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Ouschan Perfect while Woodward Stumbles Late on Day 1 of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Skyler Woodward

Skyler Woodward managed to escape his first match of the day with a victory but wasn’t so fortunate in the next round.

Jeffrey De Luna stood at the table on the hill in the second set of his opening day match against Woodward, leading 3-0 losing the first set and a game away from forcing a sudden death shootout.

De Luna broke and failed to pocket a ball, handing Woodward all of the opportunity that he needed as the American rattled off four straight games to snatch the clinching set and secure the win on the opening day of the 192-player Alfa Las Vegas Open at the Rio All-Suites Casino Wednesday.

After Woodward won the first set, 4-2, De Luna came out on fire in the second before he forfeited the table in the fourth game then leaving a combination shot on the 10 ball after a safety. The American pocketed the shot to climb onto the scoreboard and broke and ran to pull within a game but forfeited the table when he broke dry in the sixth rack.

De Luna began to struggle as he misplayed a safe on the 3 ball and left his opponent a wide-open shot. The Filipino was bailed out when his opponent missed but he ultimately misplayed position on the 8 ball and was forced to play a safety. Woodward jumped in the object ball and tied the match then used a safety exchange on the 2 ball in the next rack to secure the second set and the victory, 4-3.

Facing Jonas Souto in the next round, the Spaniard used a dry break and a missed shot by Woodward to build a 2-0 advantage but missed a chance to increase his lead when he failed to pocket a combination shot on the 10 ball. After Woodward cleared the table to cut the lead to 2-1, he took advantage of missed shots by his opponent in back-to-back racks then added a break-and-run to finish off the comeback, 4-2. Having lost the lag, Souto had breaking privileges in the second set and capitalized, using a break-and-run, a safety exchange and a missed shot by his opponent to shut out the American and force a sudden death shootout.

Woodward missed his opening shot of the extra frame while Souto was perfect, pocketing four straight to win the set.

The American moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will face Lian Han Toh Thursday morning at 9 a.m. local time.

Albin Ouschan

Meanwhile, Albin Ouschan was feeling it in his opening match against Billy Thorpe, blanking the American in straight sets in his opening round match.

Using a one-rail kick in, a bank shot that sent the cue ball three rails for position on the next shot and tricky carom shot on the 1 ball, the Austrian built a commanding 3-0 lead but scratched on a kick shot at the in the fourth rack. Thorpe had a chance to capitalize but missed the 2 ball in the side, allowing the Ouschan to clear the table and pitch a 4-0 opening set shut out.

Ouschan took the first rack of the second set when Thorpe failed to make a ball on the break, then snagged another rack when his opponent missed the 9 ball in the second game. After winning a safety battle in the next rack he closed the match out with a break and run.

Ouschan will face Germany’s Ralf Souquet in the next round Thursday afternoon.

In other matches, Austria’s Mario He took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent Omar Al Shaheen to win in straight set, 4-2, 4-0, Japan’s Yoshihiro Kitatani defeated Estonia’s Denis Grabe in a shootout and

Play resumes today with notable matches including Shane Van Boening versus Jun-Ling Chang and David Alcaide taking on Thorsten Hohmann on the winner’s side. Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International. A schedule of televised matches will be posted daily on the Pro Billiard Series and CSI Facebook and Instagram pages.

Watch Live on World Billiard TV YouTube channel, Billiard TV and at tv.kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2023-men/2023-alfa-las-vegas-open/

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

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Historic Afternoon Sees Defending Champion Out Of World Pool Championship 2023

Mohammad Soufi of Syria after beating Sebastian Batkowski – Image – Taka G.Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport

Defending champion Shane Van Boening has been knocked out of the World Pool Championship 2023 by Vietnam’s Duong Quoc Hoang in Kielce, Poland at the Last 16 stage live on Sky Sports, Viaplay, DAZN, Matchroom.Live and TV networks worldwide.

Van Boening started the day looking to replicate what only Earl Strickland has done before by successfully defending his title but Hoang had other ideas as his dream week continued. Hoang put Van Boening under the gun early doors to lead 4-1 and leave the five-time US Open champion reeling. A timely break and run for Van Boening in the 12th brought him level at 6-6 but it was short-lived as the pair traded blows to the very end at hill-hill. Van Boening struggled to take control with six balls left on the table blowing it open for Hoang to step in and complete a memorable win.

