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Europe Lead by Two as Grandstand Final Day Set for 2022 Mosconi Cup

Team Europe (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

A grandstand final day of the 2022 Mosconi Cup has been set with the score 8-6 to Europe after three days of action at Bally’s Las Vegas live Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Italy, and Spain, Viaplay in the Baltics, Scandinavia and Poland and networks worldwide.

Team USA 6-8 Team Europe

Van Boening/Strickland 5-4 Shaw/Alcaide

Tyler Styer 2-5 David Alcaide

Woodward/Strickland 2-5 Filler/Sanchez Ruiz

Earl Strickland 2-5 Albin Ouschan

Van Boening/Woodward 5-0 Filler/Shaw

Oscar Dominguez 2-5 Jayson Shaw


The action began in a frantic manner as Shane Van Boening ticked over for a historic match 100 in the Mosconi Cup alongside veteran and hero Earl Strickland. It was a tight battle against Europe’s duo of Jayson Shaw and David Alcaide at 3-2 to the USA. A scratch from Alcaide on the break in rack six brought Strickland and Van Boening to the hill. The pair wouldn’t have liked how tight it got through as Shaw fluked the nine in rack seven before levelling up for a hill-hill finish. Strickland and Van Boening inspired each other to put the USA ahead overall 5-4.

Alcaide was straight back out into singles action against Tyler Styer with the crowd hoping for the momentum to stay in the USA’s favour. Alcaide was cueing purely with very little room for error up until 4-0 up. Styer was sat frozen for large parts and struggled to make balls off the break for the first time this week. The Wisconsin man pulled the jump cue out as he ran out the fifth to make it a contest, one further rack followed before Alcaide put his stamp on the match to level again at 5-5 overall.

Strickland was in the heat of the action and back out with Skyler Woodward in the 11th match of the cup against World Pool Masters winner Joshua Filler and US Open winner Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.  The early exchanges were close until Sanchez Ruiz showed his prowess that sees him as the current Nineball World No.1 with an epic bank shot to go 3-1 up. Strickland was digging in to save Woodward’s blushes at times but it proved to be too little as Sanchez Ruiz made a winning golden break 5-2 to establish a European lead overall.

There was no time for Strickland to mull over the last match as he would be up against European Open champion Albin Ouschan in what proved to be a hellish time for the veteran. After establishing a quick two rack lead, Strickland barely saw the table thereafter with a few moments costing him dearly as Ouschan came out strong to seal a 5-2 win with five on the spin.

A huge match-up between America’s Van Boening and vice-captain Woodward and Europe’s Shaw and Filler always promised fireworks and it delivered in a way not many would have predicted before a ball was potted. Van Boening and Woodward delivered a quite spectacular whitewash, the first one of the week to keep USA well in the tie going into the final action of the day. It was scintillating stuff.

Shaw has been a thorn in the USA side for many years but has struggled for a rhythm at times this week. The tables turned though as he seized on Oscar Dominguez to put Europe two up ahead of the final day. Shaw had raced into a two-rack buffer but Dominguez levelled up at two apiece. From there, Shaw hit a new gear to bring home another European point.

Tomorrow sees the final day of the 2022 Mosconi Cup at Bally’s Las Vegas with 11 the target for victory with the score currently set at 8-6 to Europe overall.


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Can’t make it to the 2022 Mosconi Cup? Watch the action wherever you are in the world. Broadcasters below. If you do not see a broadcaster in your country, you can watch on Matchroom.Live

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Europe Take Day 2 To Level 2022 Mosconi Cup At 4-4

Jayson Shaw (Taka Wu – Matchroom Multi Sport)

Team Europe took day two of the 2022 Mosconi Cup against the USA to level up at 4-4 at Bally’s Las Vegas live Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Italy, and Spain, Viaplay in the Baltics, Scandinavia and Poland and networks worldwide.

Day two began with the Fans’ Choice Singles Match with Earl Strickland and Jayson Shaw, respectively picked. Strickland was looking to roll back the years and he was doing more than that as he rallied into an initial 3-0 lead to leave Shaw quiet in his chair. Shaw found his rhythm again in the fourth and a costly scratch from Strickland in rack five put him within one. Another scratch from Strickland in the sixth when trying to cut the eight in gave Shaw the most accessible opportunity to level things back. The comeback was soon complete for two-time MVP Shaw who riled the crowd up to pull Team Europe within one overall at 3-2.

An all-star match-up for the first singles contest between Shane Van Boening and Joshua Filler was never going to disappoint and it didn’t. Van Boening broke dry in the third rack and left an easy 1-9 combo on for Filler to lead 2-1. There was plenty of life in the contest and it was soon 3-3 after an untimely scratch from Filler much to the USA fan’s delight. Filler lost position in the seventh but went airborne in an incredible runout to reach the hill first. A brilliant break and run later and Europe was level overall at 3-3.

The USA needed to stem the European tide from somewhere and it was left up to Tyler Styer and Oscar Dominguez to do that against Filler and Albin Ouschan in match seven of the cup. Nothing could separate them up until 3-3 when an uncharacteristic miss from Styer on the six into the middle pocket brought Filler and Ouschan back to the fold to reach the hill first when it did look like an easy USA runout. Dominguez went airborne on the five in the following rack and it proved to be costly as the Europeans did the rest to get their third point of the day.

