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Big Names Fall In Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open

Alex Kazakis

Alex Kazakis, Ko Ping Han and Chang Yu-Lung were among the big names knocked out of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open on the second day of play at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, while the likes of Kelly Fisher, Margaret Fefilova and Chia Hua Chen are already into the last 16 of the Women’s event.

A goliath match up between Ko Pin-Yi and Alex Kazakis would usually be reserved for the closing stages of any tournament, but here it was a match in the second round on the losers’ side of the draw. Ko had been beaten by Denis Grabe on the opening day but a 4-1, 4-0 win over another Estonian, Gert Gnadeberg, got the two-time World Champion up and running.

A shootout defeat to Jonas Souto Comino in the first winners’ round earlier in the day had sent Kazakis to the one-loss side and, like Ko, he now needed three wins to qualify for the straight-knockout last 32.

Ko looked certain to take the first set 4-1 but missed a straight 3 by going rail first in attempt to gain position on the 4. However, another chance presented itself and was taken in the sixth rack as Ko took the set 4-2.

The first two racks of set two were shared and it was Kazakis who had a clear opening in the third, only to miss the 1 to the side when a simple 2/10 was waiting. Ko took the gift but Kazakis was level again at 2-2 one rack later. The Greek was then able to lead for the first time when Ko missed the 9, but the Taiwanese leveled at 3-3 to move a rack away from victory.

Kazakis needed to hope for a chance as Ko broke on the hill, and he got one immediately as Ko struggled to find power with his break, leaving Kazakis a layout from which he took a clear path to the shootout.

In the tie break, neither player so much as clipped a jaw in their four regulation innings, forcing sudden death where it was Kazakis who blinked first. Ko had already taken a 5-4 shootout lead when the Greek missed his fifth shot to be eliminated from the tournament. Ko’s next opponent will be Tyler Styer.

However, Ko’s brother Ping Han is out of the event after suffering a shootout defeat to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Batista. The home player took the first set 4-3 before Ko fired back, only to lose 3-2 in the shootout. Another local favorite, USA’s Puerto Rico-born Tony Robles, awaits Batista in the next round.

With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.

In the Women’s Open, eight of the last 16 are now known. Kelly Fisher defeated Kristina Tkach by shootout to reach the single-elimination stage, while Canada Open champion ‘Amber’ Chen was winner over Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi. Pia Filler, Allison Fisher and Margaret Fefilova make it four Europeans already through.

The other four players to reach the last 16 undefeated are all from Asia, with Filipino speed-shooter Chezka Centeno and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wan-Ling and Tzu-Chien Wei joining compatriot Chen in the last 16 draw.

The Open event moves to single elimination with 32 players remaining. Winners’ qualification matches commence at 10am local time with Fedor Gorst, Carlo Biado and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz among those with two chances to qualify. Wiktor Zielinski, Roberto Gomez and Yukio Akagariyama are some of the experienced players who will have to win two matches on the losers’ side of the draw if they are to make it.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Thursday with six more matches streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Yapp wins 9-ball and 10-ball events at $10K-added, 3rd Annual Meucci Classic

Silviana Lu and Aloysius Yapp

Silviana Lu wins Ladies 9-ball

Yep, Yapp won ‘em both. And his girlfriend, Silviana Lu won the other one. 

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic at Racks Billiards Sports Bar & Grill in Sanford, FL this past weekend (Nov. 10-13) gave Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp his third and fourth 2022 event victory, which added to his already-best (recorded with us) earnings year since we recorded his first two cash winnings in September of 2012, a week apart; a 17th place finish at the Party Poker World Cup of Pool in Quezon City in the Philippines (won by Mika Immonen) and a week+ later, a 33rd place finish at the China Open in Shanghai (won by Dennis Orcollo). 

So, the Meucci Classic was nowhere near his first rodeo. By the same token, Yapp’s presence outside of a fairly consistent group of world-travelling pool professionals had him flying under a lot of the US pool-playing radar until he showed up in the finals of the 2021 US Open 9-Ball Championships in Atlantic City and battled in the finals (unsuccessfully) against Carlo Biado. He became a much more consistently-present figure for the rest of the year, with appearances in (among others) the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships (9th), the International 9-Ball Open (17th), the International Open’s Big Foot 10-Ball (3rd behind Joshua Filler and Mika Immonen) and a win on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series in Battle Creek, Michigan.

He’s cashed in 19 events this year, winning four of them, runner-up in two and 3rd in three. He won this year’s Michigan Open and the Sandcastle Open before heading to the eastern shores of Virginia where he finished 9th at this year’s International Open 9-Ball tournament and was 3rd for the second time at the Big Foot 10-Ball event; this time, behind the juggernaut known as Fedor Gorst and Joshua Filler. He shuffled off to Sanford, FL last weekend, where he went undefeated through seven opponents, downing Austria’s Max Lechner twice; double hill in the hot seat match and 9-5 in the finals of the $4,000-added, 121-entrant 9-Ball tournament.