Only eight remain going into the evening session of which six have never lifted the world title before. Two who will be looking for a slice of history are Albin Ouschan, who beat Mateusz Sniegocki convincingly 11-3 as he looks to claim a historic third world title whilst Niels Feijen beat rising star Aleksa Pecelj 11-4 in the Terminators hunt for a second world title.

Nineball World No.1 got the better of Denis Grabe 11-8 whilst Chang Jung-Lin downed another home favourite in Wiktor Zielinski meaning no Polish players made the last eight. That being after Sebastian Batkowski lost heartbreakingly hill-hill to Mohammad Soufi of Syria. US Open runner-up Max Lechner’s run was ended at the hands of Chinese Taipei’s Wu Kun Lin meanwhile.

The evening action begins from 6:30pm (CET) where only four can progress to the final day of action tomorrow. See the action live on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia, the Baltics, and the Netherlands, DAZN in the USA and Italy as well as on Matchroom.Live and broadcasters worldwide. Table 2 and Table 3 are on the Matchroom Pool and Multi Sport YouTube Channels respectively and Viaplay in above listed territories. See where to watch here.

Saturday 4, February 6:30 pm (CET) – Quarter-Finals

Table 1

6:30pm – Albin Ouschan (AUT) vs Mohammad Soufi (SYR)

Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) vs Chang Jung-Lin (TPE)

Table 2

Duong Quoc Hoang (VIE) vs Wu Kun Lin (TPE)

Table 3

Mario He (AUT) vs Neils Feijen (NED)

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Three Polish Players Lead Final 16 Remain At World Pool Championship 2023

Wiktor Zielinski (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Only 16 remain at the World Pool Championship 2023 in Kielce, Poland with the likes of Shane Van Boening, Albin Ouschan, and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz all looking to make a run to the finish line live on Sky Sports, Viaplay, DAZN, Matchroom.Live and TV networks worldwide.

Van Boening came up against his stiffest test yet in his mission to keep ahold of the title he won 12 months ago with a victory of Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp in a 11-9 win that saw the South Dakota Kid struggle to shake off the 2022 US Open runner-up. 2021 champion Ouschan was taken to the dying ember by Daniel Maciol of Poland to secure his passage whilst Sanchez Ruiz got the better of former world champion Thorsten Hohmann to book his place in the Last 16.

There was upset for Poland’s Wojciech Szewczyk who was knocked out by the Vietnamese hotshot Duong Quoc Hoang who is starting to make a name for himself whilst Alex Pagulayan‘s dream of a second world title was ended by Aleksa Pecelj of Serbia on an evening of high-octane drama. Poland’s hopes now rest on the shoulders of Wiktor Zielinski who came from 6-1 down to defeat Moritz Neuhausen; Sebastian Batkowski who continues a dream run after beating James Aranas 11-9; and Mateusz Sniegocki who knocked out Lars Kuckherm by the same scoreline.

Mohammad Soufi, Denis Grabe, Max Lechner, and Wu Kun Lin all progressed to the penultimate days with wins over Mika Immonen, Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, Johann Chua, and Japan’s Naoyuki Oi. Neils Feijen meanwhile came from behind to beat Petri Makkonen of Finland as he hunts for a second world title.

The final moments of the day were John Morra‘s to be had with a remarkable 11-10 thriller win over Jayson Shaw from 6-4 and 10-8 down. Shaw had his opportunities to seal the win but a poor safety let Morra in to complete a huge victory in a World Pool Championship classic. It sees Morra meet Mario He next after the Austrian beat Ko Ping Chung 11-9.

