With eight players competing for the four remaining spots in the quarterfinals of the Aramith 9-Ball Players Championship, many of Friday night’s matches came down to the wire.
Canada’s John Morra and Jason Klatt, England’s Chris Melling and Denis Grabe from Estonia all advanced from the one-loss side and will face the final four players remaining on the winner’s side of the bracket beginning Saturday morning.
Morra appeared in control through most of his match against Lee Vann Corteza of the Philippines, jumping out to an early 7-0 lead in the winner-breaks, race-to-11 format. With elimination on the line, Corteza wasn’t about to go quietly as he slowly strung together a few wins – at one point cutting the deficit to 8-5. That was as close as the Filipino would get, however, as the Derby City Classic 9-ball runner-up closed out the match, 11-7.
Countryman Klatt found himself in an even tougher battle with Finland’s Mika Immonen. The two men traded games back and forth throughout the match, with the score tied after 16 games until Klatt pulled away to win, 11-8.
Grabe battled Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov in the featured match of the night, with both men taking advantage of mistakes, miscues and missed shots in a contest which remained tight from the beginning. Leading 9-8, Chinahov missed a 2-ball in the corner pocket in the 18th game and allowed Grabe back to the table to tie the match. Grabe then used a fortunate roll on the 3-ball in the 19th game and another missed 2-ball by Chinahov to close out the set, 11-9.
Melling jumped out to a fast 5-0 lead against Albania’s Klenti Kaci but watched as the two-time World Pool Series victor clawed back into the match, knotting the score at eight games apiece. Melling would rally, winning three of the final four games, to close out the match and head to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Shortly after the final match concluded at Astoria’s Steinway Billiards the brackets were randomly re-drawn as the tournament transitions to single-elimination for the remainder of the event. Additionally, the matches will now expand to a race-to-13 in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Saturday’s slate begins at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time when Petri Makkonen of Finland takes on Grabe. The second match will pair Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines against Morra at 2 p.m. and Alex Kazakis will play Klatt in the third quarterfinal at 5 p.m. Russia’s Fedor Gorst will take on Melling in the final match at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
The winners of Saturday’s matches will move on to Sunday’s semifinal matches, with the winners moving on to play in Sunday evening’s race-to-17 final.