In what proved to be the final action of the day, Francisco Sanchez Ruiz got his first taste of singles action against USA vice-captain Skyler Woodward. The crowd was rocking but soon silenced as Sanchez Ruiz moved into a 2-0 lead to put the cat amongst the pigeons. Woodward found a moment of fortune when banking the six ball the full length of the table before finding a plum position on the seven to cut the deficit. Expectations were high from the home faithful as Woodward soon turned it around to a 3-2 and 4-2 advantage.

Play was halted as Woodward reached the hill due to a global broadcast outage meaning players were taken off whilst a fix was actioned to continue live coverage for those at home. Upon return, Sanchez Ruiz broke dry and Woodward ensured the USA would head into day three level overall at 4-4 sealing a vital point with an expert runout that included an exquisite jump on the one as Europe took day two 3-1.

Hear from Matchroom Multi Sport Managing Director Emily Frazer chatting with Karl Boyes on the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel here after the conclusion of day two.

Voting for the Fans’ Choice Doubles Match is open now right here.


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Can’t make it to the 2022 Mosconi Cup? Watch the action wherever you are in the world. Broadcasters below. If you do not see a broadcaster in your country, you can watch on Matchroom.Live

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Team USA Take Day 1 Of 2022 Mosconi Cup

Team USA (Taka Wu – Matchroom Multi Sport)

Team USA took Day 1 of the 2022 Mosconi Cup 3-1 against Team Europe to a raucous 2,500 strong crowd at Bally’s Las Vegas live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Italy, and Spain, Viaplay in the Baltics, Scandinavia and Poland and networks worldwide.

Team USA 3-1 Team Europe 

Team USA 5-3 Team Europe 

Oscar Dominguez / Earl Strickland 1-5 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz / David Alcaide 

Skyler Woodward 5-4 Joshua Filler

Shane Van Boening / Tyler Styer 5-4 Jayson Shaw / Albin Ouschan

Team Europe went into the team match looking to taste victory in the cup’s curtain-raiser for the first time since 2018 whilst the USA was hoping for the home crowd to bring the noise and they certainly did with an inspired opening point 5-3.

Match two was the first sight of Earl Strickland and Oscar Dominguez who were making their returns to Jeremy Jones‘ USA side and it was going to be a tall order with World Cup of Pool winners Francisco Sanchez Ruiz and David Alcaide getting their first taste of the action. Strickland and Dominguez had opportunities against the Spanish duo, but they proved too strong as Sanchez Ruiz found his groove in his first-ever Mosconi Cup with Alcaide guiding him through to an impressive 5-1 victory.

The crowd was baying for more from their USA side, and it came as playing vice-captain Skyler Woodward stepped up to face Joshua Filler. Woodward got out the blocks quickly before Filler reached the hill first at 4-3 but with alternate break Woodward had a chance to level up with a consistent eighth rack. The Blue Grass Bad Ass got more than he would’ve wanted with a golden break to make it the first hill-hill of the week. Some acute safety play started the ninth rack before it looked like Filler would have his moment only for the one to brush the three when pocket bound. That allowed Woodward up to take the roof off and deliver a second USA point of the day.

Momentum had swung in the USA’s favour, and they ensured they’d head into day two with a two-point cushion thanks to world champion Shane Van Boening and Tyler Styer who defeated Albin Ouschan and Jayson Shaw in another hill-hill thriller to conclude day one.

Man of the moment Woodward spoke on Off the Rail after the conclusion of the day: “It’s never easy playing Joshua. You must try and take advantage of every mistake even though I did miss the nine one day. I told myself to keep fighting and pushing and take chances where I can. I told the team; I wanted all the pressure on me. I like the pressure. Me winning that match takes the pressure off them ahead of the last match. There was a little pressure off them. They came out loose and I am glad I could get out there and get that point for the USA. The table is tight. The side pockets are unbelievable. They’re crazy. I like it. The side pockets are genius. They’re so tough. It’s how top-level pool should be.”

Tomorrow kicks off with the Fans’ Choice Singles Match before four more matches on day two of the 2022 Mosconi Cup. Voting is open until 10 pm local time for the Fans’ Choice match. Vote here. 

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Can’t make it to the 2022 Mosconi Cup? Watch the action wherever you are in the world. Broadcasters below. If you do not see a broadcaster in your country, you can watch on Matchroom.Live

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Woodward and Shaw To Be Playing Vice-Captains For Mosconi Cup

Skyler Woodward and Jayson Shaw will be playing vice-captains for the 2022 Mosconi Cup at Bally’s Las Vegas from November 30 to December 3 live on Sky Sports as well as on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, and Italy and on Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, and Poland.

Limited Day Tickets Available Here

Woodward will provide extra assistance to Jeremy JonesTeam USA side of Shane Van Boening, Oscar Dominguez, Tyler Styer, and Earl Strickland with the two-time Mosconi Cup MVP feeling like it’s a natural position for him to take up within the team: “I feel honoured to be in this position to represent my country as vice-captain. To know people are counting on me to help lead is a great feeling. I grew up playing all team sports. I always helped with lineups and pay attention to things needed in the lineup that is best for the team. I always do my homework to make sure things are the best they can be.”