Left in the good-company dust (among others) were Austria’s Wiktor Zielinski, Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski, Germany’s Moritz Neuhausen, Finland’s Mika Immonen, Austria’s Mario He, Greece’s Alex Kazakis and Estonia’s Denis Grabe. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis finished the tournament with the distinction of having won the most consecutive matches, 10 of them on the loss side, before he was stopped by Lechner in the semifinals. Leading the American charge for the title was BJ Ussery, Jr., who finished 4th; an outstanding finish for the South/mid-Atlantic competitor. Also in the US lineup were local stalwarts Anthony Meglino, Donny Mills, Mike Delawder, Raymond Linares, Bobby Garza and 1992’s US Open 9-Ball Champion, Tommy Kennedy.

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic’s $5,000-added, 63-entrant 10-Ball Tournament was a different story. Same ending, just a different story. The 10-Ball battles preceded and overlapped the 9-Ball battles, so Yapp availed himself of the six-opponent practice opportunity, with an extra ball in the game, and went undefeated. He got by Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn and two Americans, George Saunders and Alan Rolon Rosado, to advance to the 16-player, single-elimination phase of the event. Yapp was joined in the winners’ side advancement by Wiktor Zielinski, Bosnia/Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovich, Dmitri Loukatos, Taipei’s Jung Lin Chan and Jeffrey DeLuna. BJ Ussery, Jr., who’d go on to finish fourth in the 9-Ball competition, advanced, as did Donny Mills. Joining them from the loss side were Adam Wheeler, Max Lechner, Pijus Labutis (who would not get the most consecutive win prize in this event), Jani Uski, Mika Immonen, Mario He, David Singleton and Denis Grabe.

Ussery would engage in the only double hill battle of the single-elimination’s first round, against Jani Uski, and it would knock him out of the 10-Ball competition. Three of the four quarterfinal matches went double hill; Immonen over Uski, Yapp over Labutis, and Grabe over Lechner. Zielinski downed Pehlivanovic 11-5.

Zielinski ‘iced’ the Iceman, allowing him only a single rack in one of the semifinal matches, while Yapp was a little busier, eliminating Grabe 11-7. Yapp claimed the 10-Ball title with a stingy 11-3 victory over Zielinski.

Indonesia’s Silviana Lu goes undefeated, winning 81% of her 37 games to claim Ladies title

In this, her first year as a cash-winning player in our AZBilliards database, Indonesia’s Silviana Lu has cashed in only two events. She finished in a tie for 5th place at the Asian Pool Federation’s 9-Ball Open, Women’s Division in August. A month later, she finished in the tie for 9th place at the WPBA’s Michigan Open. Her boyfriend, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp finished in the tie for 17th in the former event and won the latter.

She has recorded her first event victory with us as a result of going undefeated through a field of 27 entrants in the $1,000-added Ladies 9-Ball event. And she did so by defeating her six opponents with an 81% game-winning average (30-7), shutting out half of them and not allowing any of them to chalk up more than three against her; Nicolle Cuellar, who has Florida-area tour victories and cash finishes going back 10 years to the former Flamingo Tour.

Note to competitors looking to take advantage of the increased amount of money being offered at Scotch Doubles events across the country: In addition to the Fillers (Joshua and Pia) and the Fedor Gorst/Kristina Tkach pairing, you might want to watch out for the Yapp/Lu partnership.

Lu’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Marge Soash (0), Cuellar (3), Palmoa Santana (1) and Jessica Human (1) to arrive at the hot seat match versus Jennifer Berzinski to whom she gave up two racks to claim the seat. Adriana Villar, who lost her opening match to Cuellar and won eight on the loss side (shutting out three and surviving a double hill match against Helene Caukin), challenged Lu in the finals. Lu shut her out to claim the event title.

In addition to the 218 participants in the three events (with some duplication), tour representatives thanked title sponsor Meucci Cues, the ownership and staff at Rack’s for their hospitality, Outsville, JB Cases, Carlos Sanchez productions, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and Clutch Shot Billiards Apparel.

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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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Gorst Wins FargoRate Ohio Open For Third Predator Pro Billiard Series Title

Fedor Gorst

Fedor Gorst defeated Roberto Gomez to win the FargoRate Ohio Open and become the first man to win three Predator Pro Billiard Series titles, while his Filipino opponent has now lost in three finals on this series.

Gorst won a hill-hill second set to clinch the title 4-2, 4-3 and avoid the shootout Gomez was fighting for until he scratched with the second set in sight. It means Gorst takes home $25,000 and adds the Ohio title to those won in Arizona in January this year and August of 2021. Aloysius Yapp won last month’s Seybert’s Michigan Open to join Gorst in having won two men’s Pro Billiard Series titles, but Gorst now stands alone with three; Kelly Fisher has won four times in Women’s Pro Billiard Series events.

For Gomez, it is another second place on the Predator Pro Billiard Series. He was runner-up here and in Michigan last year and came close to forcing the shootout in Saturday’s final at the Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio. 

The Filipino won the first rack of the match before Gorst took a 2-1 lead in the opening set. Gomez pulled it back to 2-2 when Gorst failed to thinly cut the 7 but a dry break brought Gorst back from his chair. A 7/10 combo took the former World Champion to the hill of the first set and he ran the next rack to take a 1-0 lead at the halfway stage. 

The first rack of the second set belonged to Gorst but when he couldn’t jump the 1 it looked like Gomez would have an opening. However, the Filipino missed a long 9 and Gorst capitalized to take a 2-0 lead.

