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2022 World Pool Masters Field Locked In

The field for the 2022 World Pool Masters is set shaped by the 2022 Nineball World Rankings as 24 players, take aim for one of pool’s most prestigious prizes in some of the toughest conditions against the top contenders.

Pool’s most famous invitational tournament gets underway from May 5-8 at the Europa Point Sports Complex, Gibraltar with tickets from £7 per session.

BUY TICKETS FROM £7 HERE

Defending champion Alexander Kazakis will lead the field as No.1 seed closely followed by newly crowned World Champion Shane Van Boening who will be seeded as the No.2 seed. The top 20 players on the Nineball World Rankings were given automatic wildcards with the top eight seeds avoiding the preliminary stage of the tournament.

Four wild cards join the 20 off the rankings with two-time champion Niels Feijen returning to the Rock off the back of claiming the European Championship 9-ball title earlier this year. Dimitri Jungo of Switzerland will make his World Pool Masters debut on the back of a stellar run at the World Pool Championship for the Swiss cueist after reaching the Last 16. The final two wild cards were given to Hong Kong, China’s rising star Lo Ho Sum who beat both David Alcaide and Eklent Kaçi at the World Pool Championship and Kuwait’s World Pool Championship semi-finalist Abdullah Alyousef who joins compatriot Omar Al-Shaheen in the field of 24.

Full Field (Seeded players 1-8 move into Last 16 based on 2022 Nineball World Rankings) 

  1. Alexander Kazakis (GRE)
  2. Shane van Boening (USA)
  3. Albin Ouschan (AUT)
  4. David Alcaide (ESP)
  5. Max Lechner (AUT)
  6. Aloysius Yapp (SIN)
  7. Naoyuki Oi (JPN)
  8. Joshua Filler (GER)

Unseeded players who face the preliminary stage

Event Format

The top 8 seeded players enter at the last 16, where they are joined by the winners from the preliminary round, where players ranked 9-24 face off.

All matches race to 7, winner breaks, except for the final which is a race to 9.

The tournament will be played on a Rasson Ox table with pockets measuring at 4 inches.

MATCH SCHEDULE

Thursday 5th May – Evening Session

x4 Preliminary Round matches

Friday 6th May – Afternoon Session

x4 Preliminary Round matches

Evening Session

x3 Last 16 Matches

Saturday 7th May – Afternoon Session

x3 Last 16 Matches

Evening Session

x2 Last 16 Matches / x1 Quarter-Final

Sunday 8th May – Afternoon Session

x3 Quarter Finals

Evening Session

x2 Semi-Finals / Final

Draw

The draw for the Preliminary Stage and Last 16 will be made soon.  Keep an eye on the Matchroom Pool social media pages for the draw.

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Szewczyk Survives to Win Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Wojciech Szewczyk

Things weren’t looking so great for Wojciech Szewczyk Friday evening. In fact, they were looking downright bad.

Facing defending champion Eklent Kaci in the semifinals of the World 10-Ball Championships, the 31-year-old from Poland had just watched his opponent break-and-run to build a 9-7 lead in a race to 10.

Approximately five hours later, Szewczyk was in the arena at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, letting out a primal yell and raising his fists in the air as the new World 10-Ball champion. Szewczyk had been close in major events before – including a runner-up finish at this year’s European Championships in men’s10-Ball and placing in the top-10 at the 2019 World 10-Ball Championships – so his championship is hardly a surprise. But, making the title more impressive is the route the Pole took, wiping away deficits in the semifinals against Kaci and the championship against young upstart Christopher Tevez of Peru to earn his first major and the $60,000 that comes with it.

Using a powerful and smashing break, Tevez had been pounding people on his path through the final stage of the event, beating David Alcaide 10-5 in the rond-of-32 and Darren Appleton in the quarterfinals. So, when the Peruvian jumped out to an early 3-1 on Szewczyk and was in the process of clearing the table again, it appeared that the finals could be yet another quick match.  Then Tevez left the 10-ball on the shelf of the corner pocket, quickly turning a possible 4-1 lead into a 3-2 score instead. Szewczyk took full advantage of the opening, using of a pair of unforced errors by his opponent to win four straight racks and build a 5-3 lead.