“Fans and the team can expect a leadership role from me. I will be keeping everybody loose and supporting them on and off the table to help the team. I’m here for the team and to help take this cup back!”

Shaw relishes the opportunity to support Alex Lely as Team Europe’s Joshua Filler, Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Albin Ouschan and David Alcaide look for their third successive title and their first on US soil since 2017 with last year’s MVP taking up the extra role: “It feels great to have a lead role in the team as vice-captain. Everyone knows I’m not scared to say what I think and I have a good bond with the players so I feel can get them ready and pumped up and keep them feeling confident if things are going wrong out there.”

“I’m looking forward to this Mosconi Cup even more now having been selected as vice-captain it’s an honour to be picked for this role. I bring passion fire and calmness when needed. I can help Alex get them fired up and help in the back room keeping things in shape so we are focused on the job ahead. We are coming for revenge in Vegas after 2018 and 2019 mark my words we will be 110% ready to punish every mistake they make,” added a triumphant Shaw.

Only 13 days remain until battle commences at Bally’s Las Vegas in a packed-out arena with the Mosconi Cup returning to the USA for the first time since 2019 where it was the Americans who reigned supreme 11-8 with a gutsy performance. Limited tickets are available for each day here.

The 2022 Mosconi Cup will be live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland as well as on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, and Italy and on Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, the Netherlands, and Poland. See where to watch in your country here. Live coverage also set to be live on Matchroom.Live for those without a broadcaster in their country.

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International 9-Ball down to final four; Gorst/Zielinski, Shaw/Ko Pin Yi to play semifinals at 4 & 6

Wiktor Zielinski

JIC quarter and semifinals feature a Tate family gathering

It’s come down to Russia’s Fedor Gorst, Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski. Scotland’s Jason Shaw and Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi. In matches that began today (Friday, Nov. 4) at around noon and lasted until about five minutes ago, the International 9-Ball Open’s field of 128, in single-elimination fashion, came down to its final four.

The final eight began squaring off immediately following the conclusion of a banquet and ceremonies which inducted Dennis Orcollo and Professional Billiard Instructor Association’s Jerry Briesath into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame. While Briesath was present at the ceremony, addressing the crowd and accepting the award for his accomplishments as an instructor for many years. Dennis Orcollo, due to ongoing visa problems, accepted the award via a Zoom call from the Philippines, which, though it had its moments of humorous glitches went smoothly. Orcollo was introduced from a podium at the banquet and when the moment was turned over to him, he sat smiling on the screen for a number of minutes before the connection and cues translated across the thousands of miles from the Philippines and Norfolk, VA was accomplished.

Four of the eight 9-Ball quarterfinalists and a number of the Junior competitors went right from the tables in the banquet hall to the tables in the arena of the Sheraton Norfolk/Waterside in Norfolk, VA. Germany’s Joshua Filler and Wictor Zielinski took center stage in the Accu-stats feature arena, while Fedor Gorst and Austrian Albin Ouschan moved to one of the adjacent areas nearby. 

The Junior International Championships matches – the semifinals of the 18 & Under Girls division and the quarterfinals of the 18 & Under Boys division got underway in another adjacent area at the edge of the center arena (more on this later).

Zielinski and Filler played before an appreciative and noisy crowd which had something to applaud at least once in all 16 games that made up their race-to-10. Zielinski edged out in front near the end to win it 10-6 and be the first quarterfinalist to advance. As Gorst and Ouschan continued their struggle, with Gorst getting ahead early and staying there to win it 10-3, Shaw and Spain’s Jonas Souto practiced in the Accu-Stat feature arena. Shortly after they got  underway, Mario He and Ko Pin Yi squared off at a table in an adjacent area.

As Gorst had done to Ouschan, Shaw did likewise to Souto, by the same 10-3 score, becoming the third quarterfinalist to advance. And as Zielinski had done to Filler, Ko Pin Yi became the final piece to the International Open 9-Ball’s semifinal puzzle, eliminating Mario He, by the same 10-6 score.

The semifinals and finals of the 9-ball Open will play out on the Accu-State feature arena tomorrow (Sat., Nov. 5), beginning with Gorst and Zielinski at 4 p.m. Shaw and Ko Pin Yi will meet at 6 p.m. The finals are scheduled for 8 p.m.

Noelle Tate

Three siblings battle for sure slot in the finals, a chance at getting there and 3rd place in JIC

As the two sisters, 12-year-old Noelle and 15-year-old Bethany Tate began their semifinal match in the 18 & Under Girls division of the Junior International Championships, they were keenly aware of their 17-year-old brother, Joey, who was playing versus Payne McBride in the quarterfinals of the 18 & Under Boys division. They had to be, because they were playing at adjacent tables, forcing them to more or less constantly pay attention to what was happening at the next table to avoid poking someone with a stick; didn’t happen often, although checking to be sure that it didn’t happen, did happen often.

