By Keith Paradise
CSI Staff Writer
As the second day of play got under way at this week’s FargoRate Ohio Open, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp found himself in unfamiliar territory: the one-loss side of a double-elimination bracket.
Defeat is a result that the 25-year-old hasn’t known too much recently, having spent his September winning the CSI Michigan Open and finishing second at the United States Open 9-Ball Championships. But after suffering a rare opening round loss at the hands of Switzerland’s Daniel Schneider, Yapp found himself in a win-or-go-home match against Ernesto Dominguez.
Thanks to some nifty safety play coupled with some timely bad breaks for his opponent, Yapp survived a straight set victory against Dominguez 4-1, 4-2 Thursday night at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio. The young man from Singapore will now face American Allen Bain, who eliminated New York’s Mike Badsteubner on the loser’s side of the bracket Thursday evening.
Dominguez, who coincidentally suffered a first-round loss at the hands of Singapore’s Sharik Sayed, climbed onto the scoreboard first by successfully pocketing a combination shot on the 10 ball. When he left an open shot on the 2 ball after a safety exchange in the next rack, Yapp took advantage by clearing the table, then securing another win with a second successful safety battle. He secured the set with a break-and-run coupled with another successful safety volley after failing to pocket a ball on the break.
The second set again began with Dominguez pocketing the 10 ball on the break to take a quick lead, but Yapp would use a successful jump shot on the 1 ball in the second rack paired with a break-and-run to take the lead. After Dominguez tied the match 2-2, he broke and watched the cue ball get kicked into the corner pocket by an object ball. Now trailing to Yapp 3-2 in the sixth game, he won a safety battle on the 6 ball and looked to be in solid shape to tie the score and send the set to a deciding seventh rack. With the 9 and 10 balls at opposite ends of the table, Dominguez pocketed the object ball but drew the cue ball backwards into the corner pocket, giving Yapp control of the table and a sure victory.
The tournament’s Thursday competition also had a bit of a “turn back the clock” feel, as Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famers Thorsten Hohmann and Mika Immonen as well as a multi-time United States Mosconi Cup participant Tony Robles remained undefeated through two days of play. Both Hohmann and Robles secured straight set victories, with the German defeating American James Davee 4-1, 4-1, and Robles pulling an upset of Estonia’s Denis Grabe, 4-2, 4-2.
Immonen, on the other hand, would have to work for his victory a bit more.
After splitting the first two games of the opening set with American Danny Olson, the 2009 World 10-Ball champion took advantage of a handful of missed shots by his opponent to win three straight racks to close out the set, 4-1. When Immonen took advantage of a scratch and foul by Olson to build a 3-1 advantage in the next set, it appeared the Finland native had his ticket to the next round secured. That was until Immonen missed the 6 ball in the fifth game which allowed his opponent a routine run out and Olson converted a combination shot on the 10 ball to tie the set 3-3.
With a chance to send the match to a deciding shootout, Olson broke and failed to pocket a ball. Immonen executed a table-length bank shot on the 1 ball and attempted to work through a challenging table layout before missing the 5 ball, allowing his opponent to finish off the set and send the match to a spot shot finale.
Olson missed his first shot but made his next two while Immonen made his first two attempts but pushed his third shot wide. After both competitors made their shots in the fourth frame the cue ball was moved back a diamond length on the table. The Hall of Famer was able to sink his attempt while Olson missed his, giving Immonen the win.
Competition resumes Friday at noon local time, with notable matches including Austria’s Mario He facing Naoyuki Oi of Japan, Filipino Warren Kiamco taking on Oliver Szolnoki of Hungary and Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski matching up against Jeffrey De Luna of the Philippines. A live broadcast of the tournament begins at noon on Billiard TV and also will be available on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.
The FargoRate Ohio Open is the fourth and final stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features four open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $130,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino. This competition was played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.
For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com. For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook. Watch replays on Billiard TV or on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel. Photo credits: Matt Porinsky