The first break of the 2014 U.S. Open was struck at 10:30 am yesterday morning, kicking off the 39th U.S Open Championship. As opposed to previous U.S. Open’s, the overall quality of players entered in this year’s field produced a lot of tough first round matches. There were a few cases today that you could consider upsets as far as a higher seeded player losing to a lower seeded player but only one case of a relative unknown beating a seasoned pro.
That being said the list of casualties today was pretty long including 2014 World 9 Ball champion Neils Feijen, Rodney Morris, Brandon Shuff, Oscar Dominguez, John Schmidt and Ruslan Chinakov just to name a few. Interesting to note that three of the members that are in the running for the Mosconi Cup team have lost in the first round. It will be interesting to see which of these three is able to mount a charge on the losers side, which could be the deciding factor in the final selections.
Here are some notable score lines from day one:
Max Eberle 11 – Niels Feijen 8
Francisco Bustamante 11 – Nick Malai 9
John Morra 11 – Raj Hundal 8
Jonathan Pinegar 11 – Oscar Dominguez 9
Alex Kazakis 11 – Rodney Morris 8
Shawn Putnam 11 – Ruslan Chinakov 6
Nick Van Den berg 11 – Stevie Moore 6
Kenichi Uchigaki 11 – Brandon Shuff 10
Brad Shearer 11 – Jeremy Jones 10
The Canadians got off to a very good start on Monday, Jason Klatt and John Morra both had very tough opponents in John Schmidt and Raj Hundal. I watched the first bit of Johns match, both players seemed to be playing very well and it was tied at 4 all in the early going. When I returned Morra had taken the lead 10-5 and eventually closed out the match with a good opening round win against a strong opponent.
Klatt was up against former U.S. Open champion John Schmidt and Jason played very well to go ahead 9-5. After a routine miss on the 8 Schmidt brought the score back to 9-8 but Klatt regrouped and won the match 11-9. Going into my match I was really confident in my game, my opponent was a local qualifier who plays at a high level.
It was a combination of things that kept this one close. In summary I am happy with the way I dealt with what was presented to me in this match and I also realize that I will have to improve my play going forward. Paul Potier, Cue Sport Nation instructional contributor, was also in action today and after trailing by a large deficit early on he almost completed a big comeback but was stopped short by an 11-9 scoreline by Michael Yednak.
Klatt, Morra and myself will have the day off on Tuesday and will resume play Wednesday. Unfortunately Klatt and I have drawn each other on Wednesday and only one will be able to advance on the winners side. Morra will play Joe Dupuis on Tuesday night in the second round and Alex Pagulayan will play his first round match against Skyler Woodward early Tuesday Morning.
So far I have noticed that most players are cutting the break with varied success, the wing ball can still go in sometimes depending on how the balls are racked and they are also trying to make the 1 in the side. The allure for making a consistent ball on the break is big and so it should be, but it is a lot tougher with the new breaking rules. We will see if players end up breaking square by the end of the week. Stay tuned as there will be plenty more to come this week!