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Final Eight set at International Open

Dennis Orcollo (Karl Kantrowitz)

JIC Boys & Girls, 18 & Under, down to Super Six

As Pat Fleming’s 2021 International Open in Norfolk, VA has dwindled down to a Final Eight in its Phase Two, single-elimination rounds, it has retained its international flavor, advancing players from seven different countries to its winners’ side quarterfinals. Day Five of the event saw 11 different countries represented by 16 competitors battle it out for advancement to the Final Eight.

Also on Day Five, Ra Hanna’s On the Wire Media brought two of his Junior International Championships (JIC) to the stage, whittling down the fields of 15 Boys (18 & Under) and 8 Girls (18 & Under) to six in each division. All of the JIC competitors hail from the US of A.

All matches today (Saturday) are being scheduled around the annual Hall of Fame banquet, where this evening, both Kelly Fisher and Thorsten Hohmann will be indicted into that Hall of Fame after a dinner at 5 p.m.

First up in the eight matches that brought the Open field down to eight players were Japan’s Naoyuki Oi and Estonia’s Denis Grabe, who checked in mid-afternoon with the first of four 10-7 matches in the single elimination phase’s top half of the bracket. Grabe won it. Originally scheduled for late morning, the match between the Philippines’ Dennis Orcollo and Fedor Gorst was moved to be the final match of the day, and as it turned out, they’d apparently saved the best for last. 

Tied at 7-7, the match featured a number of short exchanges between Orcollo and Gorst that made note of each other’s more prominent unforced errors; balls rattling in holes, excellent shots that drew applause from the packed-house audience in the Accu-Stat arena, that turned into gasps, as a number of good shots from both of them were followed by cue-ball rolls that put them in the unenviable position of being unable to see their next shot. They were both more amused than annoyed as the match progressed. At the 7-7 juncture, Orcollo pulled out in front with two racks and though Gorst made a bid in rack #17, a scratch put the cue ball in Orcollo’s hand and he closed it out. Orcollo and Grabe are scheduled to face each other at 2:30 this afternoon (Oct. 29).

Two early evening matches rounded out the 10-7 scoring. Kuwait’s Omar Al-Shaheen downed the Philippines’ Lee Van Corteza, and the Philippines’ James Aranas defeated Greece’s Alex Kazakis. Aranas and Al-Shaheen are scheduled to meet just after noon today.

In the lower bracket, USA’s Shane Van Boening kept himself in contention for the top prize by defeating Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski 10-6. Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov, who was knocked out late trying to defend his 14.1 Straight Pool Championship title by fellow countryman Fedor Gorst last week, remained in the running here, after downing Kuwait’s Bader Al-Awadhi 10-8. Van Boeing and Chinahov are scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. today.

Austria’s Albin Ouschan advanced to the Final Eight with a 10-6 victory over last week’s 14.1 Straight Pool Champion, Germany’s Joshua Filler. Finland’s Iceman, Mika Immonen rounded out the final field of eight by defeating Austria’s Max Lechner, also 10-6. Ouschan and Immonen are scheduled to square off at around 5:20 p.m.

Junior championships come down to final six boys and girls

In what is a championship invitational set of matches, following a year-long season of qualifiers which began in January, and a pair of double elimination brackets, which began early today, six boys and six girls (18 and under) will meet today to determine a male and female winner of On the Wire Creative Media’s 2021 Junior International Championships.

In the 18 & Under Girls Division, a total of eight competed. Scheduled to meet in the hot seat match today, Kennedy Meyman, who got by Savanna Wolford and Sofia Mast, both 8-6, will face Tatum Cutting, who defeated Bethany Tate and Skylar Hess, both 8-4. On the loss side, Precilia Kinsley eliminated Savanna Wolford and will face Hess, scheduled for around 8:30. Tate downed Hayleigh  Marion 8-3 and will meet Hess.

In the 18 & Under Boys division, which drew 15 entrants, Joey Tate got by Gabe Martinez, double hill, Brent Worth 8-3 and Payne McBride 8-5 to earn a spot in today’s hot seat match. He’ll be joined by Landon Hollingsworth, who, following victories over Trenton White 8-6, Riley Adkins 8-3 and a long-standing rivalry, 8-5 win over Nathan Childress, who’d defeated him in a loss-side battle in the Open event.

