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Pagulayan-Appleton for U.S. Open Hot-Seat
Oct 21, 2011, 9:15 PM

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Approaching midnight on Friday at the U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, six players remain but only four will be alive for tomorrow's final matches.

The hot-seat match, which will take place at 1 p.m. (EST) tomorrow, will pit reigning champion Darren Appleton against 2005 champ Alex Pagulayan. Earlier today, Appleton had a relatively easy time with American Shawn Putnam. The Brit held a lead throughout the race to 11, with Putnam collecting a few late racks before falling, 11-7.

Pagualayn, meanwhile, had a difficult time early in his set with Larry Nevel. The two repeatedly found themselves locked in safety battles, with the Filipino gaining a slight advantage midway through the match. That lead grew from 6-3 to 7-4 to eventually getting on the hill, 10-5. Nevel took a pair of racks, but Pagulayan closed it out, 11-7.

On the left side, in the matches where the losers exited in fifth place, both sets were never in doubt. Huidji See, who earlier this year won the World 10-Ball Championship, put on a clinic against Japan's Kenichi Uchigaki. The Netherlander pulled ahead, 5-0, on his way to an 11-4 victory.

On another table outside the Accu-Stats arena, Dennis Hatch trounced Warren Kiamco. Entering the set on a seven-match winning streak, the American was visibly confident as he broke open the match early. He turned a 5-2 advantage into an 11-5 win.

See will face Putnam later this evening, while Nevel and Hatch will bring plenty of firepower to their set.