They went off at more or less the same time, while Filler and Zielinski were playing their quarterfinal 9-ball Open match. Applause emanating from the feature arena crowd had a way of coinciding with some good shooting going on in the junior matches. There was no mistaking which girl was which; the older Bethany, more than just a few inches taller than her relatively diminuitive younger sibling, Noelle. It was not a distinction that played out on the table.

One might have been fooled early, watching Bethany chalk up the first-game win, but it became clear when Noelle won the next two that this was not going to be easy for either of them. It was a pool game, but one that featured as something of a sideshow, sibling rivalry, age differentiation and that particular distaste for losing which has a way of playing out more emotionally at a younger age. 

Bethany came back to tie the score at 2-2. They would go on to tie five times at each numerical progression; 1-1 through 5-5. As it happened, the ‘table’ offered each of them numerous opportunities to win using a combination that included the 9-ball. Bethany ended up doing it twice; once tying the match at 4-4 and again, at 5-5.

Meanwhile, brother Joey was behind in his match versus Payne McBride; a fact that there’s no doubt they were noticing, though they never, not once, let it be known, as they maintained their focus at their own table.

Bethany won games 2, 3, 5, 8 & 10. Noelle took games 1, 4, 6, 7 & 9. By the time they reached the 10th game, they had picked up their pace. Games 9 & 10 were played at a very rapid pace, with both girls taking and making bank shots and any other shots necessary to reach the finish line, quickly. Bethany was a little too quick in Game 11 to assess the lie of the last two balls; very close to each other, Bethany dropped the 8-ball well enough, but her shot pushed the 9-ball into a tough target range. She missed the 9-ball and Noelle sunk it to reach the hill first.

Still working at a rapid pace, Bethany was on her way through the 12th rack looking to force a double-hill, deciding game and made two successive (quick) bank shots to get the first shot at the 9-ball. It rattled in the hole and for all intents and purposes, it was over. Noelle did not shoot at the 9-ball, because Bethany saw the ‘writing on the wall’ and stepped in to give her a hug, effectively ending it. 

Noelle had finished in 6th place in the JIC’s season-ending standings, based on performance in eight events. On her way to the finals in the 18 & Under Girls Championship, scheduled for noon tomorrow (Sat. Nov. 5), she had been defeated only once, by Courtney Hairfield, who’d finished in 7th place in the standings. On the loss side, Noelle had defeated Kennedy Meyman (#5), Precilia Kinsley (#3) and her own sister, Bethany, who had finished the JIC season as the division’s #1-ranked competitor.

“I was so nervous,” said Noelle, minutes after the match, “because normally, she beats me.”

Though aware that projecting how things might turn out in any ‘road ahead’ tournament setting was not generally a good idea, she did harbor some feelings about what wasn’t going to happen.

“I was not really thinking of being in the finals,” she said of tomorrow’s match versus The Pink Dagger, aka Sofia Mast, who finished as the division’s #2 competitor at the end of the season and sat next to Precilia Kinsley’s mother during the match between the Tate sisters and joined in the conversation about it afterwards. Asked how she had acquired the skills necessary to keep her own nervousness at bay during her match, Noelle smiled.

“It’s just a game, and you try to just have fun,” she said. “I have to keep thinking that.”

Meanwhile, the two Tate sisters were able to turn their attention to their brother Joey, who, last time they looked, was a few racks behind in his quarterfinal match. Though McBride reached the hill first, Tate caught up and won the final rack. He moved on within a matter of minutes to face Garrett Vaughan in the semifinals, winning it 7-4. So once again, as they did last year, Joey Tate and Landon Hollingsworth will square off in the finals of the JIC’s 18 & Under Boys Championship (2 p.m., today). He’ll get the opportunity to root for Noelle in the 18 & Under Girls final at noon and later, looking for the finals win this time, he’ll have his two sisters rooting for him from the viewing seats.  

All of Saturday’s action will take place on the featured table and fans will be able to watch the junior matches free on Facebook and YouTube. Fans hoping to catch the semi-finals and finals of the main event will have to do so with  the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long.

PPV Coverage
One Pocket Stage One Online Brackets
One Pocket Stage Two Online Brackets
Big Foot 10-Ball Brackets
9-Ball Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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International Open Advances 16 to Single Elimination Phase

JIC series begins its 18 & Under Boys and Girls Championships 

The winners’ side final 8 has been set for the beginning of the single elimination phase of the International Open’s 9-Ball tournament tomorrow (Fri., Nov. 4). As this report is being compiled (10 p.m., Thursday night), the eight competitors who will advance to the final 16 from the loss side are still competing. If Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz emerges victorious from his match against Bader Alawahdi, the final 16 in the event will contain seven of the top eight finishers (half the field) from the recently-concluded Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge, including Fedor Gorst, who won it and runner-up Joshua Filler.

Also advancing from the winners’ side into the final 16 will be Albin Ouschan, Wictor Zielinski, Jayson Shaw, Konrad Juszczyszyn, Roberto Gomez, and Alex Kazakis.