Tate, Childress and Hollingsworth, having finished as the top three competitors in the JIC’s Pro Am division, were awarded entry into the International Open. Hollingsworth and Tate were defeated in the opening winners’ side round in the double elimination Phase 1 of the event. Childress won his opener against Raphael DaBreo before joining them.

They all won their opening loss-side matches. Tate lost his second loss-side match to Tony Robles 10-8. Hollingsworth won his first and second loss-side match, eking out a double hill win in the second one against Brandon Shuff. He lost his third to Childress.

Hollingsworth was Childress’ second loss-side match. He also won his third against Konrad Juszczyszyn. The three loss-side wins allowed him to advance to the opening round of the single elimination Phase 2, where he had the misfortune to run immediately into Josh Filler, who allowed him only a single rack to win 10-1.

On the loss side for the boys, at noon today (Saturday, Oct. 29) McBride will compete against Lazaro Martinez, who defeated his brother Gabe 8-5 and Riley Adkins, double hill to reach him. Childress will square off against Trenton White, who eliminated Ivo Linkin 8-6 and Brent Worth 8-5.

By the end of the day, either Tate or Hollingsworth will be in the hot seat. The one who isn’t will face the quarterfinal winner tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 29); either Lazaro Martinez, Payne McBride, Trenton White or Nathan Childress. 

Good rolls, guys and gals!!

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets for the 9-Ball, Boys Junior 9-Ball and Girls Junior 9-Ball. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

The International 9-Ball Open will continue play all of this week and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage.

 

International 9-Ball Open Second Stage Underway

Alex Pagulayan (Karl Kantrowitz)

The International 9-Ball Open is now into the single elimination second stage of the brackets. The top sixteen undefeated players will now face a random player drawn from the final sixteen players with one loss.

The first matches to take place are…

Jayson Shaw vs Naoyuki Oi
Earl Strickland vs Denis Grabe
Shane Wolford vs Fedor Gorst
Dennis Orcollo vs Alex Pagulayan
Omar Al Shaheen vs Hunter Lombardo

The remaining players will be drawn later in the day.

All players at this stage of the event are guaranteed prize money, with players losing in the round pocketing $1000.

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets for the 9-Ball. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

The International 9-Ball Open will continue play all of this week and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage.

Gomez Eyes Big Foot Challenge Title

Roberto Gomez

On his way to winning the International One Pocket Invitational on Saturday, Roberto Gomez defeated Omar Al Shaheen in the quarter finals under the lights of the feature table. Less than 48 hours later, it was the same two players facing off on the Diamond Big Foot 10′ table for a berth in the final four at the International Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge as part of the International 9-Ball Championship at the Sheraton Waterside Hotel in Norfolk, Virgina. 

Shaheen looked as if he would avenge that one pocket loss, as he was running an open rack at hill-hill. Unfortunately, a poor leave on the 8-ball was the end of the line for Al Shaheen as he was forced to kick at the ball and left a very routine three ball out for Gomez. Gomez will face the winner of today’s match between Alex Pagulayan and Mika Immonen. 

German sensation Joshua Filler continued the outstanding play that the fans have seen all week as he defeated Denis Grabe and will next face the winner of today’s match between Aloysius Yapp and Shane Van Boening. 

The Big Foot Challenge will wrap up with the final match tonight at 9pm eastern time and can be watched as part of the online PPV for this event at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/. For the first time in the history of this event, fans can watch action on any table as part of the PPV coverage. 

Action continued on Monday in the main event with more than a few surprising results. Former US Open Champion Tommy Kennedy won a hill-hill match against Wiktor Zielinski and will next face another surprise of this event, Shane Wolford, in his next match. Wolford was the winner of a tough 10-8 match against Thorsten Hohmann on Monday. 

In other 9-Ball matches, Darren Appleton dropped a 10-7 match to Mario He, Fedor Gorst defeated Kelly Fisher 10-5, Jonathan Pinegar beat Alex Pagulayan 10-3 and Dee Adkins sent Tyler Styer to the one loss side 10-6. 

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets from both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online.

International 9-Ball and 10-Ball Events Underway

Denis Grabe (Karl Kantrowitz)

Day one of the International 9-Ball Open and the International Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge are in the books with a handful of notable matches. 

