Sport: Lady with a Cue

Let us to billiards: come, Charmian.

—Antony & Cleopatra (II, 5)

The game of billiards is older than Shakespeare—perhaps older, even, than Cleopatra. If Egypt's Queen (69-30 B.C.) indeed wielded a knowing cue, the world had to wait 20 centuries for another woman to challenge the male's domination of the sport. Last week, in a velour-lined, gold-chandeliered billiard club on San Francisco's Market Street, a woman was doing just that.

Japan's Masako Katsura, 38, is the first woman ever to try for the world three-cushion billiard title. Masako is cue-tall (5 ft.) and light as chalk (96 Ibs.). But her skill can make three...

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