Saturday 4, February – Last 16 from 12:00 pm (CET)

Table 1 

Wiktor Zielinski (POL) vs Chang Jung-Lin (TPE)

Shane Van Boening (USA) vs Duong Quoc Hoang (VIE)

Table 2

Albin Ouschan (AUT) vs Mateusz Sniegocki (POL)

NB 2:00pm – John Morra (CAN) vs Mario He (AUT)

NB 3:30pm – Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) vs Denis Grabe (EST)

Table 3

Max Lechner (AUT) vs Wu Kun Lin (TPE)

NB 2:00pm – Sebastian Batkowski (POL) vs Mohammad Soufi (SYR)

NB 3:30pm – Aleksa Pecelj (SRB) vs Niels Feijen (NED)

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64 Remain In Poland At World Pool Championship 2023 Inbox

Joshua Filler (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Joshua Filler survived being knocked to the loser’s side by Alex Pagulayan on day two of the World Pool Championship 2023 in Kielce, Poland as only 64 remain after two days of action live on Sky Sports, Viaplay, DAZN, Matchroom.Live and TV networks worldwide.

Brackets / Scores

Filler faced Pagulayan early on for a spot in the Last 64 to avoid an extra match in Losers’ Qualification round this evening. The Killer fell to a 9-7 defeat, his second defeat to the Canadian in a matter of days after a loss at the Derby City Classic. It left Filler having to beat Daniele Corrieri to ensure his hunt for a second world title would continue and he did so in emphatic fashion in a 9-1 dismantling. Crucially, defeat to Pagulayan meant Filler lost his seeded position in the bracket ahead of the Last 64 redraw.

Other top seeds had less trouble as Shane Van Boening stepped past Mats Schjetne 9-2 whilst two-time winner Albin Ouschan put Khalid Alghamdi onto the losers side. Jayson Shaw meanwhile took out young German Tobias Bongers 9-5 and World Cup of Pool winner David Alcaide whitewashed Jani Uski to secure an afternoon off.

Last year’s semi-finalist Abdullah Alyousef suffered a 9-3 defeat to USA hotshot Shane Wolford to be sent home at the first major hurdle whilst Oliver Szolnoki suffered the same fate in a hill-hill finish against Ajdin Piknjac. 2021 runner-up Omar Al-Shaheen struggled for his groove against Denis Grabe as the Estonian came good to knock the 2021 runner-up out the competition. There was frustration for 1996 champion Ralf Souquet also, the Kaiser well beaten by Pole Daniel Maciol in Winners’ Qualification before defeat at the hands of Dimitri Jungo. Home favourite Mieszko Fortunski was also knocked out with the World Pool Masters semi-finalist knocked out by Lars Kuckherm.

The 32 players who qualified through Winners’ Qualification were seeded in the Last 64 redraw against an unseeded player who came through the Losers Qualification matches with Karl Boyes completing the draw with Rachel Casey on the Matchroom Pool YouTube page. Pagulayan and Filler will have to dance again after being drawn against each other whilst defending champion Van Boening will come up against Uski.

Action returns from midday local time tomorrow on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia, the Baltics, and the Netherlands, DAZN in the USA and Italy as well as on Matchroom.Live and broadcasters worldwide. Table 2 and Table 3 are on the Matchroom Pool and Multi Sport YouTube Channels respectively and Viaplay in above listed territories. See where to watch here.

Last 64 Draw

Shane Van Boening VS Jani Uski
Aloysius Yapp VS Chris Melling
David Alcaide VS Wojciech Szewczwk
Lo Ho Sum VS Duong Quoc Hoang
Max Lechner VS Ruben Bautista
Nick Van Den Berg VS Johann Chua
Naoyuki Oi VS Emil-Andre Gangflot
Alexander Kazakis VS Wu Kun Lin
Sebastian Batkowski VS Francesco Candela
Ali Nasser Al Obaidli VS James Aranas
Imran Majid VS Mika Immonen
Mariusz Skoneczny VS Mohammad Soufi
Gerson Martinez VS Lars Kukcherm
Mateusz Sniegocki VS Fabio Petroni
Daniel Maciol VS Dimitri Jungo
Albin Ouschan VS Tyler Styer
Alex Pagulayan VS Johshua Filler
Aleksa Pecelj VS Roman Hybler
Sanjin Pehlivanovic VS Petri Makkonen
Niels Feijen VS Adjn Piknjac
Eklent Kaci VS Mario He
Ko Ping Chung VS Shane Wolford
John Morra VS Luong Duc Thien
Jayson Shaw VS Besar Spahiu
Wiktor Zielinski VS Mickey Krause
Jose Alberto Delgado VS Moritz Neuhausen
Chang Jung-Lin VS Hunter Lombardo
Ko Pin Yi VS Jan Van Lierop
Konrad Juszczyszyn VS Nguyen Anh Tuan
Robbie Capito VS Denis Grabe
Thorsten Hohmann VS Khalid Alghamdi
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz VS Oscar Dominguez