In the 10-Ball event, Joshua Filler, Denis Grabe, Mika Immonen, Omar Al Shaheen and Roberto Gomez all advanced with first round wins. Gomez will have to focus on the 9-Ball division a bit more though, after a 10-7 first round 9-Ball loss to Josh Roberts. 

Jayson Shaw dropped his 10-Ball match to Grabe and was almost taken to hill-hill in his first round 9-Ball match with German Ralph Eckert. Warren Kiamco found himself in a similar situation, going to hill-hill before getting past Spencer Ladin. While Ladin came up just short of a big first round win, Junior players Shane Wolford and Nathan Childress both had comfortable wins with Wolford beating Matt Krah 10-3 and Childress defeating Raphael Dabreo 10-5.

International One Pocket Open runner-up Tony Chohan started off his 9-ball campaign on a negative note with a 10-5 loss to Donny Mills. Another player that made some noise in the One Pocket event was Devin Poteet. He was undefeated in the first stage of the One Pocket event, and finished in 5th place. His 9-Ball campaign started with a tight 10-8 win over Jeremy Sossei. 

Both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events will be contested today with five more 10-Ball matches scheduled for the feature table in the Accu-Stats arena. Shane Van Boening will take on Lee Van Corteza, Jeffrey DeLuna will face Aloysius Yapp and Alex Pagulayan will play Fedor Gorst. Those matches will finish off the first round of the Big Foot Challenge. Two second round matches will be played later in the day today. 

The 9-Ball event will have a number of marquee matches today, including Tommy Kennedy vs Wiktor Zielinski, Wolford vs Thorsten Hohmann, Mario He vs Darren Appleton, Donny Mills vs Omar Al Shaheen, Kelly Fisher vs Fedor Gorst and Jonathan Pinegar vs Alex Pagulayan. 

Fans who purchase the PPV coverage from the event will not be limited to just the feature table. They will be able to choose any of the matches as they are being played. Get more information on the PPV at https://www.onsitepool.com/accustats/

Follow all of the action with Live Scoring and online brackets from both the 9-Ball and 10-Ball events. AzBilliards is working along with digitalpool.com to help put those brackets online. 

Hall of Famer Hohmann Survives Shootout to Stay Alive in CSI Michigan Open

Thorsten Hohmann

Next month, Germany’s Thorsten Hohmann will be officially inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame, celebrating a career that’s included two World 9-Ball championships and countless straight pool titles.

Friday night, the 42-year-old showed that he may be one of professional pool’s elder statemen but he’s not exactly ready for a rocking chair yet, sinking four consecutive sudden death spot shots to defeat Denmark’s Mickey Krause during the third day of competition at the CSI Michigan Open at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, Mich. Hohmann now advances to the single elimination round of 16 which will begin Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. local time.

After Krause turned an opening rack Hohmann scratch into a 2-0 lead, the German turned the tables in the third rack after his opponent missed the 2 ball, clearing the table then using back-to-back break-and-runs and a miss from his opponent to close out the set, 4-2. After the two competitors split the first two games of the second set, Hohmann had a chance to take the lead in the third game but missed on a sharp cut of the 4 ball in the side pocket. His opponent grabbed the rack, then used a combination shot on the 10 ball to increase his lead to 3-1. The German appeared positioned to cut his deficit to 3-2 but left the 7 ball in the corner pocket’s jaws, allowing Krause to claim the set.

Krause opened the sudden death shootout by scratching in the opposite corner pocket, a mistake which proved costly as the stoic and steady Hohmann pocketed all four balls in the extra period to claim the victory.

Hohmann’s victory ended a one-loss side rally by Krause, who lost his first-round matchup against Russia’s Kristina Tkach then won three consecutive matches on the loser’s side – defeating Timothy Fowler, Cody Myers and Daniel Schneider of Switzerland before being eliminated Friday night.

Also advancing to the Saturday’s single elimination phase is Russia’s Fedor Gorst, who cruised past Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski in straight sets, 4-1, 4-0.

Gorst, who won the first leg of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series in Arizona back in July, took advantage of a Fortunski scratch in the opening game to climb onto the scoreboard. The 29-year-old from Poland tied the score when Gorst failed to pocket a ball on the break, but forfeited the table when he broke dry in the following rack. Gorst would gut out a victory thanks to a victorious safety exchange, then use a break-and-run paired with another winning safety battle to claim the victory.