With the match slipping from his grasp, Gomez needed something and his opponent’s dry break provided a chance to cut the deficit in half. This time Gomez made no mistake and he ran the fourth rack to level the set at 2-2. The Filipino then lead for the first time since the first rack of the match, reaching the hill 3-2 up and one away from a shootout.

He had an immediate chance to complete the set with a 1/10 carom presenting itself after the break, but Gomez couldn’t take it down. However, Gorst then left the 1 for Gomez, only for the Filipino to fail on the 3. That brought Gorst back and there were no further errors as he leveled the set with a 9/10 combo. 

A dry break handed the table to Gomez but he didn’t control the speed of the cue and scratched on the 4. That gave Gorst a chance to clear for the match and after he used the 8 to guide the 5 to the top corner, the table was open. The two-time Pro Billiard Series champion cleared the table to lift his third trophy on this series.

“It has been a complete rollercoaster,” said Gorst. “Especially in the final, I didn’t play my best game but it is almost always like this in the finals. The tournament has been crazy, I have had a lot of shootouts and almost lost twice, against Alex Kazakis and Sullivan Clark.”

Gorst took less than one hour to complete a 4-0, 4-0 semi-final wipeout of Estonia’s Denis Grabe, a far cry from the shootout win he’d had against Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz in Friday’s quarter-final. For Gomez, the last hurdle before the final was Eklent Kaci

The Albanian took the first set 4-2 but Gomez earned the shootout with a 4-1 second set. Both players scored their first three spot shots but both then missed on their fourth visit. Kaci then failed for a second time and Gomez converted for a place in the final. 

The final Predator Pro Billiard Series events of 2022 take place in Puerto Rico, November 15 through 22 as part of the CueSports International Caribbean Expo. The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open and Women’s Open will be followed by the Predator World 8-Ball Championship and the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships.

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2022-fargorate-ohio-open/

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

The Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series by CSI feature six open professional events during the calendar year. Created by league operator CueSports International together with the Predator Group, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the following year Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held during the annual CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

These events are played on Predator Apex professional tables covered with Predator Arcadia Reserve Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

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Gorst, Grabe, Kaci & Gomez Are Fargorate Ohio Open Semi-Finalists

Fedor Gorst

Fedor Gorst won a dramatic shootout against Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz to reach the semi-finals of the FargoRate Ohio Open and will take on Denis Grabe for a place in the final, where either Eklent Kaci or Roberto Gomez will await.

Gorst beat Sanchez-Ruiz 9-8 on shootout, with the Spaniard’s miss in the ninth innings the only failed spot shot from either player. Estonia’s Grabe defeated defending champion Mario He to reach the last four, while Kaci advanced with a win over Mika Immonen and Gomez knocked out Dutchman Jan van Lierop.

Both semi-finals and the final take place on Saturday at the Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio, which is also staging the CSI Ohio State Championships. The FargoRate Ohio Open champion will win $25,000 and a guaranteed invite to the 2023 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, taking place in February in Las Vegas.

Spain’s Sanchez-Ruiz is enjoying what is now the best year of his career by some distance and hadn’t lost a set until he came up against Gorst in the last eight in Ohio.

After losing the first set 4-1, Sanchez-Ruiz was quick to build a 3-0 lead in the second. However, Gorst fought back all the way to hill-hill and looked set to complete the turnaround, and the match, until he lost position on the 7 and ended with the object tied to the cue. Sanchez-Ruiz got the next opportunity at an open ball and cleared what was left to force the shootout.

However it was Gorst, winner of the Apex Wisconsin Open in January, who came out on top in the shootout. Neither player had so much as rattled a jaw until Sanchez-Ruiz missed after nine shots each.

Grabe lies in wait for Gorst in the first semi-final of Saturday’s play after sending home defending champ – and travel partner – He with a 4-3, 4-1 victory. “It is always tough to play against a friend,” said Grabe. “Mario is a great player, it was a crazy match, back and forth, back and forth, but I managed to win the first set and that cooled me down a little bit, and from there on I played my game and that is a good win for me.”

Having won shootouts against Wojciech Szewczyk and Wu Kun Lin earlier in the day, Kaci made easier work for himself in his quarter-final against Immonen. The Albanian won 4-2, 4-1 for his fourth victory of the day. “It feels pretty good to be in the semi-finals of the FargoRate Ohio Open,” he said. “It was a long day and I had a few shootouts, but here we are.”

Standing between Kaci and the final is ‘Superman’ Roberto Gomez. The Filipino started the day by beating young Finnish sensation Riku Rompannen in a shootout to qualify for the last 16. He then crushed Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn 4-0, 4-1 to set up a quarter-final against the Netherland’s Jan van Lierop.

Van Lierop reached the last eight via an incredible shootout against America’s last-man-standing, Justin Martin. Martin had won the first set 4-1, but van Lierop forced the spot shots with a 4-2 second set. What followed was a masterclass in shootout pool. Neither player missed a shot until the 13th innings, at which point both then failed in succession. However, at 14-14 Martin missed – again from the left side – and van Lierop didn’t give up his second chance to win the match.

Given the length of the shootout, Van Lierop had little time to prepare for his quarter final and was soon 2-0 down to Gomez. The Dutchman pulled it back to 2-1 before eventually losing the set 4-2, and despite winning the first rack of the second set, went down 4-1 as Gomez advanced to the final day.