Already advancing from the loss side are Aloysius Yapp, who (very) recently defeated Jesus Atencio 10-8 and Mario He, who downed Sky Woodward 10-4. Still to be decided were matches between Robbie Capito/Ko Pin Yi, Jonas Souto/Noayuki Oi, Jani Uski/Moritz Neuhausen, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz/Bader Alawahdi, Ping Chung Ko/Mieszko Fortunski and David Alcaide/Abdullah Alyousef

JIC underway; Boys will play winners’ side final four and 7/8 matches, Girls to play hot seat and quarterfinals

A total of 16 boys (18 & Under) and 8 girls (18 & Under) came to Norfolk to compete in the final events of the 2022 Junior International Championship series. In the course of the eight-event season, which began in January, the competitors amassed points which, at the end of the eighth stop on the series, yielded a ‘top players’ list, which led to invitations to the Championship events for the 18 & Under Boys and Girls. 

Both of those events got underway today, Thursday, Nov. 3. At the end of the day, there were six boys and four girls left. The top two girls in the year-long rankings – Bethany Tate #1 and Sofia Mast #2 – will square off tomorrow afternoon (Friday, Nov. 4; 2 p.m.) in the 18 & Under Girls hot seat match. At noon, Precilia Kinsley and Noelle Tate will square off in the quarterfinals, to be followed by the semifinals at 7 p.m., pitting whoever did not claim the hot seat and the winner of the quarterfinals. The finals are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5 at noon.

At 10 a.m., tomorrow morning (Friday), the #2 and #3-ranked competitors from the 18 & Under Boys division – Landon Hollingsworth and Payne McBride will meet in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the other one, #13 Garrett Vaughan and #15 Justin Maywin will meet. On the loss side, also at 10 a.m., playing in the two 7/8 matches, the #1-ranked Joey Tate will meet the #14-ranked Logan Whitaker.

Of the remaining six, three of them (Worth, McBride & Tate) competed in the International Open’s 9-Ball Tournament, with Brent Worth drawing what was arguably the toughest draw. He faced Hall of Fame German Ralf Souquet in the opening round and then, on the loss side, faced and lost to former junior competitor Chris Reinhold. McBride lost a winners’ side match to one of the semifinalists in last week’s American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship, Mieszko Fortunski and fell to Alecsa Pecelj on the loss side. Tate lost to Abdullah Alyousef on the winners’ side and Sullivan Clark on the loss side.

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Gorst Wins International Open Big Foot Event

Fedor Gorst

Fedor Gorst turned in a phenomenal performance and won the International Open Big Foot 10-Ball event on Wednesday night at the Sheraton Waterside in Norfolk, Va. 

Even for Gorst, this was a an astounding display on the tight Diamond 10’ table that had humbled players this week. Gorst played like he was on a practice table though. His Total Performance Average (TPA) was 970 for his first two matches, against David Alcaide and Jayson Shaw. Those two performances were just one or two shots away from the best any player has ever performed on the Big Foot table. 

Gorst’s semi-final match against Albin Ouschan was his worst match of the event, where he only shot a 934,  on his way to scoring an 11-6 win. 

The final match saw Gorst back in top form, as he looked to be on his way to crushing Joshua Filler, leading 9-2 in the race to 11 match. The talk at the event was whether Gorst could better his 970 TPA from the first two rounds, but the pool gods had other ideas and punished Gorst with scratches on the break in his next two breaks. Filler is not someone who needs much of a late match opening to steal a match from someone and he quickly got back to within two racks at 9-7. 

That was as close as Filler would be able to get though, as Gorst won the next two racks for the 11-7 win and his first major event win on the Big Foot table.

Play at the International Open now focuses on 9-ball with just 48 players remaining in the open 9-Ball event at the beginning of play on Thursday. Those  players will compete in races to ten until the final sixteen players are redrawn into a single elimination bracket. 

Fans can watch not only the featured table with full commentary, but also any other table at the event with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long.

PPV Coverage
One Pocket Stage One Online Brackets
One Pocket Stage Two Online Brackets
Big Foot 10-Ball Brackets
9-Ball Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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Round One of Pat Fleming’s International Open 9-Ball Tournament in the books

Some expected and not-so expected advances highlight Day One of the 128-entrant 9-ball event  

Surprises?

At the level of talent on display at this week’s (Oct. 28-Nov. 5) International Open in Norfolk, VA, it’s hard to single out any one match in the event’s opening round of play and call the result a surprise. One’s reaction to a given result will depend largely on an individual’s perception of the players involved and their own sense of how a match between them would play out. This, in turn, might reveal more about the person being surprised (or not) than it might about the match result.

As a random example from the International Open’s first event of the week, the $10,000-added One Pocket tournament won by T-Rex (Tony Chohan; see story elsewhere in our News). If you haven’t already seen the results, imagine the semifinal match between Sky Woodward and Fedor Gorst, won by Woodward. Surprised? 

Round one of the Open’s $50,000-added, 128-entrant 9-Ball tournament is over. We offer a short and not comprehensive list of matches from the round, and without looking it up through our links to the bracket, pick a winner, find the result and then determine whether it’s a surprise to you. An indication (J) identifies the player as a junior competitor. Results at the end of the report.