The 21-year-old Russian managed to break dry twice in the second set yet still shut out his opponent, thanks to two Fortunski misses and a scratch.

Joining Gorst and Hohmann Saturday will be Estonia’s Denis Grabe, who overcame a handful of missed shots to defeat Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz in straight sets, 4-3, 4-1.

Grabe jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage in the first set and had the chance to close out the frame but missed a 1 ball in the fifth game. The Spaniard cleared the table to cut the lead to 3-2, then tied the score when Grabe missed the 3 ball in the sixth game. Standing at the table with the break and an opportunity to win the set, Sanchez-Ruiz failed to pocket a ball on his opening shot and handed the table back to Grabe, who cleared the table to win the set, 4-3.

The Estonian built an early 2-0 in the next frame thanks to a break-and-run and a victorious safety exchange on the 6 ball. Grabe then tacked on another game when his opponent missed the 6 ball in the following game, but gave up control of the table in the fourth game when he scratched on the break. Trailing 3-1, Sanchez-Ruiz had a chance to cut into the lead but missed the 2 ball after the break. After kicking the 8 ball into the corner pocket after a safety, the Spaniard had one last chance to stay in the match but pushed the 9 ball wide of the corner pocket, handing Grabe the match.

In other matches of note Friday, Kang Lee used a handful of missed shots by opponent Tyler Styer to win in straight sets, 4-1, 4-2, and Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp used a seventh rack safety exchange to avoid a sudden death shootout and defeat Tony Robles, 4-3, 4-3.

The single elimination phase begins tomorrow with four matches, including Greece’s Alex Kazakis facing Yapp, Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn meeting Kang Lee, Oliver Szolnoki of Poland taking on Canadian John Morra and Finland’s Mika Immonen matching up with Lian-Han Toh of Singapore. Four additional matches will begin at noon, including Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski meeting Grabe, Austria’s Mario He playing Lithuania’s Pijus Labutus, World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci scheduled to meet Gorst and Hohmann taking on Roberto Gomez Jr. of the Philippines.

Fans can watch coverage of the competition on Billiard TV or on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube page.

This event also is the third stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features five open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $125,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition is played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch   or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.

Evening Provides Late Night Theatrics at CSI Michigan Open

Konrad Juszczyszyn

Three weeks ago, Estonia’s Denis Grabe pitched a 4-0 shutout in first set of the semifinals of the Diamond Las Vegas Open only to lose out to Wu Kun-Lin in a sudden death shootout.

Playing in the second round of the Michigan Open Wednesday night, history basically repeated itself against Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn. Grabe breezed through the first set, narrowly lost the second, then watched the match slip away in a sudden death shootout, as Juszczyszyn came from behind to stay on the winner’s side four-day event being held at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

After receiving a bye in the opening round, Grabe used some stellar shot making and safety play to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Juszczyszyn had an opportunity to cut the deficit to 2-1 but missed a 3 ball, allowing his opponent to tack on another rack. The upcoming young star from Poland secured the fourth game after Grabe left an opening on a safety, but the Estonian closed out the set, 4-1, after another victorious safety exchange.

Juszczyszyn, who opened the tournament with a first round victory against Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov, was far from finished, jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the next set thanks to sound safety play of his own paired with an unforced error by his opponent. Grabe cut the lead to 3-2 and tied the match at three games each thanks to – what else? – a victorious safety battle. Looking to win the set and avoid a shootout, Grabe failed to pocket a ball on the break, allowing Juszczyszyn to punch the 1 ball into the corner pocket and execute a combination shot on the 10 ball to win the set and force sudden death.

Grabe struggled in the shootout, missing the spot shots on his second and third attempt, while Juszczyszyn pocketed three out of four balls to secure the win.

Grabe now moves to the one-loss side of the bracket, where he will meet Sharik Sayed Thursday morning.

Later in the evening, Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz narrowly avoided a shootout against Daniel Schneider, winning in straight sets, 4-0, 4-3.

