David Alcaide takes the trophy in Moscow

David Alcaide
This 2017 Kremlin Cup 10-Ball event featured the strongest field ever with 10 of the top 30 WPA ranking players coming to Moscow. For the second straight year,  a field of 101 participants filled the double elimination bracket, which played down to thirty two players before moving to a single elimination board. The Kremlin Cup was a WPA sanctioned event and for the first time it was one of European qualification events for the Mosconi Cup. With those valuable Mosconi Cup points available, many pros travelled to Russia for a last chance to pad their resumes. 
Poland was well represented again this year, led by Mateusz Sniegocki (World Pool Masters Champion, as well as 2012 Kremlin Cup Champion. Radoslaw Babica eliminated Russian top gun Konstantin Stepanov in the round of 16 and Wojciech Szewczyk sent none other than Shane Van Boening packing. While six Polish players advanced to the single elimination stage, none of them finished in the top four. The Russian contingent didn’t fare any better, as none of the local players made it past the round of 16. Ruslan Chinakhov looked like a heavy favorite against Finland’s Petri Makkonen, when he led the match 5-0. The Finn capitalized on some late mistakes by Chinakhov and produced one of the most talked about comebacks, winning seven straight games for the hill-hill win.
Five of six Mosconi Cup Team USA members made the trip this year, led by new non-playing captain Johan Ruysink for an early test. Skyler Woodward was the only member who had to stay at home. (Immediately following the Kremlin Cup, Team USA faced selection of top Russian players in the ABN Dream Challenge match. With Woodward not available, Corey Deuel was more than happy to step in and represent the US team. Team USA trailed in that challenge match 5-8 in a race to 9, but managed to win 4 straight matches, with SVB pulling them through without dropping a single point in any of his singles or doubles matches). In the main event, every American but Billy Thorpe advanced to the single elimination state. Thorpe came up on win short, when he dropped a final round match to Albania’s Eklent Kaci (World Pool Series Champion). 
The Albanian advanced all the way to the semi-finals, where he faced Alex Kazakis. The other semi final match featured Nick Van Den Berg vs David Alcaide. Both Kazakis and Alcaide made quick work of their opponents, to advance to the final match. Playing in his sixth Kremlin Cup, Kazakis was looking to defend his title from last year (a feat only accomplished one time by Ruslan Chinakhov),  but several Kazakis errors got in the way of that goal. In the end it was current Eurotour points leader, David Alcaide, who was victorious 9-6 to earn the right to take the Kremlin Cup trophy to Malaga, Spain.