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Stroke of Genius

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Video provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions

U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship

Player: Justin Bergman
Event: U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship
Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Date: April 23, 2019

Say what you will about the pros and cons of the internet — there's no shortage of opinions on its effect on modern life. One positive is knowing you have a near endless supply of pool highlights at your fingertips, whether you're in the poolroom, killing time in line or avoiding work for a few minutes. And when if comes to can't-believe-it-without-seeing-it clips, Efren Reyes's Z shot is perhaps the greatest.

This month's entry isn't Bata's 1995 showstopper. (That one was, naturally, the first ever Stroke of Genius.) Instead, we'll fast forward 24 years to a shot that is a near facsimile. On the left side of the 2019 U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, Americans Justin Bergman and Tyler Styer were squaring off in a race-to-11 to see who would advance and who would finish in 49th place. In the fifth game, Bergman faced a table that offered little promise. As you can see in the diagram, the layout was very unfriendly to kicks.

So Bergman decided to go for it — it being a ridiculously ambitious two-rail kick. With the 1 ball sitting just an inch off the foot rail, he did have a bit of a backboard should the cue ball go long, where it could become a three-rail kick. But the American's initial plan worked out perfectly. With a firm stroke, he powered the cue ball into the left long rail, where it ricocheted below the 5 ball and above the 7, before clipping the right amount of the 1 to send it into the corner pocket. Using perfect speed, Bergman left the cue ball between the 7 and 8, in perfect shape for the 2.

Though undoubtedly the shot of the match, if not the tournament, this highlight couldn't keep Bergman alive. He dropped the set to Styer, 11-5.

(Video clip provided by Accu-Stats Video Productions.)

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(Check out Accu-Stats' full library of great shots and amazing matches at