Whether he’s making an uncharacteristic runout look routine or sending the cue ball and object ball into multiple rails to lock down a creative safety, Chris Melling has always shown the ability to make the difficult look easy.
The 39-year-old from England had all aspects of his game on display in his quarterfinal match in the Aramith 9-Ball Players Championship Saturday night. Facing the previously undefeated Fedor Gorst of Russia, Melling jumped out to an early lead that he never relinquished – easily defeating Gorst 13-7 at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens to nail down the final spot in the event’s semifinals.
“Overall, I thought I played as well as anybody could possibly play. I don’t think I missed a clear shot. I think every time I had a clear shot I made it,” Melling said.
Melling used a pair of breaks and runs to jump out to an early 6-3 lead in the winner-breaks, race-to-13 format. Gorst then won a safety battle and mixed in a pair of runouts of his own to knot the match at six games each. After Gorst missed a combination shot on the 2-ball in the 13th game Melling used a pair of victorious safety battles and a break and run to extend his lead to 10-6. Gorst would scratch out another victory to narrow the gap to 10-7 but was never again a factor as the Derby City Classic 9-ball champion took advantage of a pair of misplayed safeties and a run out to finish off the match.
Gorst, who was undefeated in the event, struggled with unforced errors throughout the match – many times either missing position on a ball or failing to execute a planned safety.
“I didn’t feel comfortable before the quarterfinal. Actually, I made some stupid mistakes and that’s why I lost,” Gorst said after the match.
“I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for Fedor Gorst. What an unbelievable player. If he doesn’t win a couple major events by the time he’s 25 I’ll be amazed,” Melling said of his opponent after the match.
Melling will face Alex Kazakis of Greece in the semifinals Sunday at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Kazekis out-scored Jason Klatt in an overtime sudden death shootout to earn a spot in the Sunday section of the bracket. The other semifinal will pair Denis Grabe of Estonia against Dennis Orcollo of the Philippines. Grabe advanced to the semifinals with a 13-3 pasting of Finland’s Petri Makkonen while Orcollo also needed sudden death to knock off Canada’s John Morra.
The Aramith 9-Ball Players Championship is the first event of the 2018 World Pool Series. This event is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from April 19th to 22nd, 2018. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Aramith, Rasson, Predator, Iwan Simonis, Tiger, and Kamui. Our suppliers and partners are Billiards Digest, CueScore, Let’s Go Print, On The Wire, Outsville, UpState Al, and the WPA.