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World Pool Championship 2023 Draw | Van Boening Starts Defense Against Yoshioka

Shane Van Boening (Taka G Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Shane Van Boening will begin the defense of his World Pool Championship title against Japan’s Masato Yoshioka in Kielce, Poland from February 1-5 live on Sky Sports in the UK, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia and the Baltics, DAZN in the USA as well as Matchroom.Live and networks worldwide.

FORMAT

TICKETS

WATCH DRAW

The American will look to become only the second player in history to defend the title following in the footsteps of Earl Strickland in a packed arena at Targi Kielce. 46 countries will be represented in the 128-player field as it is whittled down to the Last 64 over the first two days of action before it’s straight knockout to the end where one will claim the $60,000 first-place prize and the world crown.

The draw was completed with the top 64 players from the Nineball World Rankings against an unseeded player from the other 64 in the hat. Standout first-round ties include 2015 world champion Ko Pin Yi facing James Aranas of the Philippines whilst 2022 semi-finalist Abdullah Alyousef faces the tricky prospect of Johann Chua. 2004 world champion Alex Pagulayan was unseeded and will meet Michael Schneider.

World Cup of Pool winner David Alcaide takes on Billy Thorpe and Shane Wolford‘s mission for a spot on Team USA at the 2023 Mosconi Cup takes on Pia Filler. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz had a year to remember last year and will begin his Nineball campaign against So Shaw of Iran.

Double elimination matches are all race to 9, with all matches from the Last 64 a race to 11 except the final, which is a race to 13.

