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Headstring News
Fisher Wins 46th WPBA title
Mar 13, 2006, 2:04 PM

Allison Fisher, "The Duchess of Doom," fended off some hungry foes and battled some personal demons, but managed to pull off her 46th Women's Professional Billiard Association tournament win at the Great Lakes Classic stop of the WPBA's 2006 season, March 8-12 in Michigan City, Ind.

Fisher suffered defeat in her very first match of the tournament, by Chinese up-and-comer Xiaoting Pan. Pan, age 24, speaks little English, but surely knows how to use the technique of the same name. With a fluid stroke and precise ball placement, she defeated her childhood idol, 9-7.

"She didn't think that she could beat Allison Fisher so early, she didn't expect it at all. It was a boost of confidence," Pan communicated through her interpreter.

Fisher dropped down to the losers' bracket where she had a near-fatal match against Wendy Jans. A 22-year-old Belgian that plays far beyond her years, Jans' solid play found her leading Fisher, 7-5. Jans' felt the pressure in the final games, however, dogging a 9-ball, followed by a scratch on a crucial play. Fisher closed out the match, 9-7.

"I just couldn't finish it today. I had my chances, so actually I should've won, but I didn't," Jans said .

That win put Fisher in the final eight of the distinguished one-loss side, among Ewa Laurance, Vivian Villareal, Monica Webb, Jeanette Lee, Laura Smith, Kim White, and Alice Rim. Following a new format for 2006, the final eight submitted to a blind draw of the winners' bracket players for single-elimination games. The winners' side represented a melting pot of players including Pan, Karen Corr, Gerda Hofstatter, Ga Young Kim, Kelly Fisher, Helena Thornfeldt, Jennifer Barretta and Belinda Calhoun.

White, of Houston, has been struggling to recapture her top 16 ranking after an injury in 2004. The confidence boost of being recently elected WPBA president for 2006-07 was apparent in her play as she defeated veteran Calhoun, 9-5, and then squashed the steady advance of Alice Rim, 9-1, to land her in the semifinal, her first televised match and best finish to date.

Villareal was uncharacteristically quiet, but her play was unpenetrable as she whipped Kelly Fisher, 9-3, to meet Korean Ga Young Kim in the semifinal. Kim, who had just defeated Webb, fell victim to the "Texas Tornado," 9-6.

Pan put away Smith, 9-4, but despite her earlier brilliance, could not make a run against Lee, who eliminated her, 9-2.

Meanwhile, Fisher drew the formidable Corr, who was coming off a big win at the first WPBA tour stop two weeks prior. The format dictated that one of the top two players would not make it to the semifinal. That unfortunate player was Corr, whose defensive play couldn't slow down Fisher. Her sniper-like jump shot at hill-hill might have been the tournament-winning shot.

The semifinal matched Lee vs. Villareal, Fisher vs. White. Villareal's patient defensive play against Lee eventually afforded her a win in the lengthy battle. White came out strong against Fisher, 2-0, but made a few untimely errors that allowed Fisher to heat up an run away with the 7-4 win.

In the final, Fisher looked fatigued against Villareal and made several uncharacteristic errors, but the former snooker player's safety play took the wind out of the "Texas Tornado." "I might as well just play with my jump cue," said Villareal of her frequent escape attempts.

Fisher made it to the hill, 6-1, and despite Villareal's best efforts, coming back 6-4, "The Duchess" eventually administered her doom, sinking the final 9 ball.

The semifinals and final game of the Great Lakes Classic will be aired on ESPN in April. Check back with HeadString News for specific air dates and times.

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