Tapei’s Hsieh Chia-Chen vs. Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo (winner of last week’s American Straight Pool Championships in Virginia Beach)? Jesus Atencio vs. (J) Kashton Keeton? Earl Strickland vs. Taipei’s Hsuan Wei Kuo? Brandon Shuff vs. Russia’s Kristina Tkach, crowned as the Women’s 2022 Straight Pool Champion last week in Virginia Beach? Hunter Lombardo vs. Shane Wolford? BJ Ussery, Jr. vs. Chris Rienhold? Corey Deuel vs. Sharik Sayed? Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski (semifinalist at the Straight Pool Championships) vs. Matt Krah? Vietnam’s Brian Vu vs. (J) Payne McBride? Justin Martin vs. Lukas Fracasso-Verner (former J)? 

Among those whose victories in the opening round were not likely have been a surprise to anybody were: Jayson Shaw’s win over John Francisco, Spain’s David Alcaide (the last piece added to Europe’s Mosconi Cup team puzzle), who defeated USA’s Sullivan Clark 10-6, Sky Woodward’s victory (albeit, double-hill victory) over Italy’s Francesco Candela, Fedor Gorst’s win over Curucao’s Bryan Farah 10-7 and Joshua Filler’s shutout victory over USA’s Christopher Pyle. There are, of course, others who have advanced on the winners’ side, which, for purposes of brevity, we’ll restrict to those not listed above who are among the top 10 in our Money Leaderboard: Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, Greece’s Alex Kazakis, Austria’s Albin Ouschan and the Philippines’ Roberto Gomez.

Among the key matchups highlighting Round Two today (Tuesday, Nov. 1) will be 6 p.m. battles between Alex Kazakis and veteran US competitor Raymond Linares, junior competitor Joey Tate’s matchup against Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyousef, Sanchez-Ruiz versus Justin Martin,  Roberto Gomez against Alex Pagulayan and junior competitor Payne McBride taking on Straight Pool Championship runner-up, Mieszko Fortunski. At 8 p.m., Albin Oushcan will take on Thorsten Hohmann, David Alcaide faces Josh Roberts, Hungary’s Vilmos Foldes will go up against Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi, and the winner of the Strickland/Hsuan Wei Kuo match (revealed below) versus Taipei’s Hsieh Chia-Chen (all 8 p.m.). At 10 p.m., Round Two’s winners’ bracket will continue with Tony Chohan against last week’s Straight Pool Championship runner-up Wiktor Zielinski, Jayson Shaw will meet the winner of the Shuff/Tkach match (revealed below), Ralf Souquet will go up against BJ Ussery, Alex Pagulayan will take on Roberto Gomez and Sanchez-Ruiz will battle Justin Martin. 

(‘Surprise?’ results from above: Junior competitor Kashton Keeton defeated Jesus Atencio 10-6,  Strickland got by Wei Kuo 10-5, Taipei’s Chia-Chen sent Dimitri Jungo to the loss side 10-7, Shuff beat Tkach 10-8, Lombardo over Wolford 10-6. Ussery over Reinhold 10-9, Sayed downs Deuel 10-6, Fortunski gets by Krah 10-7, Junior competitor Payne McBride defeats Brian Vu 10-2 and Justin Martin moves on with a double hill win over Lukas Fracasso-Verner.) 

Fans can watch not only the featured table with full commentary, but also any other table at the event with the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long.

PPV Coverage
One Pocket Stage One Online Brackets
One Pocket Stage Two Online Brackets
Big Foot 10-Ball Brackets
9-Ball Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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Switzerland downs Poland in 17th American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Dimitri Jungo

Jungo wins roller coast final vs. Zielinski/Tkach defeats Corr in Women’s event.

You had to be there.

As it’s been for a number of years, the annual American Straight Pool Championships, held this past week (Oct. 24-29) at Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA were not just about who beat who, by how much. Or the specifics of about how the male and female fields whittled down from 56 men and 15 women to Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo, who won the Men’s event and Russia’s Kristina Tkach, who won the Women’s event; each, right after it was over, holding their 17th annual traditional clock and collecting their envelopes with $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

It was, too, about the gathering of world-class competitors, kicking back in the highly-congenial atmosphere of this country’s largest pool room, regaling each other with stories of past exploits, current battles in their individual matches and where they’re headed next. It’s a pool player knocked out of the competition early, preparing for this week’s International Open, about 20 miles away, by practicing one type of shot (a corner-to-corner, stop shot) for hours. Or a female competitor describing the dancing skills of two female friends in a long-ago moment after an event that had an entire table of people in stitches. It’s about the photos of all the US Open Champions crowned in the room, the commendations from 50+ years of pool players, and of course, scores aside, the quality of play.

“The quality of play this year was just unbelievable,” founder and Chairman of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships, Peter Burrows told a packed arena at the conclusion of the Men’s event. “It’s why we come here every year.”

“(Jungo and Zeilinski) had a number of exquisite safety battles tonight that were really remarkable,” he added of the final match.

In his first time competing in these straight pool championships, Jungo revealed that it was only the second time that he had played the game competitively all year. He recalled being here in the US in 2001; a year he referenced as ‘9-11.’