After Tevez tacked on two wins thanks to a victorious safety exchange and a missed shot by his opponent, Szewczyck regained the lead thanks to successful jump and combination shots. He had a chance to open up a two-rack lead but missed a 10 ball of his own, handing the table and an easy shot back to his opponent. The two players traded racks for the next four games until Szewczyck scratched on the break in the 17th rack with the score tied 8-8. With the balls clustered on the table a safety exchange ensued, and when Tevez attempted a jump shot after a safety he scratched. Rather than attempt a run out, the crafty European tied the cue ball up in safeties and forced his opponent to foul three time in the game, an automatic loss which put the Pole on the hill at 9-8.

When Tevez broke in the 18th rack he pocketed a ball but again didn’t have an open shot at the 1 ball. The Peruvian initiated a safety exchange on the 1 ball, then missed a kick shot on the object ball that left an opening. Szewczyck used a combination shot on the 2 ball to methodically run out the rack to clinch the win. Overcome with emotion, he stared at the ceiling with his arms raised in victory then sat in his chair with a look of joy as well as relief.

The start of the semifinals was delayed by a couple of hours as the quarterfinals turned into a logjam, with multiple matches taking close to three hours to complete. Two of the competitors who were tangled in such long battles were defending champion Kaci and Szewczyck, who had both gutted out hill-hill thrillers. Kaci came from behind to defeat last year’s runner-up Naoyuki Oi, clearing the table in the deciding 19th rack with a run-out that included a lengthy safety battle on the 1 ball, a near scratch after pocketing the two and a table length cut on the 4 ball. A couple of tables away, Szewczyck was straining through a duel of his own, coming from behind to defeat Edgie Geronimo 10-9.

So, it only made sense that Kaci and Szewczyck face each other in the semifinal mere minutes after their quarterfinal matches concluded.

The two again found themselves in a topsy-turvy struggle that saw momentum turning over as frequently as the cards in the Rio’s casino. The 27-year-old from Poland struck early, taking advantage of Kaci failing to pocket a ball on the break as well as missing a shot and fouling to build an early 4-1 advantage. The Albanian then used a break-and-run followed by a victorious safety exchange to pull within 4-3, only to fail to pocket a ball on the break in the eighth rack. Szewczyck cleared the table to push his lead to 5-3, then watched as his opponent took advantage of a dry break and a missed 7 ball in the 10th rack by the Pole to tie the score.

After Szewczyck used a break-and-run to win two of the next three racks to take a 7-6 lead, Kaci came alive. He used a jump shot on the 1 ball in the 14th rack to run out and tie the match, cleared the table in the next game after his opponent jumped the cue ball off of the table on the break, then tacked on a break-and-run to build a 9-7 advantage and climb to within a game of advancing to the finals.

Just when it appeared Kaci was on his way to defending his title, the wheels came off. After Szewczyck won the 17thgame on a safety exchange, the young man from Poland tied the score in the next rack when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break. With the match now tied 9-9, it was Szewczyck’s turn to break and not land a ball in a pocket. With the rack clustered together, Kaci pocketed the 1 ball and then played safe on the 2 ball. His opponent would eventually land the 2 ball and knock the 3 ball up table for another safety. The Albanian kicked at the ball and missed completely, handing ball-in-hand to Szewczyck, who broke up a tied up 5 and 8 balls for the win, collapsing to the floor after pocketing the game-winning 10 ball.

The next semifinal matched Tevez against reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw, who had breezed through the event the entire week and continued to make things look easy in the early stages of the final day. Shaw opened the day with a 10-5 defeat of Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz in the round of 16 and qualified for the semifinals with a 10-4 victory against reigning European 10-ball champion Sanjin Pehlivanoic.