The FargoRate Ohio Open continues from 10am ET on Saturday with both semi finals and the final streamed free on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2022-fargorate-ohio-open/

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Sanchez-Ruiz moves closer to Mosconi Cup selection with undefeated win on home felt in Spain

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz

Going into the PRP Nineball Open last weekend (Sept. 14-18) at the Exe Boston Hotel in Zaragoza, Spain, the struggle for a 3rd place spot on the Mosconi Cup’s European team, defined, as of August 31, by the Nineball World Rankings, was something of a race between Austria’s Mario He and Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz. Both made it undefeated through two separate knockout rounds of the 128-entrant field in Spain. They both went on, undefeated to the finals where Sanchez-Ruiz prevailed to claim the event title, his fourth major title of the year.

With the USA’s Shane Van Boening and Germany’s Joshua Filler holding the top two spots in those Nineball World Rankings and being too far ahead in the rankings to be unseated, each Mosconi Cup team will select two more from the list at the conclusion of the final three ranking events; The Euro Tour Dynamic Billiards Slovenia Open in Lasko, Slovenia (Oct. 1-3), the Sandcastle 9-Ball Open at Sandcastle Billiards in Edison, NJ (Oct. 6-8) and the US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, NJ (Oct. 10-15). With Austria’s Albin Ouschan, who did not compete in Spain, currently in the #3 position in the World Rankings and in the driver’s seat to claim a second spot on the Mosconi Cup team, the third selected seat continues to be a struggle between Sanchez-Ruiz (currently #4) and He (#5). Though at the moment, Sanchez-Ruiz has a commanding lead and seems likely to draw the third pick, it might well continue into next week’s Slovenia Open and depending on whether the two opt for a trip to New Jersey afterwards, it could end up on this side of the Atlantic. 

Sanchez-Ruiz and He emerged from separate brackets to advance to the PRP Nineball Open’s final draw of 32. Sanchez-Ruiz, after being awarded an opening round bye, defeated two of his fellow countrymen, Manuel Fernandez and Gabriel Carral 9-2 to qualify for the single-elimination Phase Two (well over 50% of the field was from Spain). He was joined from the winners’ side of the bracket by countrymen Jose Alberto Delgado and Jose Castillo, Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis, Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski and Mieszko Fortunski, Marc Bijsterbosch from the Netherlands and Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki. 

In the other Phase 1 bracket, Mario He (also awarded a bye) defeated Spaniards Amalia Matas 9-4 and Mayte Ropero 9-7 to be among the winners’ side competitors to advance. Germany’s Ralf Souquet was on that list, too, as were Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn, Switzerland’s Ronald Regli, Spain’s David Alcaide and Jonas Souto, Estonia’s Denis Grabe and, also in the running for that 3rd spot on the Mosconi Cup team, behind He, Alex Kazakis from Greece.

Sanchez-Ruiz’ toughest battle advancing to the event’s quarterfinals came in the opening round of the single-elimination Round 2, when Francisco Diaz chalked up eight racks against him. From there, it was relatively smooth sailing through Ivan Nunez 11-3 for Sanchez-Ruiz to arrive at his quarterfinal matchup versus Delgado. He, on the other hand, began his single-elimination advancement with two double hill matches against Portugal’s Sara Rocha and Spain’s Iker Echeverria, which he successfully negotiated to face Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic. Three competitors lurking behind Sanchez-Ruiz and He on the rankings list, appeared in the other two quarterfinals. Kazakis, immediately below He on the list, faced Denis Grabe (in the 20s on the list), as Szolnoki, immediately below Kazakis, met up with Zielinski, immediately behind him.

Sanchez-Ruiz downed Delgado 11-5 and in the semifinals, picked up Zielenski, who’d eliminated Szolnoki 11-8. He defeated Pehlivanovic 11-2 and drew Kazakis, who’d eliminated Grabe 11-7.

Assuring their spots on the rankings list, Sanchez-Ruiz and He advanced to the finals; Sanchez-Ruiz 11-5 over Zielinski and He 11-2 over Kazakis. 

It was clear from the outset of the finals that Sanchez-Ruiz and He were playing for more than bragging rights at their local pub. He broke the initial rack and ran the table to open the scoring. Sanchez-Ruiz broke and won the second to create the first of only two ties in the race to 13. 

Sanchez-Ruiz won the next four to go ahead 5-1, at which point the two of them embarked on a series of runs that narrowed that lead down to between two and three racks. He got within a single rack three times in that stretch, at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7, but He’s win of rack #15 opened the door for Sanchez-Ruiz to head on out on a four-match run that put him on the hill, ahead by five at 12-7. 

He, though, came right back and matched Sanchez-Ruiz’ longest run of the game at the start, winning five racks to force a single deciding game. He broke, but left himself with a low-percentage shot at the 1-ball, sitting north of and at a sharp angle to a side pocket. He played safe and began a two-ball safety battle that took up nearly half of the final match-time. Sanchez-Ruiz broke it up after He had given him an opening on the 2-ball that also opened the table. Sanchez-Ruiz ran them from there and claimed the event title.

The battle for the two remaining European Mosconi Cup slots (not counting the coach’s two wild-card picks), moves on to Lasko, Slovenia.