“And now,” he said, shortly after claiming the Men’s title, “here I am, 18 years later.”

Though hesitant to single out one particular discipline as his ‘favorite,’ he admitted to an affection for straight pool that has lasted for a long time. He admits to playing it a lot more by himself than in competition.

“I like it,” he said. “When I play it alone, I can challenge myself.”

In the more-than-just-winning-or-losing department, he was impressed with the milieu associated with Q Master Billiards. He admitted to being enchanted by it and used a somewhat dated expression to describe it.

“I like the ‘groove’ here,” he said. “It’s like. . . pool, where it’s born. I feel like it’s home. The way they treat the people here is very special.”

“I was very comfortable here,” he added of the week he’d spent at the tables, moments after that week was over, “and I’m feeling good.”

As well he might have, having just won a tournament that at its start a week ago, had other competitors ‘pegged’ for the win; among the others – Jayson Shaw, Fedor Gorst, the surging-in-Europe Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, final European member of the 2022 Mosconi Cup Team, David Alcaide, Josh Filler and Filipino Lee Van Corteza, who would finish the Round Robin Phase of the event with the highest point differential (504) of the eight groups of seven players each. Jungo would finish third overall in that department at 460, behind Van Corteza and Josh Filler (498).

Jungo finished #1 in his seven-man group, downing Jasmin Ouschan, Corey Deuel, Bob Madenjian, Ed Culhane and countryman Michael Schneider (who would later introduce himself as the “other one from Switzerland.”) Jungo’s loss came at the stick of Darren Appleton.

Poland’s Wictor Zielinski, in the meantime, was #1 in his group, as well, downing his own list of top-ranked pros – Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, Denis Grabe, Bart Czapla and the USA’s Pascal Dufresne, who, when he done competing, became a statistician for the event, seated behind a computer, using a 14:Straight Pool program he had written to input analytic data about each match he was able to witness. Zielinski’s loss in the Round Robin phase was to Finland’s Jani Uski.

All four of the event’s semifinalists – Jungo, Zielinski, Mario He and Mieszko Fortunski – were #1 in their Round Robin groups. They, along with the other four top competitors to come out of the Round Robin phase – Josh Filler, John Morra, Francisco Candela and Lee Van Corteza were awarded opening round byes as second- and third-place competitors (16 of them) squared off in the opening round of the single elimination phase of the event, racing to 150. Gone at the conclusion of that opening round were (among others) Jayson Shaw, Darren Appleton and Albin Ouschan. In the final 16 round, Lee Van Corteza, Ralf Souquet, Sanchez-Ruiz (downed by Zielinski), The Lion (Alex Pagulayan) and Carlo Biado (defeated by Jungo) were gone as well.

The quarterfinal matches saw Jungo eliminate Morra, Mario He defeat Lebanon’s Bader Alawadhi, Mieszko Fortunski get by David Alcaide in the closest match of the tournament 150-148, and Zielinski wave goodbye to Joshua Filler (not literally) in the most lopsided match of the single elimination phase, 150-38.

The racing-to-175 semifinals, which guaranteed that one of the finalists would be from Poland, saw Zielinski down Fortunski 175-55. Jungo joined him after defeating Austria’s Mario He 175-85.

As noted by Burrows earlier, the final match was a bit of a roller coaster ride. If you weren’t aware that fouls can send scores moving in the opposite direction, you might have been surprised if you stepped away when the score was tied at 55-55 and returned to find out it had backed up to 54-53 in favor of Jungo.

“(Zielinski) got out to a lead early,” noted Jungo. “but I made it to 67 (ahead by 14), and then, we had those safety battles in the middle; four or five of them.”

Zielinski kept fighting back and took the lead back at the 131-130 stage of the game, at which point, the scores went backwards again, to 129-128. Jungo re-established the lead and expanded it to 147-136. With 28 balls to go, he got them all. At 162-136, right after his break had left 14 on the table, with only 13 to go, Jungo ran the table to claim the title.

Kristina Tkach

After protracted absence since 2019, Ireland’s Karen Corr makes it to Women’s final

Ireland’s Karen Corr has been making her presence known on the women’s circuit since her somewhat unofficial return from an unofficial absence since 2019. She’d appeared on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour this year, finished 3rd at the WPBA’s Michigan Open (tied with Allison Fisher) and made an appearance at last week’s Sledgehammer Open, the 1st memorial tournament for Helena Thornfeldt. She ‘chose’ to record her highest return-finish in Virginia Beach at an event not without its favored competitors. Some were looking ahead almost from the start to a rematch between Tkach and the event’s defending champion, Kelly Fisher, who had matched up twice against each other at the Sledgehammer Open; Tkach taking the first in a winners’ side semifinal and Kelly, the second in the final.

Not so fast. There were three round robin ‘flights’ with five players each, from which Corr, Tkach and Fisher emerged undefeated. Joining them in an opening, single-elimination round were Bethany Sykes (vs. Tkach), Dawn Hopkins (vs. Corr), Billie Billing (vs. Fisher) and Bean Hung, squaring off against Pia Filler. Racing to 80, Tkach allowed Sykes one ball, Hung gave up 23 to Filler, Fisher gave Billing 42, while Corr and Hopkins played the closest match; won by Corr 80-50.