This time, it would be the unknown underdog Tevez who seemed to be in cruise control. He built an early 3-1 lead until Shaw used a pair of missed shots by his opponent to tie the score. As the match progressed, Tevez powerful break consistently pocketed balls while his opponent struggled with his opening shot throughout, as Shaw broke dry five times in eight attempts. The Peruvian capitalized, winning four straight racks to build a commanding 7-3 advantage until Shaw took advantage of a dry break and a missed shot by his opponent to win three straight and close the gap to 7-6. Tevez, who had shown no fear throughout the five-day tournament, pocketed four balls on the break in the 14th rack and ran out to increase his lead to 8-6 and then cleared the table again when Shaw again failed to pocket a ball on the break. Standing at the table with a chance to close out the match, Tevez again pocketed a ball on the break and closed out the match with a victorious safety exchange on the 1 ball.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship ran March 28-April 1 and also taking place is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the events.

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Shaw Stellar On His Way To Final 16 In Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Jayson Shaw

Scotland’s Jayson Shaw has been busy during the opening third of 2022.

He began the new year by winning yet another Turning Stone Classic – his seventh career victory at the event – and earned over $22,000 at the Derby City Classic a couple of weeks later, finishing second in Master of the Table honors to Fedor Gorst by mere points. In between these tournaments, Shaw made his way to Virginia and broke John Schmidt’s record for straight pool, pocketing consecutive 714 balls.

As he now heads into the final day of competition at the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, the reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player appears to again be in top form. Needing two victories to qualify for the final 16 knockout phase, Shaw delivered a knockout of his own, shutting out Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Thorsten Hohmann, 8-0. Playing again hours later against Jonas Souto, the Scotsman again made the game look easy as he disposed of the Spaniard at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

Hohmann, who turned in a top-10 finish at the 192-player Alfa Las Vegas Open last weekend, struggled from the start as he failed to pocket a ball on the break twice and missed a 4 ball in the third game. Shaw took full advantage, building an early 3-0 advantage that just continued to snowball. Holding a suffocating 7-0 lead, Shaw failed to pocket a ball on the break and it appeared Hohmann was about climb onto the scoreboard. As he worked his way through the rack, the former World 9-Ball champion missed a 5 ball in the corner pocket and handed a wide-open table back to Shaw, who closed the rack to finish out the shutout.

Facing Spaniard Souto in his second match of the day, Shaw used solid shot making along with stellar safety play which gave his opponent fits, as the former International Open champion won six of the first seven games in the race-to-10 match. After Souto took advantage of a couple of openings left by Shaw to narrow the deficit, the Spaniard had a chance to narrow cut into the lead more in the 11th game but scratched after pocketing the 1 ball. Shaw cleared the table, then took advantage of a foul and another miss by his opponent in subsequent racks to close out the match, 10-3.

Also exhibiting a dominating performance on Thursday was defending champion Eklent Kaci, who ran away early in his match against Alex Pagulayan – thanks in large part to a tardiness gaffe by the BCA Hall of Famer.

After arriving 10 minutes late for the start of his match, Pagulayan was issued a two-game penalty – one for every five minutes that he was late – which spotted his opponent a 2-0 advantage. After the Filipino missed shots in the first and third games played and Kaci added a break-and-run, the Albanian had increased his lead to 5-0. Pagulayan cobbled together a couple of wins after Kaci jumped the cue ball off of the table in the seventh game but lost momentum when he rolled the cue ball behind the 8 ball while attempting to secure position on the 7 ball.

After missing the shot, Kaci finished off the rack to increase his lead to 8-2, then took advantage of a dry break by his opponent to climb onto the hill. After Pagulayan added on another rack to cut the lead to 9-3, Kaci again ran out the rack in the 13th game when his opponent again failed to pocket a ball on the break.

The evening’s round of 32 competition concluded with a Turn Back the Clock matchup between two undefeated Hall of Famers, Mika Immonen and Darren Appleton, who struggled at times with shot making and but gutted out a 10-5 victory.

