Leaving Astoria’s Steinway Billiards Friday night, Estonia’s Denis Grabe felt fortunate to avoid elimination in this weekend’s Aramith 9-Ball Players Championship.
Feeling fatigued, Grabe went back to his room and got a good night’s sleep. He arrived feeling rested and confident and the performance difference Saturday morning was night and day.
Playing in the opening match, Grabe ran six consecutive racks and cruised past Petri Makkonen of Finland, 13-3, in a contest that took a mere hour and 15 minutes. After the match, Grabe felt the rest as well as a pinpoint accurate break shot were critical reasons for the turnaround.
“I’ve been playing quite well the past month so my confidence was quite high and my break was working really well so that helps a lot in 9-ball,” Grabe said. “I was playing near perfect so I can’t ask for more.”
The dominating performance was a stark contrast to his previous match roughly 14 hours before. Playing in his fourth match of the day, Grabe and Ruslan Chinahov of Russia seemed to take turns with unforced errors. Chinakhov led 9-8 but missed the 2-ball in the corner pocket during the 18th and 19th games, allowing Grabe to close out the match and advance to the weekend.
“Yesterday wasn’t so good. Yesterday I was lucky to win against Ruslan. The match was not pretty,” Grabe said.
Grabe will play the winner of the 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time match between Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines and Canada’s John Morra.
With his match completed shortly after noon, Grabe now has plenty of time to rest before Sunday morning’s semifinal match. He said he might use the rest of the day to take in some of the city’s attractions before preparing for tomorrow.
Grabe and Makkonen were the first of four quarterfinal matches today. After the Orcollo and Morra match Greece’s Alex Kazakis will play Jason Klatt of Canada at 5 p.m. The action concludes with Russia’s Fedor Gorst taking on England’s Chris Melling at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The winners of Saturday’s matches will move on to the semifinals Sunday.
As the Aramith 9-Ball Players Championship reaches its final stages the Simonis 9-Ball Players Challenge got underway, with 16 players including some who have been eliminated from the main event competing in a second-chance tournament.