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02-14-2005, 07:26 AM
World's No. 1 captures WPBA tourney crown

By Jeff Gluck, Rocky Mount Telegram

Monday, February 14, 2005

Allison Fisher made a breathtaking, head-shaking shot during the finals of the Carolina Women's Billiard Classic Sunday.

Then, as her encore, the world's No. 1 player missed a makeable, straightforward shot. It left what looked like an easy win in doubt, and pulled competitor Helena Thornfeldt to within one game.

"It was like a knife in my heart," Fisher said. "When she gave the opportunity back, I was just out right out there to take it."

Fisher, who lives near Charlotte, beat Thornfeldt 7-4 to win the inaugural Rocky Mount event at Nash Community College, the season-opening tournament on the Women's Professional Billiards Association tour.

In front of a sold-out crowd at NCC's Brown Auditorium and with ESPN cameras rolling, Fisher fought off her opponent's late run after Thornfeldt cut the lead to 5-4 in the race-to-seven format.

Fisher held leads of 3-0 and 5-2, but the sixth-ranked Thornfeldt faltered when she had a chance to pull off the comeback.

"I made easy errors, and you cannot make easy errors like that and win, especially against the best players in the world," Thornfeldt said. "I'm never happy right after I lose a match, but second place, with the competition getting stronger, I'm happy."

Thornfeldt, who is originally from Sweden, had a great run through the tournament, dominating some of the top competition. She beat second-ranked Karen Corr twice, including a 7-3 win earlier Sunday, and knocked off No. 3 Jeanette Lee on Saturday afternoon.

But Thornfeldt also ran into Fisher twice, who defeated her both times.

Fisher, who is originally from England, said she felt comfortable playing in her adopted home state, and the fans were more than happy to support their new Tar Heel even if she doesn't speak like they do.

"It's home turf for me," she told the crowd after her win. "I haven't quite picked up the (Carolina) accent though, as you can probably tell."

It's possible the fans were too enthusiastic. The auditorium grew hot and humid during the second part of the match, and Fisher said the pool table's rail became bouncy.

"When (Thornfeldt) made one shot and the ball flew around the rail, I thought, 'Well, I've got to play this a little different,'" Fisher said.

If she played differently, the fans couldn't tell. Fisher seemed to manuever the balls wherever she wanted, including sinking a shot and calling the cue ball back to her like a yo-yo on a string.

With that in mind, it's not surprising that Fisher and Corr have now combined to win 26 of the past 31 WPBA tour events.

Earlier Sunday, Corr beat fifth-ranked Monica Webb 7-4 in the first semifinal. Webb had defeated Tiffany Nelson late Saturday while Corr beat N.C. resident Kelly Fisher. Thornfeldt lost to Allison Fisher in the other late Saturday match.

Lee placed seventh after losing to Nelson in another Saturday evening match.

Jeff Gluck can be reached at 407-9951 or jgluck@coxnews.com