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Empress of Pool Scores Record-setting Ratings; Barretta Takes the Crown
Sep 19, 2006, 10:30 AM

Among six of the world's most talented female pool players, Jennifer Barretta, who is six-months pregnant, rose to the top to reign as the Empress of Pool in front of a standing-room audience at the Hyatt Regency in Incheon, Korea on Sept 14.

"It feels good to win my first major title here," said a glowing Barretta who is due on Dec. 24 this year. "Now I have to get copies of my matches so that I can show my son later he was here with mommy helping her win!"

The six eye-pleasing competitors included Jeanette Lee, Tiffany Nelson, Ga Young Kim, Miyuki Sakai, Yuram Cha, and Barretta.

The format was round-robin, race-to-5, alternate breaks, and ladies were in two groups of three players each. The best record in each group would play each other in the final.

The event was pressure packed with a standing room audience and media including major newspapers,radio and every major TV network covering the event, with MBC ESPN exclusively filming the matches live.

The first match in Group A pitted the Black Widow against 9mm Barretta and their nerves were apparent as both players committed unforced errors the first two racks including an easy 9 ball combination missed by Lee. Lee shook it off and won the next game and the two battled until Lee missed a straight-in shot on the 9. Barretta came back and broke and ran the last rack to to conclude the match, 5-3.

Next Group B , World Champion Ga Young Kim easily took out Nelson who seemed to be having trouble maintaining her normal solid game. Lee came back the next match and was visibly determined to show the Korean fans why she's the world's most famous pool player and she tore the young 19-year-old sensation Cha apart with amazing shot making, banks, and caroms to win 5-0.

Back in Group B, Kim faced Japan's Sakai. Sakai seemed very nervous and botched some easy runouts and an easy 9-ball, which gave Kim a boost and she proceeded to run over Sakai, 5-1, to secure her spot in the finals. The final group match was Barretta against Cha. Lee needed Cha to win and hold Barretta to three games in order for Lee to advance. Unfortunaetly for Lee, Barretta had alternate plans as she played flawlessly to cruise to the finals with a 5-0 win over Cha.

The finals pitted Korea star Kim against American Barretta, who was appearing in her first international finals. Kim made a couple errors and Barretta made her pay for each one, keeping her nerve as she defeated Kim, 6-3, for the win.

The Empress Cup matches were scheduled to air live for two hours, but due to enormous ratings, the matches were aired an additional two hours making it a four-hour live show and pushing Korea's national baseball league game back. Empress Cup was the No.1-ranked show in its time slot for four hours, breaking records for any billiard show aired in Korea .

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