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Masterful!

Ga Young Kim shuts out Monica Webb in two-set final to cap impressive run to capture the WPBA Classic Tour's 2013 debut.

Story by BD Staff; photos by Tony Fox

GaYoung
Kim blanked Webb in the two-set final.

THE WOMEN'S Professional Billiard Association kicked off its 2013 Classic Tour with a few exciting developments. First, the WPBA Masters - held Feb. 6-10 at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort in Mount Pleasant, Mich. - was the first women's event to be streamed live for an American audience on ESPN3, the broadcasting giant's Internet-based network available to all current cable subscribers. Additionally, the format for the semifinal and final matches was tweaked, from a single set to two races to 4, with a single rack of sudden death if players split.

But in order to test out the new format, Ga Young Kim had to overcome a bit of trouble. The 48-player field was drawn into a double-elimination bracket, where two players advancing unbeaten to the semifinals and two others from the one-loss side. Just one match from the final four, the Korean star dropped a dramatic 9-8 set against frequent foe Karen Corr. Pushed to the left side, though, Kim rebounded in fine fashion with a 9-6 victory. Meanwhile, after Allison Fisher topped Monica Webb to advance through the right side, Webb rebounded with a 9-6 win of her own over Jeanette Lee.

In the first semifinal, and the first match to use the new two-set format, Fisher looked in prime form to advance. She took the opening set in the case game. Kim, needing to win the second set to stay alive, grabbed a 2-1 lead before the two again met at 3-3. An uncharacteristic error from Fisher, though, gifted the rack to Kim, who forced a final rack of sudden death. Aftre the two traded misses on the 2 ball, Kim outlasted Fisher in an extended safety battle and closed out the rack to secure her spot in the final.

As close as the Fisher-Kim match proved to be, the Webb-Corr contest was as one-sided as can be. Corr, making her full-time return to competitive pool after an extended absence, never looked comfortable at the table. Webb, meanwhile, routinely erased racks and punished the recent BCA Hall of Fame inductee, winning back-to-back sets, 4-0 and 4-0.

But Webb - chasing her first WPBA title since early 2009, and third overall - couldn't maintain her momentum from the semifinal. She quickly fell behind, 2-0, after a pair of errors. Kim then dropped a 4-9 combination and cleared another table from the break to take the opening set, 4-0. The second race proved to be more of the same; Kim quickly worked herself to the hill and, a rack from victory, cleared from the break.

The eighth WPBA title of her career, the WPBA Masters marked Kim's first win on the Classic Tour since the 2011 Tour Championships.


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