When Jasmin Ouschan returned to compete in events on the Women’s Professional Billiard Association (WPBA), no fan of the game expected that it would take long for her to reach her stride and return to the top of the results. They would have been right.
Ouschan’s return to the WPBA was in mid March where she turned in an uncharacteristic 17th place finish at the WPBA Northern Lights Classic, Ouschan then travelled to Las Vegas in late March where she finished third in the WPBA Predator event, losing in the semi-finals to Kelly Fisher. The Predator Germany Women’s Open last month was Ouschan’s next major event, and she again lost to Fisher, finishing in 5th place.
That brings us to the WPBA Soaring Eagle Masters that took place July 22nd – 24th at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Ouschan kicked things off with comfortable wins over Susan Williams and June Maiers before drawing Fisher in the winners side final eight. To say that Fisher had been a nemesis to Ouschan this year would be a huge understatement. Fisher has been a nemesis to every player on the tour, as she has won five straight women’s events and not only dominates the Women’s Money List, but is also in the top 10 on the overall Money List for 2022.
None of those accolades helped her on the table though, as Ouschan toughed out a close 8-6 win to send Fisher to the one loss side. Next up for Ouschan was Florida’s Kaylee McIntosh. Ouschan had eliminated McIntosh from the Vegas event with a lopsided 4-0/4-1 scoreline, but McIntosh’s game has been rising by leaps and bounds all year. “Playing her (Jasmin) in Vegas was my first match against a very well known top rank player and I let the nerves get to me and didn’t play my best game.” said McIntosh. Although McIntosh dropped their rematch 8-4, she says she will learn from it. “This past weekend I again, didn’t play my best against her and it showed. I had many opportunities where I should have gotten out but didn’t. I’m taking my matches against Jasmin as learning experiences. I’m just trying to get over whatever mental hurdle I have when playing her because I have yet to bring my best game against her. I respect her game a lot and look forward to playing her again in the future.”
The hot-seat came down to Ouschan vs WPBA newcomer Margareta Fefilova. Fefilova has recently relocated from Belarus to America and had been patiently waiting for the WPBA to allow her to play on tour. With the recent World Confederation of Billiards Sports decision to lift the ban on Russian and Belarusian players, Fefilova was able to play. While American fans are quickly learning about Fefilova, she is no stranger to the winners circle as she has many top finishes over in Europe. Ouschan took that match 8-5 to sit in the hot-seat and await an opponent.
On the one loss side, Fisher was on a tear. In back to back matches, she eliminated Caroline Pao, Angeline Ticoalu, Jennifer Barretta, McIntosh and Fefilova to earn her place in the finals against Ouschan. “It was a grueling schedule, playing five matches back to back on the one loss side” said Fisher. The match against McIntosh stuck out for Fisher. “We’ve never played before and she impressed me. She really has got a great game and etiquette! One to watch for the future.” said Fisher. For McIntosh, it was yet another learning experience. “After losing my match to Jasmin I really went into a mindset of ‘I have nothing to lose’. I was getting the opportunity to play the #1 ranked player in the world and not many get to experience that. I played with confidence and I felt as though I could win. Even though I lost, I was extremely happy with my play during the match.” said McIntosh after the match.
The finals was a repeat of the first clash between Ouschan and Fisher, as the match was decided by small mistakes. “When Jasmin beat me on the winners side, we both played very well. She was playing great and I couldn’t shake her off. That’s pretty much the exact same thing that happened in the final match. There were just a couple little kisses that didn’t work out for me. We both played great and I thought I was playing well enough to win. She was just more consistent and won. It was a well deserved win for her and I guess I will just try to start a new roll in the next one” said Fisher.
Next up for the ladies on the WPBA, is the CSI / Predator US Pro Billiard Series event on August 17th – 21st and the Cambridge Red Deer Hotel in Alberta Canada.