Despite failing to pocket a ball on the break three times in the opening set, the Spaniard was able to take advantage of a handful of missed shots from his opponent along with a break-and-run of his own to secure the victory. Things appeared to be secure for Sanchez-Ruiz in the second as he built a 3-1 lead, but gave up back-to-back racks to Schneider after he misplayed a safety then missed the 4 ball in the side pocket in the sixth game. When Sanchez-Ruiz misplayed a safety on the 1 ball in the deciding rack a shootout seemed imminent, but Schneider missed the object ball in the corner pocket. The Spaniard cleared the table, winning the match and escaping a trip to the loser’s side of the bracket.

In other matches from the day, United States Open Pool Championship runner-up Aloysius Yapp defeated Warren Kiamco in straight sets, 4-1, 4-0, and World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis blanked Mohammad Ali Berjaoui, 4-0, 4-2. World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci also defeated Russia’s Kristina Tkach, 4-0, 4-1.

Competition resumes Thursday, with live matches being broadcast on Billiard TV as well as WorldBilliardTV’s YouTube page beginning at noon eastern time. Notable matches include Russia’s Fedor Gorst taking on Kaci and Canada’s John Morra matching up against Poland’s Oliver Szolnoki at noon as well as American Tyler Styer meeting Austria’s Mario He at 5 p.m.

This event also is the third stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features five open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $125,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition is played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch   or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.

Defending Champion Joshua Filler Out As US Open Last 16 Draw Made

Defending champion Joshua Filler bowed out of the US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City as 9-ball’s toughest tournament moved down to the last 16.

Scores

Alexander Kazakis, Billy Thorpe, and Judd Trump were amongst the names to depart in the morning session before the afternoon and evening action got underway with Francisco Sanchez Ruiz coming from 5-0 down to defeat Shane Van Boening 11-6 to join the last 16.

The Spaniard pounced on an uncharacteristic scratch from Van Boening in the 10th rack and then did the same in the 15th after it looked like the five-time champion would clear the table to cut the deficit to 8-7. Instead, Sanchez Ruiz went 9-6 up and completed a memorable comeback.

Reigning champion Filler followed up from that match knocking out America’s Skyler Woodward in an 11-4 victory that saw the German continue his route towards the last 16. Mieszko Fortuński was next in Filler’s way. Fortuński has battled away throughout the week and put in arguably one of his biggest wins of his career so far to defeat Filler 11-3 in front of a packed crowd around table two. That result saw Filler’s tournament end whilst Fortuński continued his march.

David Alcaide joined his compatriot Sanchez Ruiz in the last 16, the 2019 World Pool Masters champion was trailing for large parts of his match against the Netherlands’ Marc Bijsterbosch but came through 11-8 to put himself in the draw.

There will be four Filipinos come Friday, Dennis Orcollo had wrapped his place up earlier on against Olivér Szolnoki and was swiftly joined by Johann Gonzales Chua who got the better of Mieszko Fortuński in winners’ qualification. Rodrigo Geronimo bypassed Niels Feijen 11-6 to become the third name in the hat.

Jayson Shaw’s US Open title efforts took an almighty dent early on losing out to Denis Grabe of Estonia meaning the Scotsman had to do battle in the losers’ qualification round where he came against a hungry Carlo Biado. Biado came fresh off the back of beating Jeffrey De Luna and he continued his demolition work to come out on top 11-4 to send Shaw home.

Max Lechner has gone about his business quietly all week and that work has paid dividends as he beat Rodrigo Geronimo 11-2 to make the last 16 on his US Open debut.

Van Boening came back after defeat to Filler to face Albin Ouschan later in the evening after Ouschan had defeated Chang Jung-Lin 11-1. In front of the biggest crowd of the tournament to date, Van Boening put on a masterclass in cueing, safety, and everything in-between as the five-time champion downed the World Champion in an 11-2 crushing to keep those eyes firmly set on becoming the most successful player ever at the US Open.

Other Losers Qualification Results

John Morra 11-6 Mickey Krause
Niels Feijen 6-11 Rodrigo Geronimo
Mario He 11-5 Olivér Szolnoki
Naoyuki Oi 11-4 Marc Bijsterbosch
Marco Teutscher 11-6 Darren Appleton

The Last 16 Draw
Aloysius Yapp vs Shane Van Boening (Table 1)
Denis Grabe vs Rodrigo Geronimo (Table 3)
Max Lechner vs Mieszko Fortuński (Table 4)
Dennis Orcollo vs Mario He (Table 2)
Johann Gonzales Chua vs John Morra (Table 3)
David Alcaide vs Carlo Biado (Table 1)
Fedor Gorst vs Marco Teutscher (Table 4)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz vs Naoyuki Oi (Table 2)

Watch
Fans can take in Table 1 live on the TV broadcast wherever you are in the world on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Sky Sports in the UK. Find out where you can watch the US Open Pool Championship in your country right here.

