Kelly Fisher, a four-time champion of the Predator Pro Billiard Series, had to come back from a 3-2 deficit to ultimately win the second set against Savannah Easton, a 12-year-old American player, and advance to the winners’ qualification stage of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open. Easton is from the United States.
The 2022 Caribbean CueSports International Expo got underway on Tuesday at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan with the participation of 192 professional players from 44 countries. The venue was brilliantly set up. The Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and the Predator World 8-Ball Championship will be held in Puerto Rico after the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open, which is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and features a prize pool of $100,000 for the Open event and $75,000 for the Women’s event. The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series.
Fedor Gorst, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, and Darren Appleton each won twice in the Open competition to advance to the winners’ qualification round. The latter of these players defeated Chang Jung-Lin 4-0, 4-1.
Fisher’s pursuit of a record fifth Predator Pro Billiard Series title brought her face-to-face with Easton on the TV table shortly after she prevailed over Elise Qiu in a shootout earlier in the day. Easton was Fisher’s opponent. This year, Easton has been creating a name for himself, and most recently, he competed in the WPBA’s Sledgehammer Open in Bristol, Tennessee, where he finished fifth.
After defeating Emilyn Callado in the first round in straight sets, the 12-year-old garnered a huge ovation from the Puerto Rican fans for her efforts against Fisher, who was nearly taken to shootout by the child who is dubbed “Roadrunner.”
Fisher gained an early lead in the second set, 2-0, after claiming a 4-2 victory in the first set. After making the 5 with the bridge, the young player from the United States, who will begin competing in the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships on Friday, was able to cut the lead in half and get it closer to tie. After a safety struggle with just the 9 and 10, Easton then leveled the match at 2-2, and a long 8 opened up the fifth game of the set for the junior, who seized a 3-2 lead at that point.
Fisher was able to play a safety, from which Easton was unable to escape, but the ball in hand was returned to the Brit when she missed the 7 totally. A dry break from the hill allowed Fisher to play the safety. But Easton missed a long 9 in the jaw, and Fisher was eventually even again at hill-hill in the second set after Easton’s mistake.
Easton’s fight for a spot in the shootout added another layer of suspense to the last rack, but the strain got to her and she overcut the 10. Both players had a second opportunity to finish out the set, but it was Fisher who was successful in doing so and would move on to the winners qualifier the following day.
Fisher remarked, “What a tremendous player, she has nerves of steel, and definitely one to watch for the future,” in reference to the player in question. “She ought to have had me there, and there ought to have been a gunfight.” I was all over the place, but she made several critical errors in the last stages of the game.
“What a fantastic future she knows she must have, she is a terrific player, and we are going to see her in the future. What a great future she must know she must have. She put me under pressure, she got me, she could have had me, and I don’t want to play her again till she’s 18! I don’t want to play her again until she’s 18!”
“I was this close, I was so near,” said Easton after the game. “I was so close.” “When I was 2-2 in the first set, I had the feeling that I might be able to beat her. When it was 3-2 in the second set and I took that break, I was so excited, but I tried to hold it in as much as I could. It was so enjoyable that I couldn’t believe it when it happened.
Now, Fisher will compete against Kristina Tkach in order to earn a spot in the round of 16. Chia Hua Chen will face Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan in the second round after ‘Amber’ won the first round by defeating Chieh Yu-Chou, the reigning World Women’s 10-Ball Champion. The women’s competition has a number of players who have yet to suffer their first loss, including Pia Filler, Tzu-Chien Wei, Kristina Zlateva, Jasmin Ouschan, and Allison Fisher.
In the men’s competition, the fan favorite from the local area, Alan Rolon, had a lot of support when he defeated Wu Kun Lin in a shootout and then Alex Montpellier to earn a day off and set up a winners’ qualification match against Badar Alawadhi on Thursday morning.
Because of the competitive nature of the field, several notable players were eliminated in the first round, including Ko Ping-Han, Aloysius Yapp, and Ko Pin-Yi. These players must now travel a considerable distance to reach the final 32 and face single elimination.
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