The potential Fisher/Tkach final was still on, but not for long. In the semifinals, Tkach downed Hung 100-49, as Corr was likely surprising Kelly Fisher with a 100-36 win that put her in her first (recorded) final in two years.

Tkach has won the European straight pool championships twice, though like many others, it’s not a discipline that she gets to play that often.

“When I was very young, about 16 or 17, I played a full-year of straight pool every day,” she said, noting that her coach at the time was trying to get her to that oft-elusive first run of 100 balls, “but I was at a different level back then, too.”

“It is a game that you play maybe once a year,” she added, “but once you learn how to play it, it’s like riding a bicycle. Once you understand it, it’s really just about making balls.”

She got on the bike, made the balls and claimed the second American Women’s 14.1 Straight Pool Championship Title.

Many of the competitors who were in Virginia Beach over the past week have already moved on to Norfolk, VA, about 20 miles west of Q Master Billiards, to compete in Pat Fleming’s International Open, which began on Friday, Oct. 28 with a $10,000-added One Pocket tournament (to which many knocked out of the straight pool at Q Master Billiards migrated). The One Pocket will conclude today (Sunday, Oct. 30) and give way to the $50,000-added 9-Ball Tournament set to begin tomorrow (Monday, Oct. 31), which should make for an interesting Halloween night. Later in the week, the Junior International Championships will conclude their 2022 season with championship tournaments for the 18 & Under Boys and Girls divisions of the series.

And a final unofficial and unquoted word from Peter Burrows about the 18th Annual American 14.1 Straight Pool Tournament next year, which he has promised (with a little help from his friends) will be bigger and better with more players and more money.

“You have to be there!”

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Jayson Shaw Returns To Team Europe At 2022 Mosconi Cup

Jayson Shaw has been confirmed as the first wild card pick for Team Europe at the 2022 Mosconi Cup set to take place at Bally’s Las Vegas, live on Sky Sports, from November 30 to December 3 as well as on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, and Italy and on Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, and Poland.

‘It’s about getting in their heads. I am the man for that job.” – Jayson Shaw 

“His heart is on his sleeve, and he leaves it all out there.” – Alex Lely

Team Europe’s captain Alex Lely locked in his first Mosconi Cup wild card pick just a week after Francisco Sanchez Ruiz and Albin Ouschan joined Joshua Filler on his side from the Live Nineball World Rankings.

Shaw comes into the Mosconi Cup as a two-time MVP claiming the crown in the last two editions of the transatlantic tussle between Europe and the USA. The Brit will head to Las Vegas looking to write further chapters in his already bulging CV at the cup that has seen him become one of the most feared players in the history of the competition.

“It’s amazing to be back in the team again. I am super excited to be picked. Alex Lely has a lot of experience with me on the team and I believe my leadership in the last few years with the team has been amazing. I am super excited and cannot wait to join back up with the team. It’s a great feeling to represent Europe for the seventh year,” said Shaw.
“It’s been tough the last few times we’ve played in Las Vegas. I know it will be amazing. I have great memories and some bad ones. The memory that sticks out most for me was winning and when I played Shane (Van Boening) and beat him and went to stand on his chair and got the crowd really riled up! That was something special. ”

Eagle Eye has been known as a thorn in the USA side in recent times claiming two singles victories and three doubles last year: “When it comes to taunting the American fans and getting them riled up, I love it. This is what the Mosconi Cup is about. It’s about getting in their heads. I am the man for that job. I like to get in their heads before it’s even started, and this year is no different. Get them all hot and bothered, and get under their skin. Get them frustrated, get them to hate me. The more hate I get, I love it. It brings out the best of me at the Mosconi Cup.”

Captain Lely added: “Jayson is just as we know him. His heart is on his sleeve, and he leaves it all out there. That’s of huge value to the team. His intensity means he can take a lot of heat and the bigger the stage. the more he thrives. This is what we as a whole team expect him to do this year. He has shown he can bring his game out there and the energy in the practice room and online. It’s good for the team to have Jayson involved. He can lead by example.”

Fans can expect to hear more from Shaw in the coming weeks with the launch of the new Golden Break Podcast series where Matchroom Multi Sport Managing Director Emily Frazer will hold in-depth conversations with some of the biggest characters in the sport to get to know who the person really is beyond Nineball. Be the first to watch Shaw’s episode by signing up to the Matchroom Pool Club for free here. 

One further wild card pick will be revealed by Lely in the coming weeks to complete Team Europe with Jeremy Jones set to announce his two wild cards for Team USA in the same time frame.

On Jones’ American side Skyler Woodward and Oscar Dominguez were confirmed to be joining Van Boening last week off the Live Nineball World Rankings. Make sure you stay tuned to the Matchroom Pool social pages to get the latest news as Mosconi Cup news drops. FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest.

The 2022 Mosconi Cup will be live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland as well as on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, and Italy and on Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, the Netherlands, and Poland. Further broadcasters will be announced in the coming weeks with live coverage also set to be live on Matchroom.Live for those without a broadcaster in their country.

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