by Ben Hudd • October 11, 2022
Chris Melling is relishing his return stateside, with the former Mosconi Cup MVP ‘delighted’ with his performances as he brushed aside Billy Thorpe and Samuel Disse on day one of the US Open Pool Championship.
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Melling compiled five break and runs in his comfortable opening round victory before pulling off a second convincing victory of the afternoon, punishing American Thorpe for too many mistakes.
“It’s been three years since I was here. The last time I turned up for the US Open, I was only here two days before they shut Vegas down [at the beginning of the pandemic],” Melling told Matchroom Pool.
“I’ve been playing a lot of English pool but I’m glad to be back playing nineball. It’s been a long time since I’ve been over to the States. It’s tough, I’m finding my feet, getting back into it and it’s great to see such a big crowd here.
“I won my first match 9-1, played really well and ran five racks out of the eight that I broke. I’ve then just played Billy, couldn’t make the balls on the break but overall I felt I played solid and made the balls when I needed to make them.
“I’m delighted with the way I’m playing. It’s important to keep winning. The less matches you play, the better. It’s important for the confidence as well because when I’m confident I’m a dangerous player.”
Melling will face the tough test of two-time World Pool Masters champion David Alcaide for a place in the double elimination stage, while his fellow Brit Jayson Shaw takes on in-form Robbie Capito after clocking five break and runs himself in beating Josh Roberts.
Elsewhere on the opening day in Atlantic City, Venezuelan talent Jesus Atencio pulled off the biggest upset of the day as he banished eighth seed Alexander Kazakis to the losers’ side with a resounding 9-4 victory.
World Pool Masters champion Joshua Filler survived something of a scare as he reeled off four consecutive racks from 7-5 behind to edge past Singapore’s Sharik Sayed.
Defending champion Carlo Biado was nowhere near his brilliant best but breezed past Dalibor Nikolin and the returning Kristina Tkach, while former champion Fedor Gorst notched four break and run outs in his 9-7 win over Serbia’s Aleksa Pecelj.
Skyler Woodward came through a thrilling hill-hill affair against the fast-breaking Filipino Jeffrey De Luna, while his fellow Mosconi Cup hopeful Shane Wolford also edged a deciding rack against Dutch youngster Jan van Lierop.
Moritz Neuhausen, who finished fourth at the weekend’s Sandcastle Open, continued his fantastic form with a 9-6 win over Adrian Prasad, with the American teenager having overcome Daniel Schneider in a decider earlier in the afternoon.
All 38 players who advanced to the winners’ qualification round now receive a day off as the other half of the draw enter the fray, including five-time US Open champion and reigning world champion Shane van Boening.