After splitting the first four racks, Appleton took advantage of back-to-back dry breaks and a pair of missed shots by his opponent to win four out of five games and build a commanding 7-3 lead. The Englishman had a chance climb onto the hill at 9-3 but missed a makeable 10 ball in the corner pocket. Immonen cleared the table to cut the deficit to 8-4 and added another win in the 11 rack, but breaks and runs by Appleton in the 10th and 12th rack sealed the deal.

With the final 16 set, competition will resume tomorrow at 10 a.m. local time with eight matches, including Naoyuki Oi meeting Chris Reinhold; Lee Vann Corteza facing Kaci; Daniel Maciol matching up against Edgie Geronimo and Wojciech Szewczyck squaring off against Denis Grabe. Other notable matches include Mieszko Fortunski tangling with Sanjin Pehlivanovic and Shaw taking on Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, who advanced to the round of 32 by defeating World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis in a hill-hill battle.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and also taking place is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the events.

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Predator World 10-Ball Championship Kicks Off Today

Eklent Kaci

In a way, Eklent Kaci’s biggest victory of 2021 was the fact that he made it to Las Vegas at all.

The big Albanian had spent more time in his home country than he had hoped, missing a spring Matchroom event in England when his teammate couldn’t get a visa in time then missing a handful of additional events while waiting nearly three months for his “expedited” visa. Once he finally secured the proper credentials, Kaci was denied the opportunity to board his flight to the United States on August 29due to a reservation mix-up and was forced to skip the Diamond Las Vegas Open.

Finally, three days later, Kaci was cleared to travel and made the most of his opportunity, working his way through a field of 64 of the world’s best pocket billiards competitors and took home the World 10-Ball Championship, defeating Naoyuki Oi 10-6 for the title at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

“This hasn’t been the best year,” he said after the finals were completed. “But this makes it worth the trouble.”

Although 2021 won’t be one that Kaci looks back on with much fondness, it was a revolutionary year for professional pool overall with the creation of numerous new tournaments throughout the world – including the U.S. Pro Billiard Series.

When billiard equipment manufacturer Predator Group and worldwide pool league operator CueSports International announced plans to launch the Series last summer, the strategy could have been interpreted as both aggressive and unconventional. The Pro Billiard Series launched with four new competitions spread out over three months while also producing the World 10-Ball Championships. Adding intrigue was the fact that the Series would be eschewing longer race formats which have long been a staple at major events and opting instead to implement a two-set, race-to-four that concluded with a sudden-death shootout if two competitors finished tied. As an added bonus, the champion of each Pro Billiard Series event in 2021 earned automatic entry into this week’s 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championships, held again at the Rio beginning today.

“We need to make the sport more exciting,” said Predator Owner Karim Belhaj over the summer. “We’re trying to find outside sponsors while keeping people’s attention.”

It was only fitting that some of the most exciting young players today in professional pool brought home championships in this first season of the Series, as rising stars like Taiwan’s Kun-Lin Wu, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp and Austria’s Mario He earned breakthrough titles. Even more impressive than the roster of champions was the quality of play, as competitors used a variety of methods to earn their championships – clutch shot making, pinpoint position play and stifling safeties.

“I believe we will one day look back on the inaugural season of the US Pro Billiard Series as a historic turning point for professional pool,” said Ozzy Reynolds, owner of CueSports International, the co-creator of the Series. “Several companies joined forces, bringing their own unique assets to the table, to build a better sport.”

The year was also a historic turning point for Wu, who had flirted with victory at big events in recent years only to come up short – finishing in third at the 2016 China Open and turning in a handful of top-10 performances at the Japan Open.

