Rousey (top) posted a dominant 9-4 win over Allison Fisher in single-elimination.
Webb took a seat in the stands with Thornfeldt to watch Fisher’s semifinal match with American Sarah Rousey, who has made a habit of knocking Allison Fisher out of tournaments. The 16th-ranked Rousey accounted for Fisher’s 49th-place exit at the U.S. Open, and showed her the door in the round-of-16 at the Championships with a 9-4 victory.
Alas, she was playing a different Fisher in the semis. Kelly blew out of the gate and rocked Rousey on her heels. While Fisher piloted the cue ball as if by radio control, Rousey’s game was all static with no-contact fouls and missed balls. Seemingly within moments, the score was 6-0.
Webb turned to Thornfeldt and said, “Man, I’m guaranteed second. I’ve beaten my highest finish. Why does Kelly Fisher have to be playing this good?”
“It was brutal,” Webb remembered. “She wasn’t missing a ball. Everything she did was perfect.”
Once the 7-1 outcome was obvious. Webb stepped outside the arena to prepare for the ensuing final. And she saw men’s pro Tony Crosby, who had been helping with her game.
“I told Tony, ‘She’s playing unreal pool. I’ve never seen anybody play that well.’ And Tony didn’t even hesitate. He said, ‘Good. At least you know what you’re up against, and you’ll know you have to play your game.’”
Early in the final, Fisher showed no signs of slowing down. Webb won the lag, but broke dry. Fisher navigated a tough rack to win the first game. Their roles reversed in the second rack, tying the match, 1-1.
Webb missed a couple opportunities in the next two racks, and suddenly the streaking Fisher was almost halfway home, 3-1. Webb briefly allowed herself to contemplate the score but beat back any panic.
“I thought, ‘Capitalize on every opportunity you get. Just fight. Fight your hardest. … Just try to do something to keep pressure on her.’”
Webb broke and ran out, and then won a short safety battle in the sixth game to knot the score, 3-3. Fisher forced her into a no-contact foul in the next frame and inched ahead, 4-3.
Fisher had the opportunity in the next rack to take a two-game lead and make a powerful statement, but the cue ball went the way of a wimper. Setting up for an ultra-thin cut on the 8 ball, Fisher was momentarily distracted by a spectator in a bright blue shirt moving back to his seat.
“So I got back up and lined up the shot again,” she said. “I still made the 8 ball, but I think the cue ball took off a little bit on a different angle.”
The cue ball scratched after going two rails, allowing Webb to close out the rack and tie the match at 4-4. “That was huge,” she said.
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