Table 2 is free to watch and available on the Matchroom Pool YouTube here.

Ticket prices start from $31.24 per session for the single-elimination stage.

Get your tickets here. 

The 2021 US Open Pool Championship will be partnered by Diamond, who supply the Official Table; the Official Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are ARAMITH Tournament BLACK pool ball set with Duramith™ Technology by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip. The US Open Pool Championship is sanctioned by the WPA.

Wu Sails Through to Claim Diamond Las Vegas Open

For the last half decade, Wu Kun-Lin has been hanging around the top of the leaderboard at professional pool events.

He placed third at the 2017 World 9-Ball Championship and followed that performance by finishing fifth at the same event a year later. He has a handful of top-five finishes in the Japan Open and, five years ago, Wu finished in third at the China Open. Despite the top finishes, the 25-year-old from Taiwan hasn’t been able to break through and secure a victory. That is, at least, until this weekend.

Using a smooth break and some pinpoint safety play, Wu cruised to the championship in the third annual Diamond Las Vegas Open, defeating Omar Al Shaheen in straight sets, 4-3 and 4-1, in Saturday night’s finals at the Rio All-Suites hotel and casino. Wu, who posted an undefeated record during the four-day, 128-player event, managed to survive early charges not only from Al Shaheen in the finals, but also Estonia’s Denis Grabe in the semifinals to earn the trophy and the $15,000 check.

Wu jumped out to an early 3-0 advantage in race-to-four, two set finals thanks to two victorious safety exchanges and a break-and-run. Al Shaheen, who earned runner-up honors at this year’s World Pool Championship, climbed onto the scoreboard in the fourth game when he executed a table-length kick in of the 6 ball and ran out the rack. The young upstart from Kuwait then used a powerful break shot to break-and-run back-to-back racks and tie the score. Faced with a tricky 4 and 10 ball combination shot in the decisive game, Al Shaheen attempted to pocket the object ball but instead left a makeable 4 ball along the long rail, which his opponent pocketed and cleared the table to secure the set, 4-3.

Al Shaheen was plagued with mistakes throughout the second set, committing fouls in the first and second games as Wu again secured an early 2-0 lead. Al Shaheen was able to narrow the deficit in the next game when Wu overran position on the 6 ball and committed a foul of his own, but forfeited the table in the next rack when Al Shaheen committed another unforced error. After winning a safety exchange on the 2 ball in the fifth rack, it appeared the Kuwaiti was about to cut his deficit to 3-2 but left a routine 8 ball in the corner pocket’s jaws. Wu cleared the table, then tacked on another rack to seal the match and the championship.

Things didn’t look nearly as promising for Wu in the semifinals, as opponent Grabe used back-to-back pocketed 10 balls on the break in the first set to shut out his opponent, 4-0. Wu made the most of opening the second set with breaking honors, using a break-and-run and a tricky combination shot on the 5 and 9 balls to build an early 2-0 advantage. Grabe was able to return to the table after Wu scratched in the third game and tacked on two wins of his own to tie the score, but a missed jump shot on the fifth game gave control of the table back to his opponent, who ran out the rack to regain the lead then won a safety battle to claim the set. He was perfect in the deciding sudden death shootout, sinking four consecutive spot shots to advance to the finals.

Despite the error-infested final match, Al Shaheen turned in another impressive performance in a full-field, double-elimination event, defeating James Aranas, Ralf Souquet and Wiktor Zielinski during the single-elimination knockout phase to advance to the semifinals where he faced Shane Van Boening, who was still in stroke from his Texas Open championship a week earlier.

The Kuwaiti climbed into an early hole before he even screwed his cues together, being assessed a one-game penalty in the first set for arriving late for the match. Al Shaheen would quickly wipe out the deficit, using a Van Boening scratch to tie the match, then using two victorious safety battles and a break-and-run to claim the set, 4-1. The second set was the photo negative of the first, with the two competitors splitting the first two games before Van Boening used two safety victories and a break-and-run of his own to run away with the set, 4-1, and force a deciding shootout.

