Truth” by an 11-8 score and moving on to face Mike Davis. While Warren Kiamco is the only Filipino lurking in the lower half of the winners’ bracket, more attention will likely be paid to a slated contest between young John Morra and Shane Van Boening. Morra has topped 2004 BCA Open champion Tony Robles 11-8 and 2004 U.S. Open champion Gabe Owen 11-10, while Van Boening toppled Charlie Williams double-hill in his second-round outing.
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While the women’s event also features 64 of the finest players in the world, there seems to be less early collisions amongst the favorites. In this evening’s latest action, Jeanette Lee and Gerda Hofstatter cruised through their matches to set up a highly anticipated match between the two great champions. Vivian Villarreal has suffered the only significant upset thus far in the women’s draw at the hands of capable Miyuki Sakai. Both of Sakai’s matches have been 9-8 thrillers, her first over back room phenomenon Rachael Abbink.
In the remaining second-round action of the night for the women, Melissa Little and Monica Webb will square off, and in another great match, Sarah Rousey will try to topple Ga-Young Kim. Some interesting pairings have already been made for the third round beyond the Lee/Hofstatter tilt, including recent WPBA Great Lakes Classic winner Xiaoting Pan against petite and lethal Jennifer Chen, and Karen Corr facing Tiffany Nelson. Stay tuned to for updates from the Championships in Las Vegas all week long.