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Lauren Jagnow
Friday, February 05, 1999, 5:41 PM (Central)

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Hofstatter earned her second ESPN Club shot at Fisher by stopping Helena Thornfeldt.
Gerda Hofstatter's been here before. At 8 p.m.EST tonight, she will play Allison Fisher in the final of the ESPN '99 Ultimate 9-Ball Challenge. At about this same time last year, Hofstatter was playing Fisher in the final of the ESPN Ultimate Shootout. She lost then, but undoubtedly hopes to change that this time around.

Hofstatter earned this rematch of sorts through her 7-3 victory over Helena Thornfedlt this afternoon. Though both women executed strong safety and position play, in the end it came down to pure shotmaking, and Hofstatter was on the money while Thornfeldt flubbed some key shots.

On the men's side, the story was the same, though there was more at stake than just skill. Efren Reyes bested his longtime friend and apprentice Francisco Bustamante 7-4, and Bustamante admits his loss was partly due to nervousness.

"It's always hard for me to play Efren," Bustamante said. "It's hard to play any Filipino, but especially him. I still get nervous when I play him."

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Bustamante (background) once again found himself in idol Reyes' shadow.

Bustamante wasn't the only one suffering from nerves. Reyes, who hasn't been in a televised match for the past two years, admitted the cameras took a little getting used to.

"It's been so long since I've been on TV that I wasn't used to it. The cameras made me a little uncomfortable."

Reyes will have to get used to being in the spotlight, at least for now. He will face Dennis Hatch in the Ultimate Challenge final at 8 p.m. tonight.

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