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Eight Remain At European Open Pool Championship

Shane Van Boening (Taka Wu – Matchroom Multi Sport)

Nineball World Numbers One and Two in Shane Van Boening and Joshua Filler both made it through to the quarter-finals of the inaugural European Open Pool Championship at Hotel Esperanto, Fulda in Germany live on  Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland as well as on Viaplay in Scandinavia and the Baltics and various other broadcasters worldwide including Matchroom.Live in relevant countries.

SCORES / BRACKET

Filler came up against Mosconi Cup teammate Jayson Shaw in the opening contest on Table 1 with the Killer looking to make it through to the next stage on home soil whilst his opponent was looking for their first taste of singles glory in a Matchroom event since 2017. Shaw took an early lead with a golden break in the first rack but Filler came back including a golden break of his own to lead 3-1 and set early pace.

There were some tetchy moments from both players and after five racks Filler edged it 3-2 and took control from then on opening up an assertive lead at 8-2 to put him only two away from a clash with either Mario He of Austria or Besar Spahiu of Albania for a spot in the semi-finals tomorrow. Shaw played a full-length bank to make the one in the 11th rack and from there ran out to cut the deficit but it was short-lived as Filler came true appeasing the home fans with a break and run in the final rack which included an inch-perfect jump shot on the one.

Van Boening’s task to reach the quarter-finals was one of trials and tribulation against Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanović. The pair couldn’t be split after four racks in a high-quality encounter in a meeting of generations. Pehlivanović trailed 4-2 when Van Boening had seemingly left the youngster hooked but he had other ideas playing a full-length bank of his own whilst jumping the six ball only for SVB to get back to the table and establish a three-rack lead at 5-1. The performance from Van Boening wasn’t what he would describe as clinical and it’s something that Pehlivanović bayed on to level matters back up swiftly at 5-5 and sending a warning sign to the World Champion.

Pehlivanović had his chances to take the game to Van Boening and establish a lead of his own but a scratch on the break from the former Junior World Champion put him under the cosh and Van Boening in the commanding position to run out and amass an 8-5 lead. Van Boening broke dry in the next rack to allow Pehlivanović a chance to get back in it again at 8-6. Another scratch on the break later from Pehlivanović and Van Boening was on the hill.

On the hill, Van Boening and Pehlivanović faltered with varying degrees of opportunity to take it one way or another only for the former to have the final say on things and book a quarter-final date with Mateusz Sniegocki tonight. Sniegocki was rampant at times against Jonas Souto Comino who was playing in his first Matchroom Last 16 tie but the experience of Sniegocki made Souto Comino head home before the evening session.

Elsewhere, Mieszko Fortunski got the better of fellow Pole Tomasz Kaplan on Table 2 10-4 to meet Jose Alberto Delgado in the last eight who had overcome Ronald Regli in a spirited fightback where it looked like it would be Regli who would face Fortunski next only for Delgado to dig deep from behind to defeat the Swiss cueist 10-7. Mario He meanwhile made lightwork of Besar Spahiu of Albania to meet Filler next whilst Konrad Juszczyszyn became the third Polish player into the quarter-finals with a win against Canada’s John Morra.

Albin Ouschan (Taka Wu – Matchroom Multi Sport)

Albin Ouschan became the final name into the quarter-finals after the two-time World Champion got the better of Denis Grabe in a hill-hill thriller that saw him from behind on several occasions to dispatch the Estonian. Ouschan got to the hill first but it was Grabe who was breaking for the match only to scratch and leave the Austrian with a routine run out for victory.

Quarter-Finals from 18:00 (CEST)

Table 1

Joshua Filler (GER) vs Mario He (AUT)

Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Mateusz Sniegocki (POL)

Table 2 – Matchroom Pool YouTube / Matchroom.Live

Mieszko Fortunski (POL) vs José Alberto Delgado (ESP)

Albin Ouschan (AUT) vs Konrad Juszczyszyn (POL)


This evening and Sunday, Table 1 action is available on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland as well as on Viaplay in Scandinavia and the Baltics and various other broadcasters worldwide including Matchroom.Live in relevant countries. Table 2 will be on the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel this evening. See the full where to watch list here.

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2022 European Open Day 4 – Only 16 Remain In Germany

Joshua Filler (Taka Wu – Matchroom Multi Sport)

Joshua Filler passed the test of Mosconi Cup teammate Eklent Kaçi and the USA’s Oscar Dominguez to reach the Last 16 of the inaugural European Open Pool Championship at Hotel Esperanto, Fulda, Germany live on the Matchroom Pool Facebook/YouTube and Matchroom.Live.

Schedule / Scores

Filler had a good day of it coming from behind to defeat Kaçi 9-8 when his goose had looked cooked when Kaçi had a 5-9 combo to seal victory at 8-7 only for the Albanian to offer the gift that the Killer needed to get back into it. Kaçi didn’t get a look in from then on as Filler broke in the final rack but it was far from easy with the 7, 8 and 9 all glued together and the rack penned underneath it. Filler kept his cool in the moment though despite the glaring problem to complete victory and set up a Last 32 tie with Oscar Dominguez of the USA.

Dominguez had came from 4-1 down against Tyler Styer to peg him back at 5-5 and 6-6 before pulling through to meet his old Mosconi Cup rival to reach the Last 16.