Competing at September’s Diamond Las Vegas Open, the 25-year-old notched his first win of his career, defeating Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen in straight sets, 4-3, 4-1. The young man from Taiwan, who posted an undefeated record during the four-day, 128-player event, eliminated Kremlin Cup champion Tyler Styer and Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz to reach the semi-finals. Facing Estonia’s Dennis Grabe with a chance to go to the finals, he watched as his opponent pocketed back-to-back pocketed 10 balls on the break to sail to an opening set 4-0 win. Wu bounced back, closing out the second set with back-to-back victories after Grabe missed a jump shot in the fifth game and then the deciding shootout to advance to the finals where he took down Al Shaheen.

“I talked to myself to get off of the pressure in the final day,” said Wu. “I felt much pressure because of the title match. Both me and Omar had not won a title yet.”

That drought ended for Wu thanks to a break-and-run paired with two victorious safety exchanges, as he built a 3-0 advantage in the first set. The Kuwaiti battled back to tie the score but missed a combination shot in the seventh game, allowing his opponent to clear the table and take the set. In the next frame, the young man from Taiwan capitalized on a handful of missed shots by Al Shaheen, who earlier this year placed second at the World Pool Championships, to coast a 4-1 victory and earn his first victory.

Last September, Yapp grabbed the attention of the pool world when the 25-year-old reached the finals of September’s U.S. Open Pool Championships and built an 8-3 lead in the title match before ultimately falling to Carlo Biado. The young man from Singapore continued his ascension at the CSI Michigan Open, bouncing back from an early round loss to Roberto Gomez Jr. to defeat the Filipino in the championship match in straight sets, 4-0, 4-2.

Yapp, who struggled with his break throughout the day, gutted out victories against World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis of Greece and Konrad Juszczyszyn of Poland, then survived a second half scare in the semifinals against Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki. After Yapp won the first set, the match appeared headed to a sudden death shootout as the Hungarian controlled the table with an open table layout. That was before Szolnoki missed the 3 ball, allowing Yapp to run out and advance to the finals, where he capitalized on a handful of Gomez errors to breeze to his first championship on United States soil.

At the Pro Billiard Series season finale, October’s FargoRate Ohio Open in Dayton, Mario He continued to survive but struggled to get a feel for the table being used to televise matches, with the radiant lights causing a different playing condition than he was accustomed to on the outside tables. In the finals against Gomez, the Austrian would barely need to shoot at times, pocketing back-to-back 10 balls on the break to build a quick 3-0 lead in the first set. The Austrian would during a Gomez comeback and win the frame 4-3, then take advantage of a handful of missed shots by the Filipino to pitch a 4-0 shutout and secure the championship.

All three Pro Billiard Series champions will be in competition this week along with reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw, five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion Shane Van Boening, 2019 World 10-Ball champion Ping-Chung Ko and his older brother, 2015 World 10-Ball champion Pin-Yi Ko. Also competing will be World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis, reigning World Pool and International Open champion Albin Ouschan and U.S. Open pool champion Biado.

Competition is scheduled to begin this afternoon and will be broadcast live on Billiard TV and World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship  runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.

Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Van Boening and Woodward Suffer Rare Upsets on First Day of Las Vegas Open

Jonas Souto handed Van Boening an early loss

There may not be a more decorated 10-ball player in the United States than Shane Van Boening.

With four United States Open 10-Ball championships, a handful of Super Billiards Expo 10-ball titles and two Derby City Classic BigFoot 10-Ball trophies, Van Boening has practically forged a hall of fame career on this discipline alone.

As a result, it’s not very often that he finds himself situated on the one-loss side of the bracket after the first day of play is completed. But there are exceptions – and Wednesday was one of those cases, as the 38-year-old struggled to get the feel of the table and lost to Spain’s Jonas Souto in the second round of the Alfa Las Vegas Open at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

After Souto opened the first set by claiming the opening rack after a missed combination shot by his opponent, Van Boening took advantage of missed shots by the Spaniard in three consecutive games as the South Dakotan won four straight to cruise to an easy, 4-1 win. Souto jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the next frame as the South Dakotan missed shots in back-to-back games. Van Boening jumped on the scoreboard in the third game when Souto attempted to break up a locked 8 and 9 balls but instead left an opening, but he relinquished the table when he failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next game. Souto used a combination shot on the 10 ball to climb onto the hill, 3-1, but Van Boening tied the match thanks to a missed shot by his opponent in the sixth game and a successful combination shot on the 10 ball of his own in the next rack.

