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03-08-2005, 12:51 PM
BILLIARDS: English player wins trophy, $10K

web page (http://www.post-trib.com/cgi-bin/pto-story/sports/z1/03-08-05_z1_spor_06.html)
March 8, 2005

By Kass Stone / Post-Tribune correspondent

Michigan City — Area billiard fans were given the opportunity to see the world’s top-ranked woman player, Allison Fisher, take on young challenger Tiffany Nelson in the finals of the World Professional Billiards Association’s Great Lakes Classic Tournament at Blue Chip Casino.

The tournament, which wrapped up Sunday night, featured more than 60 of the world’s top female billiards players competing for a piece of the event’s $80,000 purse.

The semifinals consisted of two matches in which the players competed to win seven games of 9-ball. The first round of Sunday’s semifinals saw No. 9-ranked Vivian Villarreal defeat Britain’s Kelly Fisher. In the next round, the emotional and highly expressive Villarreal lost to No. 14-ranked Nelson in a highly competitive and suspenseful match, 7-6.

After beating crowd favorite Villarreal, Nelson had to face No. 1-ranked Fisher, a native of England. Fisher has set a number of billiard records in both America and England and has developed an international fan base through her appearances on ESPN’s broadcasts of WPBA events.

Nelson, 24, has been on the WPBA circuit for a decade. She entered the league as its youngest player ever at age 14 and has been playing ever since.

Fisher managed to hang on to her top ranking and take home the crystal trophy and $10,000 awarded for winning the tournament, after narrowly defeating Nelson.

One of the top draws to the tournament was the world-famous Jeanette Lee, aka “The Black Widow.”

“It’s been great. The casino is great,” said Lee, ranked No. 3. “The players are knowledgeable and excellent and I live in Indianapolis. I’m a Hoosier and it’s been a great time for me, being here, because I’ve had a lot of friends come up for the tournament and cheer me on.”

The popular Lee was knocked out of the tournament Saturday night by No. 23-ranked Jeannie Seaver. As a result of being eliminated, Lee had to watch her colleagues in the finals in her role as TV commentator for the WPBA on ESPN, which taped the semifinal and final rounds for eventual broadcast.

“It’s exciting, especially when you come to a new town,” Lee said. “We don’t have a whole lot of events in the Midwest, so we have a lot of fans come out and everybody is excited, I just wish I would have played better.”