Filler came into the contest on the back of two hill-hill showings in his last three matches in the tournament and he was in no mood for a similar scenario. Filler hit the front early on but Dominguez was playing freely and causing the German a whole heap of problems. The home crowd were out for their star man and he delivered a 10-7 victory to book his spot in the Last 16 in what proved to be a successful day that also saw him become the first player on Team Europe for the 2022 Mosconi Cup off the Live Nineball World Rankings.

Francisco Sanchez Ruiz was the only player who could beat Filler to the first Mosconi Cup spot with $14,000 separating the pair heading into the tournament but his hopes were ended in the Last 32 at the hands of Albania’s Besar Spahiu who mounted an impressive comeback to steal it 10-8 and confirm Filler’s spot on Team Europe for the 2022 Mosconi Cup at Bally’s Las Vegas from November 30 to December 3.

Jayson Shaw (Taka Wu – Matchroom Multi Sport)

Jayson Shaw is next up for Filler after the two-time Mosconi Cup MVP saw off Petri Makkonen earlier on in the day before a grueling battle with Italy’s Daniele Corrieri to book his place in the Last 16. Corrieri took the game to Shaw and had the better of the opening exchanges with a 1-9 combo the pick of the bunch as he found his rhythm early doors with Shaw not doing too much wrong.

Eagle Eye found his mojo at the midway stage and he didn’t do too much wrong from then on as he led for the first time in the match at 7-6. Shaw from there was imperious as he set up a mouthwatering clash on Table 1 with Filler next.

Team USA‘s charge for glory on home soil will be led by Nineball World No.1 Shane Van Boening who came through his own tests against Germany’s Sebastian Staab in the Last 64 before Wojciech Szewczyk stood in his way of a weekend appearance. Szewczyk took the early initiative to lead 2-0 before Van Boening pulled back to 2-2. The pair were entertaining the crowd with some of the best safety play witnessed all week as Van Boening came back to lead only for Szewczyk to soon lead 5-4 and be at the halfway point. Van Boening was dominant to lead 9-5 only to break dry in the next and Szewczyk to bite back. The Pole was struggling for position on the 1 ball. and had to play safe and from there Van Boening played a kick and stick that would rival any in history to leave Szewczyk in knots. A short safety battled ensued for Van Boening to come on top and meet Sanjin Pehlivanovic in the Last 16 tomorrow.

Alexander Kazakis defeated David Alcaide 9-2 to reach the Last 32 and meet John Morra. The Greek had a battle on his hands against Morra who lead at various points and most importantly was 8-6 up in the Race to 10. The Canadian looked to have control but Kazakis has demonstrated in recent times his steely nature with some clutch pots to pull it back and looked to be in to level at 9-9. Kazakis lost position on the penultimate ball to leave it over the pocket and give Morra the easiest route into the Last 16 to meet Konrad Juszczyszyn next.

Session 1 from 12pm (CEST)

Table 1 – Sky Sports / DAZN / Viaplay / Matchroom.Live / See the full where to watch list here

Joshua Filler (GER) vs Jayson Shaw (GBR)

Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Sanjin Pehlivanović (BOS)

Table 2 – Matchroom Pool YouTube / Matchroom.Live

Mieszko Fortunski (POL) vs Tomasz Kaplan (POL)

Jonas Souto Comino (ESP) vs Mateusz Sniegocki (POL)

Albin Ouschan (ESP) vs Denis Grabe (EST)

Table 3

Ronald Regli (SUI) vs Jose Alberto Delgado (ESP)

John Morra (CAN) Vs Konrad Juszczyszyn (POL)

Mario He (AUT) vs Besar Spahiu (ALB)


Tomorrow and Sunday, Table 1 action is available on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland as well as on Viaplay in Scandinavia and the Baltics and various other broadcasters worldwide including Matchroom.Live in relevant countries. Table 2 will be on the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel. See the full where to watch list here.

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Finland, Switzerland, and Great Britain Complete Saturday Line-Up

Jani Uski and Mika Immonen (Taka Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Finland, Switzerland, and Great Britain have completed the quarterfinal line-up at the 2022 World Cup of Pool at the Brentwood Centre, Essex live on Sky Sports Arena in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. Matchroom.Live in territories without a broadcaster. 

Buy Tickets 

Live Scores 

Seeded Estonia came up against Finland with the winner set to face Singapore in the quarterfinals tomorrow morning. Estonia’s Denis Grabe and Rainer Laar struggled early on as Finland’s duo of Mika Immonen assembled a 2-0 lead that could’ve been three if it wasn’t for a poor safety from Immonen that allowed their opposition in to make it 2-1. 

Estonia continued to struggle as Immonen and Uski gathered momentum to take the first rack after the break to lead 3-1 and soon 4-1. Grabe and Laar had their work cut out but came back in it sharpish no part down to an error on positioning on the nine in the sixth rack from Immonen to allow the Estonians to steal the rack and get the break in their hand. 

At 4-2, Finland had their opportunity to move two away when back at the table only for Uski to miss the eight ball and leave Estonia again with a simple out to only trail by one. The key phrase of cue ball control was key in this contest, and it lacked at times from both sides. A routine break and run from Grabe and Laar levelled matters at 4-4. 