After a push following the break by Van Boening in the deciding seventh game, the two men engaged in a brief safety exchange on the 1 ball. The five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball champion kicked at the ball and landed the object ball in the corner pocket but unfortunately had called the side pocket, allowing Souto to run the rack and claim the set, 4-3.

Van Boening dug himself into an early hole in the sudden death shootout when he missed his first shot. Meanwhile, the Spaniard was perfect in the extra frame, pocketing four consecutive shots to secure the victory.

Van Boening’s loss was part of a brutal opening day for American competitors, with three former Mosconi Cup members suffering early defeats, including two-time Cup Most Valuable Player Skyler Woodward losing in a 7-6 shootout to Riku Romppanen, a 14-year-old junior from Finland. After Romppanen won the opening set, 4-2, Woodward rallied to tie the match at a set apiece with a 4-2 victory of his own. Both competitors were perfect in their first six attempts in the sudden death shootout until Woodward missed his sixth attempt, leaving the door open for the teenager to pull the upset.

Romppanen will now face Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp Thursday afternoon.

Later in the evening. Van Boening’s friend and former Mosconi Cup teammate Billy Thorpe was trying to avoid a similar fate when he matched up with Filipino Roland Garcia, the plucky Filipino who finished third at this year’s Arizona Open and placed third in the Derby City Classic’s 9-ball division.

Thorpe appeared to be in control early after executing back-to-back combination shots on the 10 ball to open the match until he missed a 2 ball in the third rack, allowing Garcia to climb onto the scoreboard. The Ohio native added another victory in the fourth rack when his Garcia misplayed the 1 ball, but his opponent tied the set at 3-3 with back-to-back victories after Thorpe failed to pocket a ball on the break in the fifth game.

Standing at the table with a chance to close out the set, Garcia appeared positioned to run out the rack but instead missed the 5 ball In the corner pocket. Thorpe slid the ball into the corner pocket, then ran the rest of the rack to close out the set, 4-3.

The Filipino rebounded in a back-and-forth second set, taking advantage of two Thorpe misses to win two racks, then using a combination shot on the 10 ball in the fifth rack to climb ahead 3-2. The Filipino then capitalized on another Thorpe miss on the 5 ball in the sixth game to steal the set, 4-2, and force a shootout.

Thorpe’s shot making struggles continued in the extra frame as he missed all first three of his shots in the extra set, handing his opponent a 2-0 victory.

Competition resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m. local time, with notable matches including an all-Poland matchup of Wiktor Zielinski taking on Konrad Juszczyszyn, Austria’s Maximillan Lechner facing reigning champion Kun-Lin Wu and World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci meeting Ping-Chung Ko. Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and also on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Bigger Alfa Las Vegas Open Brings Star-Studded Field and Ko Brothers Return

The Ko Brothers

Wu Kun-Lin had been close to the finish line in a handful of major events in recent years only to stumble when he reached the finish line.

So, when he reached the last day of September’s Diamond Las Vegas Open, Wu was resolute to finish the job this time. So determined, that the 22-year-old found himself walking around the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, host facility for the tournament, giving himself pep talks to try and remain composed.

“I talked to myself to get off of the pressure in the final day,” Wu said. “I felt much pressure because in the title match, both me and Omar had not won a title yet.”

Wu survived a strong performance by Estonia’s Denis Grabe in the semifinals and coasted past Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen in the championship match to post an undefeated record and win the third annual Las Vegas Open, ending his title drought and picking up $15,000.

“Sometimes I was very close to winning so the only thing that I thought of was winning a title,” said Wu. “That was my goal and I made it.”