The two players continued to play even during the spot shot contest, with each competitor landing four straight shots before Van Boening missed in the fifth inning. Al Shaheen then stepped to the table, pocketed his fifth consecutive ball and breathed a sigh of relief.

The Diamond Las Vegas Open is a proud part of the CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas. The CueSports International Expo is also home to the BCA Pool League World Championships, USA Pool League National Championships and numerous industry exhibitors. The 11-day billiard extravaganza attracts more than 6,000 pool players from around the world, consumes 150,000 square feet, and uses over 300 Diamond pool tables with the goal of always providing the greatest pool experience in the world.

This event also is the second stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features five open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $100,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio.

This competition is played on Diamond Pro-Am pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights. Kamui and Omega Billiard Supplies are also partners of the event.

For the latest information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram, and WorldBilliardTV on YouTube.

Feijen Through As Lechner And Grabe Advance At Dafabet World Pool Masters

Last 16
Max Lechner 7-
5 Mieszko Fortunski
Albin Ouschan 3-7 Denis Grabe
Jayson Shaw 6-7 Niels Feijen

Niels Feijen’s quest for a third World Pool Masters title remains on course after a dramatic hill-hill win over Jayson Shaw, while Max Lechner and Denis Grabe are also through to the quarter-finals of the Dafabet World Pool Masters at Europa Sports Complex, Gibraltar.

Feijen missed the 5 at hill-hill against Shaw, before the Mosconi Cup MVP did the same to allow the Dutchman to complete a victory which will see him face Eklent Kaci in the quarter-finals later this evening. Grabe had earlier defeated Albin Ouschan 7-3 to set-up a last-eight clash with Joshua Filler.

The afternoon session had opened with Lechner up against Mieszko Fortunski. After the first four racks were shared, Fortunski extended to a 4-2 lead. Lechner took the 7th and looked sure to level until the 8 refused to go into the tight corner pockets. Instead, Fortunski was leading 5-3.

He wasn’t able to reach the hill in the next, as Lechner took his chance to pull back to 5-4. The Austrian fightback continued as Lechner levelled and then was first to the hill at 6-5. At this point, Fortunski could only watch on as Lechner broke and ran the next rack to book his place in the quarter-finals, where either Fedor Gorst or Shane van Boening will await.

“It was a great match,” said Lechner. “I had a very shaky start at the beginning; the adrenaline kicked in the moment I walked out. I have missed that feeling and I am happy with how the match went.”

After struggling at times against Roberto Gomez in the preliminary round, a composed Denis Grabe gave himself a 4-1 lead over Albin Ouschan before the Predator Championship League winner got back to the table to make it 4-2. However, Grabe then won his fifth and sixth racks to reach the hill. A rare event then occurred as the Estonian lost rack nine on the three-foul rule. A fluked snooker from Ouschan was followed by two very good ones, and Grabe couldn’t escape from any of them.

He wouldn’t regret it however, as he took the next one for a 7-3 win over one of the pre-tournament favourites.

Niels Feijen didn’t have a shot until the fourth rack of the final match of the afternoon session. He was locked in his seat as Shaw ran three racks having won the lag, before the Dutchman took the fourth. From there the two-time Masters champion took a 4-3 lead before Shaw levelled, only to see Feijen, playing at his tactical best, move 5-4 ahead.

The Dutchman reached the hill two racks ahead but missed a cut on the 1. Shaw cleared and then ran the next rack to join Feijen on the hill. Shaw broke dry in the decider and Feijen had a shot one the 1. After the 2 came a good 3/8 up the side rail but later in the rack a missed 5 gave Shaw a chance.

Shaw then left a tough cut in the jaws and Feijen was back at the table. This time he made the simple 5, a 6 down the rail and the 7 and 9 for a place in the quarter-finals, where Eklent Kaci awaits.

That quarter-final will take place during the evening session, after the last 16 completes with Alex Kazakis vs. Justin Sajich and Fedor Gorst vs. Shane van Boening.