Laar broke in the ninth, but he was warned for a soft break in the process, with the two hooked, Grabe called the push out and Immonen played a quality kick to leave Estonia punished for their push out call. It was Laar who was then up and he fouled to give Finland ball in hand and they made them pay to lead again at 5-4. Neither Grabe or Laar covered themselves in too much glory but the latter missed what proved to be a pivotal four in the 10th rack to allow Finland their moment to get on the hill. Uski cued with the confidence of someone who was enjoying every moment on the big stage. 

It looked like Finland would close things out in the following rack, but Immonen missed the six to give Estonia a glimmer of hope, and all be it a glimmer with the six now at the opposite end of the table and cue ball in front of the seven at the opposite end. Grabe pulled off the pressure pot but left Laar with a tester on the seven which he couldn’t make only for Uski to scratch when trying to bank the seven the full length of the table. Estonia was still alive. 

The last rack wasn’t without drama, a costly miss from Laar handed Finland the opportunity to complete their win and face Singapore in the quarterfinals. 

Hungary were next up taking on a Switzerland side who had barely missed a ball in their win over Japan yesterday evening. Oliver Szolnoki and Vilmos Foldes were keen to reach the quarterfinals for only a second time in their nation’s World Cup history whilst Switzerland could be counted of something of a dark horse. 

It was the case of two missed pots for Switzerland in the opening rack though as the costly one on the nine from Ronald Regli handed Hungary the opening advantage. A break and run completed by Foldes gave the seeded side the upper hand put them 2-0 up. Rack three was more of the same as Hungary put their stamp on proceedings. 

Switzerland got their chance after the commercials after Hungary scratched on the break. From there, Dimitri Jungo went in off the nine when playing the six and it was 4-0 Hungary. Another break and run left Switzerland reeling and Hungary two away from victory and one eye on the quarterfinals. 

Szolnoki broke dry in the sixth rack and it gave Jungo and Regli their moment to reduce the scoreline to 5-1, there was still plenty of work to be done if they were to have any slight chance of progressing. 

The seventh rack was scrappy as the Swiss looked to build a pack, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Hungary got back to the table and Szolnoki put the eight away but left Foldes with a tricky attempt on the nine. One miss on the nine later and Jungo made it to cut their opponent’s advantage to three. Jungo and Regli pieced together a break and run in the next rack to do the damage with Regli making five balls on the break to help them along their way. 

Switzerland’s idea of running a few packs came true with another break and run to make it 5-4 in the ninth. The almighty comeback gathered ahead of steam with a golden break from Regli to go level. Szolnoki had a chance to stop the drought, but he missed the three when cueing over the seven. Jungo and Regli did the rest to lead for the first time and be on the hill. 

Hungary was presented a golden chance early on in what was ultimately the last rack after Jungo miscued when playing the one. Szolnonki potted the one but left Foldes short of a clear pot for the two. Foldes got fortunate and left Switzerland hooked but Regli did the exact same back to leave Szolnoki in a difficult position. One foul later and Switzerland completed a huge comeback to reach the quarterfinals. 

Great Britain was imperious in knocking out their fellow countrymen in the opening round and Chris Melling with Imran Majid was looking for more of the same as they come against South Africa’s Jason Theron and Kyle Akaloo. Theron won the lag, but it was GB who took the opening two racks, a golden break from Melling in the second to take the early initiative. Theron and Akaloo stole the third rack to be trailing by one at the break and stop Great Britain from winning ten racks in a row overall in the tournament.  

With Great Britain leading 4-1, South Africa needed something, they were chasing the nine combo early on but left the same chance for their opponents. Melling missed the 5-9 combo but hooked Akaloo in the process. Akaloo fouled but then Majid scratched with the ball in hand. South Africa did the rest, and it was 4-2.  

At 4-2, Melling missed the bank on the six ball and South Africa was able to close GB’s lead to just one in a tricky rack for both sides.  

Great Britain didn’t hang around much after South Africa’s third rack with a quick run out in the eighth before making the most of an error-prone ninth rack from their opposition. Melling missed the two and left it over the pocket for Akaloo to make it only for the debutant to leave the cue ball slap bang behind the three. Theron’s effort saw the three-land plumb over the pocket at the opposite end to Great Britain’s rejoice who profiteered to be one away. 

Theron has South Africa’s last say on the match. Majid broke dry in the final rack but Theron had no shot on the one. He fouled when trying to jump and from then on, Melling and Majid did the rest to meet Spain in the quarterfinals tomorrow evening. 

Saturday 18, June – Morning Session 


Saturday 18, June – Evening Session 

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Great Britain A and Austria Out of 2022 World Cup of Pool

Chris Melling and Imran Majid (Taka Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Great Britain B’s Imran Majid and Chris Melling whitewashed their counterparts Great Britain A 7-0 to reach the Last 16 of the 2022 World Cup of Pool at the Brentwood Centre, Essex live on Sky Sports Arena in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. Matchroom.Live in territories without a broadcaster.

