Can comes back from semifinals to win Empire State Open Championships

Wang Can
There's nothing quite like rivalries, players with a history of matchups, to spark heightened interest in the outcome of any sporting event. So it was, that as the 6th Annual Empire State Open Championships, held on Sunday, February 16, came down to the final 12 players, there remained some hope that the event finals would be a repeat of last year's epic, double hill battle between Jayson Shaw and Earl Strickland
Five of last year's final 12 were still in it - Shaw, Strickland, Holden Chin, Jeremy Sossei and Jennifer Baretta. Wang Can and Zion Zvi spoiled the party, so to speak; Zvi, by advancing to the hot seat and Can, by coming back from the semifinals to claim the event title. The $1,500-added event drew 25 entrants (the exact same number it drew last year) to Raxx Billiards in West Hempstead, NY (same location).
As they were last year, Shaw and Chin were two of the winners' side semifinalists. They faced each other last year, with Shaw advancing to the hot seat match. This year, Shaw was shut out by Can, while Chin was defeated 7-5 by Zvi. Zvi, in his first of two against Can, moved into the hot seat with a 7-5 win, ending spectator hopes for a Shaw/Strickland rematch in the finals, while at the same time, keeping them alive for a loss side match between the two, which happened immediately.
Strickland, who'd been sent to the loss side by Zvi, had gotten by Rob Omen 7-4 and Phil Davis 7-1 to pick up Shaw, fresh off Can's shutout of him in the winners' side semifinals. Chin picked up Jeremy Sossei, who was looking to improve on his 2013 third place finish. He shut out Chad Bowling and defeated Kevin Guimond 7-4 to reach Chin. Shaw took out Strickland 7-5, as Sossei was busy eliminating Chin 7-3. 
Sossei fought hard, battling to double hill, before giving way to Shaw, who moved on to face Can in the semifinals. Can eliminated him handily enough 7-2 and got a second shot at Zvi in the hot seat. He took full advantage, downing Zvi 11-5 to claim the 6th Empire State Open Championship title.
Tour director Tony Robles thanked the ownership and staff at Raxx Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Poison Cues, The National Amateur Pool League (, Delta-13 Racks , AZBilliards, NYC Grind, Billiards Digest, Inside Pool Magazine, Pool & Billiard Magazine, and