The event is broadcast globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Zhibo.tv. Coverage is available on Matchroom.Live in nations without a TV broadcaster. Full details can be found at www.matchroompool.com.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Filler Fires Into Quarter Finals Of Dafabet World Pool Masters

Wins for Feijen, Fortunski and Grabe in Gibraltar

Preliminary Round
Niels Feijen 7
–3 Jeffrey De Luna
Mieszko Fortunski 7-2 Kristina Tkach
Denis Grabe 7-6 Roberto Gomez
Last 16
Joshua Filler 7
–5 Chris Melling

Joshua Filler staved off a Chris Melling fightback to advance to the quarter-finals of the Dafabet World Pool Masters, while there were preliminary round wins for Niels Feijen, Mieszko Fortunski and Denis Grabe at Europa Sports Complex in Gibraltar.

Filler held a 5-1 lead over Melling before the Yorkshireman fought back to 5-5, only to see the recent World Cup winner complete a 7-5 win. That followed a hill-hill win for Grabe over Roberto Gomez and an emphatic 7-2 success for Fortunski over Russia’s Kristina Tkach.

The session had opened with a 7-3 win for two-time Masters champion for Feijen, who put together a six-pack to beat Filipino Jeff De Luna.

De Luna marched to a 2-0 lead and had made balls on each of his first three breaks, but Feijen was able to half the deficit in the third after his opponent had gifted him ball in hand with a missed snooker early in the rack.

Feijen overcut the 2 in the next rack and found himself 3-1 down. He pulled one back in the next and levelled after De Luna’s attempt to jump the 3 sent the cue ball flying off the table. Then, the Dutchman took the lead thanks to a 4-ball kick for a golden break. Two more racks made it five in a row for Feijen, who was now on the hill at 6-3.

Breaking for the match, the two-time Masters champion had balls down and an open table but overcut the 8 to the tight corner pocket, and De Luna had a lifeline. However, he was hooked and had to kick at the 8, but left it open for Feijen who riffled it home to the top corner and this time Feijen made no mistake, winning the match 7-3 to set up a last 16 tie with Jayson Shaw.

“There is always pressure on the first game but I am glad I got over the line,” said Feijen. “You have to compose yourself because the game can get away from you in the winner breaks format, and he knows that as well.”

Fortunski wasted no time in opening up a 3-0 lead over Tkach. The Russian youngster got on the board in the fourth but couldn’t take advantage of her break in the fifth and Fortunski was able to extend to a 4-1 and then a 5-1 lead. Tkach took the seventh and had chances in the eighth, but couldn’t capitalise and Fortunski was on the hill with a 6-2 lead.

He missed the 5 on the hill but when Tkach failed to make the 9, Fortunski was able to clear up for a last 16 match against Max Lechner.

A jumped 2-9 combo saw Gomez level at 1-1 against Grabe in the afternoon’s final preliminary-round match. He jammed the 3 in the jaws of the corner pocket in the next rack but came out on top of the ensuing safety battle to lead 2-1.

Neither player was at their fluid best during the match, and neither could develop a lead of more than one rack until Grabe was first to the hill at 6-4. Gomez fought back however, taking the next two racks to make it double hill, and the Filipino was breaking for the match.

‘Superman’ made the 1 and the 4 on the break, but a loose safety on the 5 gave Grabe an opportunity which he grasped with both hands to finally win the match 7-6.-

The session concluded with the first of the last-16 matches, as recent World Cup winner Filler took on Melling, who had beaten Sanjin Pehlivanovic 7-4 in his preliminary round match.

Melling took the first rack but Filler then put together a five-pack to take an enviable lead. Melling pulled it back to 5-2 but scratched in making the 1 in rack eight. However, the table wasn’t open for Filler and the German wasn’t able to clear. Melling made it 5-3 and then pulled another one back to reduce Filler’s lead to one.

The Yorkshireman then drew level, but missed a thin cut on the 1 to the middle pocket and Filler was first to the hill at 6-5. A dry break brought Melling back to the table, but he missed a delicate up-table 4, and that allowed Filler in to steal the frame and win the match. A testament to the quality of match was the pot success rate; Filler’s was 95% and Melling’s 94%.

The Dafabet World Pool Masters continues with the final preliminary round match this evening; Shane van Boening vs. Jakub Koniar. Two last 16 matches follow; Naoyuki Oi against Eklent Kaci and defending champion David Alcaide against Skyler Woodward.

The event is broadcast globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Zhibo.tv. Coverage is available on Matchroom.Live in nations without a TV broadcaster. Full details can be found at www.matchroompool.com.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.