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Live Scores

Great Britain A (Jayson Shaw and Elliott Sanderson) won the lag, but Shaw’s break proved to be an early downfall scratching to get Great Britain B to the table early on to run out to lead 1-0 before a break and run in the second rack. Imran Majid was returning to the GB fold for the first time since 2019 whilst Chris Melling was looking to put pay to his old teammate away. Majid and Melling’s breaks were exemplary as they rallied up ahead of steam with relative ease whilst Shaw and Sanderson were rooted to their chairs as B went 3-0 up, 4-0 up, and 5-0 up. A dry break from Melling in five gave A their first chance since early on.

A brief safety exchange on the two ball could’ve helped GB A but Majid and Melling were not relenting as they kept their counterparts knotted up. Majid’s safety play and Melling’s magic came to play throughout and eventually, they freed the table up to lead 6-0. It was truly exhibition stuff with the pair loving every moment in front of a raucous crowd.

The closing rack was a clinic and summed up GB B’s performance. A huge jump shot on the one ball from Majid set the tone before a tricky safety left Sanderson having to kick on the six ball only to leave it hanging over the pocket and leave Great Britain B their moment to seal a memorable win to meet either South Africa or Thailand next.

Melling: “I thought we played really well. The break was our friend. We controlled the cue ball well and got shots on the one and two. Nineball can be cruel sometimes.

Unfortunately for the A team in Jayson and Elliott, they didn’t really get a chance and when they did, they didn’t really get a shot. It’s tough for them, I have been there myself. To become great, you must take the defeats and learn from them. He will learn (on Sanderson), he is only going to get better and better. I am going to play all the events. I haven’t been at my best for some time, but I know when it clicks, I can beat anybody on the planet. I haven’t done well in the last few events. That’s not where I am at in my mind, I know I am better than that. You have to let defeats spur you on.”

Majid: “It was a pretty good performance I have to say. I didn’t expect to play like that. Chris kept potting balls, I potted balls. We broke well and that was the key. I thought if we got 40/50 people behind us, it would spur us on and that’s exactly what they did. I was interacting with them. It was great. I said in my pre-match interview we’re the fattest team, we eat players alive and that’s what we did, we had a full English breakfast there.”

Serbia’s Aleksa Pecelj and Andreja Klasović made a quick start to lead 3-0 over Estonia’s Denis Grabe and Rainer Laar. Estonia’s first chance came in the fourth after a foul from Pecelj Pecelj gave Estonia their first chance to pull a rack back at 3-1. Two outrageous flukes from Grabe and Laar respectively pulled Estonia back into it at 3-2. Grabe kicking the one somehow caused the six to roll onto the three and in before being hooked on the one still. Laar then kicked the one into the two which ended up putting the eight-ball in. Before Serbia knew it, their lead was cut to one.

Soon the contest went four all, Serbia’s Pecelj looked to be in with two balls left but a costly miss on the eight ball made it four apiece. Laar sank the 9-ball in the previous rack to level, but he scratched on the break in the middle pocket to hand the ball back to Serbia in the ninth. Klasovic failed to make that pay though on the four ball letting Grabe to the table who duly obliged with the help of Laar for the Estonians to lead after a brief safety battle.

At 5-4, anything could’ve happened, and it did as Grabe missed the seven when trying to screw back to leave Laar plumb on the eight. Klasovic and Pecelj sank the remaining balls on the table to make it 5-5. The seven proved key in the next rack as Serbia struggled to contain the cue ball, Klasovic missed a bank and Estonia were on the hill first. Pecelj, a recent quarter-finalist at the UK Open, along with Klasovic had their moments in the tie and they made sure it went all the way as they levelled in the penultimate rack for hill-hill. A elongated battle on the one and two led to ball in hand for Estonia but they couldn’t make it pay with the one and two locked up. Serbia got out of jail to force it.

In the first hill-hill contest of the week, Pecelj scratched on the break and from there on Grabe and Laar closed out a memorable win to reach the Last 16. Estonia meet Finland next up.

Austria headed into the World Cup with a new pairing as Max Lechner made his debut alongside the formidable two-time winner Albin Ouschan. Finland meanwhile had the ever-impressive Mika Immonen lined up with young Jani Uski for the first time. Finland got off to a better start to lead 2-1 at the first break. It was a shutout from then on for Immonen and Uski who potted ball after ball after ball to take a commanding lead. The fourth rack was Austria’s downfall as Lechner missed the five ball to get Finland back at the table for 3-1.

The fifth rack became the big talking point after Ouschan fouled by shaving the nine on his way to trying to reach the three. It was a hairline of a touch that referee Marcel Eckardt had spotted giving Finland ball in hand who made the most of it to lead 4-1. In the sixth, Immonen tried to cut the one only for it to end up safe and leave Austria hooked. It was a stroke of fortune, but one gratefully received by Immonen and Uski who were soon 5-1 up.

A momentous night was soon wrapped up with Finland producing the second shock of the night sealing a memorable 7-1 win and a spot in the Last 16.

Action returns from 11am tomorrow morning with Thailand’s snooker duo of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Noppon Saengkham meeting South Africa live on Sky Sports Arena at 11 am as well as live on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. See the full list of broadcasters here including Matchroom.Live if no broadcaster is available.

11am Session

Round 1

Thailand vs South Africa
Singapore (6) vs Qatar
Kuwait (11) vs Vietnam

5pm Session 

ROUND 1

Japan (7) vs Switzerland

ROUND 2

Spain (4) vs Albania (13)
USA (2) vs Poland (15)

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