SEED Name Name
1 Shane Van Boening (USA) VS Masato Yoshioka (JPN)
2 Francisco Sanchez Ruiz (ESP) VS  So Shaw (IRI)
3 Joshua Filler (GER) VS James Georgiadis (AUS)
4 Albin Ouschan (AUT) VS Juan Carlos Exposito (ESP)
5 Mario He (AUT) VS Sebastian Batkowski (POL)
6 Jayson Shaw (GBR) VS Francesco Candela (ITA)
7 Wiktor Zielinski (POL) VS Aziz Moussati (MAR)
8 Alexander Kazakis (GRE) VS Erik Hjorleifson (CAN)
9 Max Lechner (AUT) VS Max Eberle (USA)
10 Ko Pin Yi (TPE) VS James Aranas (PHI)
11 Eklent Kaçi (ALB) VS Dimitris Loukatos (GRE)
12 Abdullah Alyousef (KUW) VS Johann Chua (PHI)
13 Oliver Szolnoki (HUN) VS Marcel Price (GBR)
14 Niels Feijen (NED) VS Muhummed Daydat (RSA)
15 Konrad Juszczyszyn (POL) VS Daniel Guttenberger (AUT)
16 Mieszko Fortunski (POL) VS Emil-Andre Gangflot (NOR)
17 David Alcaide (ESP) VS Billy Thorpe (USA)
18 Marc Bijsterbosch (NED) VS Nguyễn Anh Tuấn (VIE)
19 Sanjin Pehlivanović (BOS) VS Joseph Spence (CAN)
20 Jonas Souto Comino (ESP) VS Karl Gnadeberg (EST)
21 Wojciech Szewczyk (POL) VS Bashar Hussain Abdul Majeed (QAT)
22 Ko Ping Chung (TPE) VS Michal Gavenčiak (CZE)
23 Chang Jung-Lin (TPE) VS Jonas-Kvalsund Hansen (NOR)
24 Ronald Regli (SUI) VS Iker Andoni Echeverría (ESP)
25 Naoyuki Oi (JPN) VS Mickey Krause (DEN)
26 Jose Alberto Delgado (ESP) VS Joey Tate (USA)
27 John Morra (CAN) VS Tayfun Taber (GER)
28 Denis Grabe (EST) VS  Ali Nasser Al Obaidli (QAT)
29 Ralf Souquet (GER) VS Sullivan Clark (NZL)
30 Dimitri Jungo (SUI) VS Hunter Lombardo (USA)
31 Thorsten Hohmann (GER) VS Tanes Tansomboon (THA)
32 Aloysius Yapp (SGP) VS Sharik Sayed (SGP)
33 Tomasz Kaplan (POL) VS Ko Ping Han (TPE)
34 Moritz Neuhausen (GER) VS Lường Đức Thiện (VIE)
35 Aleksa Pecelj (SRB) VS Marco Dorenburg (GER)
36 Daniel Maciol (POL) VS  Sina Valizadeh (IRI)
37 Oscar Dominguez (USA) VS Stephen Holem (CAN)
38 Omar Al Shaheen (KUW) VS Joao Grilo (POR)
39 Skyler Woodward (USA) VS Chris Alexander (GBR)
40 Besar Spahiu (ALB) VS Ramazan Akdag
41 Hseih Chia Chen (TPE) VS Nick Van Den Berg (NED)
42 Chris Melling (GBR) VS Duong Quoc Hoang (VIE)
43 Petri Makkonen (FIN) VS Elliott Sanderson (GBR)
44 Imran Majid (GBR) VS Marco Teutscher (NED)
45 Mateusz Sniegocki (POL) VS Mohammad Soufi (SYR)
46 Radoslaw Babica (POL) VS Jan Van Lierop (NED)
47 Robbie Capito (HKG) VS Toh Lian Han (SGP)
48 Jani Uski (FIN) VS Chetan Chhabra (IND)
49 Lo Ho Sum (HKG) VS Lars Kuckherm (GER)
50 Bader Alawadhi (KUW) VS Richard Halliday (RSA)
51 Pijus Labutis (LTU) VS Ajdin Piknjac (BOS)
52 Mika Immonen (FIN) VS  Gerson Martinez (PER)
53 Greg Hogue (USA) VS Mariusz Skoneczny (POL)
54 Shane Wolford (USA) VS  Pia Filler (GER)
55 Karol Skowerski (POL) VS Abdullah Al-Anzi (KUW)
56 Nikos Ekonomopoulos (GRE) VS Ruben Bautista (MEX)
57 Tyler Styer (USA) VS Mason Koch (USA)
58 Roman Hybler (CZE) VS Matt Edwards (NZL)
59 Tobias Bongers (GER) VS Davy Piergiovanni (ITA)
60 Mustafa Alnar VS  Szymona Kural (POL)
61 Daniele Corrieri (ITA) VS Khalid Alghamdi (KSA)
62 Michael Schneider (SUI) VS Alex Pagulayan (CAN)
63 Wu Kun Lin (TPE) VS Fabio Petroni (ITA)
64 Mats Schjetne (NOR) VS Jakub Koniar (SVK)

WHERE TO WATCH

Table 1 will be live on broadcasters worldwide including Sky Sports in the UK, Viaplay in Poland, Scandinavia, Baltics, and the Netherlands, DAZN in the USA, Canada, and Italy, as well as on Matchroom.Live and networks worldwide. See where to watch here.

Table 2 will be live on Viaplay in selected territories as well as on Matchroom.Live and the Matchroom Pool YouTube channel.

Table 3 will be live on Viaplay in selected territories as well as on Matchroom.Live and the Matchroom Multi Sport YouTube channel.

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Gorst and Sanchez-Ruiz Top 2022 BCA Points List; Styer Top American Player

The Billiard Congress of America (BCA) has released their final points list for 2022, and while it is a familiar and expected name on top of the list, it’s a new group of American names making their presence known on the list. 

Russia’s Fedor Gorst sits at the top of the list, after wins in Arizona and Ohio, with Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz riding his wins at Derby and the US Open to second place on the list. Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski finished in 3rd place, while Mika Immonen and Jayson Shaw fill out the top five places on the list. 

As for the American players, it is Tyler Styer leading the pack in 19th place overall, with Hunter Lombardo, Kang Lee, Joven Bustamante and Shane Wolford filling out the top five American players. 

The Billiard Congress of America uses the BCA ranking system to rank players and to use a fair and transparent system for determining which American players get invited to WPA sanctioned international events such as: the World Pool Championship and other World Championship events. 

For players to get points in the BCA ranking system they must play in BCA ranking events. These events include: The Turning Stone Classic, Derby City Classic, US Open, US International Open, the Predator Pro Series events, and the American 14.1. Each event is then weighed and adjusted based on field size, purse total and how many top 20 players competed in the event.

The top fifteen World players on the list are as follows:

Current ranking Player Names Event
1
Event
2
Event
3
Event
4
Event
5
Event
6
Event
7
Event
8
Event
9
Event
10
Adj. Total
1 Fedor Gorst (RUS) 96 126 60 45 0 63 26 112 17 130 675
2 Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz (ESP) 0 90 168 0 32.5 0 182 56 42.5 65 636
3 Wiktor Zielinski (POL) 0 0 72 0 182 0 26 20 102 156 558
4 Mika Immonen (FIN) 64 27 84 45 130 63 0 56 17 26 512
5 Jayson Shaw (SCO) 112 0 96 0 0 63 26 0 29.75 182 508.75
6 Roland Garcia 0 108 120 45 65 31.5 65 0 29.75 39 503.25
7 Aloysius Yapp (SNP) 0 0 0 90 156 126 26 40 0 65 503
8 Mario He (AUS) 0 27 96 22.5 32.5 0 65 56 85 91 475
9 Bader Al Awadi (KUW) 32 18 72 108 0 45 45.5 20 59.5 45.5 445.5
10 Alexandros Kazakis (GRE) 0 18 42 126 32.5 0 91 40 29.75 65 444.25
11 John Morra (CAN) 56 27 84 31.5 45.5 45 45.5 0 59.5 32.5 426.5
12 Denis Grabe (EST) 0 63 48 63 45.5 0 26 80 29.75 32.5 387.75
13 Carlo Biado (PHL) 0 31.5 72 0 45.5 31.5 130 0 42.5 32.5 385.5
14 Lee Van Corteza (PHI) 0 0 48 90 91 0 65 0 42.5 32.5 369
15 Joshua Filler (GER) 0 0 144 0 0 0 65 0 59.5 91 359.5

 

The top ten American players on the list are:

Current ranking Player Names Event
1
Event
2
Event
3
Event
4
Event
5
Event
6
Event
7
Event
8
Event
9
Event
10
Adj. Total
19 Tyler Styer 48 31.5 42 22.5 45.5 22.5 45.5 0 0 39 296.5
29 Hunter Lombardo 40 31.5 36 18 45.5 31.5 0 0 0 32.5 235
35 Kang Lee 0 63 0 31.5 32.5 45 0 40 0 0 212
38 Joven Bustamante 0 45 0 27 32.5 63 26 0 0 0 193.5
40 Shane Wolford 0 0 84 0 45.5 0 26 0 0 32.5 188
45 Danny Olson 0 18 60 45 45.5 0 0 0 0 0 168.5
46 Chris Reinhold 0 45 42 27 0 0 26 0 0 26 166
48 Justin Martin 0 0 36 22.5 32.5 31.5 0 40 0 0 162.5
50 Shane Van Boening 0 0 84 0 45.5 0 26 0 0 0 155.5
53 Nicholas De Leon 0 31.5 72 18 32.5 0 0 0 0 0 154

With the release of the final points list, the BCA has also announced the calendar of events that will be used in 2023. Those events are:

·  Turning Stone (9-Ball), NY, Jan. 2023
·  Derby City Classic (9-Ball), IN, Jan. 2023
·  PBS Las Vegas Open, (10-Ball), NV, Feb. 2023
·  PBS Wisconsin Open, (10-Ball), WI, May 2023
·  PBS Michigan Open, (10-Ball), MI, Sept 2023
·  Turning Stone (9-Ball), Sept 2023
·  US Open (9-Ball), NJ, Oct. 2023
·  American 14.1 (14.1), VA, Oct. 2023
·  US International Open (9-Ball), VA, 2023

 

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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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