Now Wu is back to try and repeat as champion, as the Alfa Las Vegas Open opens play today, kicking off 11 days of professional and amateur pool at the CueSports International Expo at the Rio. This year’s Expo features a new title sponsor for the professional open events – cryptocurrency Alfa – added a professional women’s tournament while expanding the men’s field from 128 players to 192 – with three of those registered being the Ko brothers, who are making their return to international competition for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic begin in 2020.

Three years ago, in the very same arena where he will be competing this week, a 23-year-old Pin-Yi Ko, used a combination of tight safety play and sound shot making to upend Germany’s Joshua Filler and earn the World 10-Ball championship – his first major championship after a handful of close finishes. Helping the young Ko battle his nerves was older brother, Ping-Chung Ko, who walked and talked with his younger sibling during timeouts. When COVID-19 began spreading in March of 2020 and lockdowns occurred, the brothers from Chinese Taipei found themselves sequestered at home for nearly two years. With restrictions lifting worldwide, these two competitors, 2020 Las Vegas Open winner Jung-Lin Chang and a handful of top-flight competitors from the Far East Asian country are now back in town and ready to compete after the long layoff.

The last time Greece’s Alex Kazakis competed in the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, nothing seemed to be easy. The Greek needed not one, not two, but four consecutive victorious extra-inning shootouts to edge Kuwait’s Bader Al Awadhi and win the inaugural Wisconsin Open last month. The reigning World Pool Masters champion returns to action this week while in the midst of a stellar start to 2022, having followed up his Wisconsin win with a sixth-place finish in the Predator Premier League Pool event in England and having won February’s Cajun Coast Classic 9-ball tournament.

Earning top honors at Premier League Pool for the second consecutive year was Austria’s Albin Ouschan, who is back in Las Vegas looking to build upon a 2021 which saw him take home three major events, including a second career World Pool Championship and the International Open. Ouschan, who has a pair of 17th place finishes at the Las Vegas Open, was so dominant in big events last year that he earned the Player of the Year award from Billiards Digest magazine.

With the competition now expanded to 192 players spectators will have a non-stop roster of top pros to watch throughout the four-day event, including five-time United States Open 9-Ball champion Shane Van Boening, reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw, former United States Open 9-Ball and World 9-Ball Champion Joshua Filler and former Mosconi Cup MVP Skyler Woodward. Also making the trip are reigning World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci, four-time Mosconi Cup competitor Billy Thorpe and reigning Kremlin Cup champion Tyler Styer. Previous Pro Billiard Series champions slated for competition include reigning Ohio Open champion Mario He and rising young superstar Aloysius Yapp of Singapore, who won last year’s Michigan Open.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women’s Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open draw on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Dynamic Billard Lasko Open – It’s Zielinski Again

Wiktor Zielinski

Wiktor Zielinski is the 2022 Dynamic Billard Lasko Open champion after downing Joshua Filler 9-7 in a pulsating final in Slovenia. It was the 21 year-old Poles second Euro Tour win in as many starts and he can look forward to a rewarding 2022 if this type of form continues. Filler can have no complaints as he gave it his all, losing a terrific contest which was decided by the smallest of margins.

It was an emotional win for Zielinski who earlier had revealed that his Ukrainian girlfriend, Daria Siranchuk, herself a regular on the women’s Euro Tour, was travelling across her home country, desperately trying to seek refuge in Poland. Zielinski admitted that the uncertainty badly affected him and was overjoyed to discover that she had made it across the border.

“In the end there was no pressure as my head was somewhere else, in Ukraine. They’re killing innocent people and I was afraid something would happen with her. I was just happy yesterday that she told me she had managed to cross the Polish border and from that point I started to play well.

“I got stronger and stronger and with each match I was gaining more and more confidence. So it was nice to win again on the Euro Tour after losing my first match and then winning something like ten in a row. It was a tough marathon and I had no time to rest,” said an emotional Zielinski.

Both players were in tip top form entering the final. In the first semi-final, Zielinski had defeated countryman Wojciech Szewczyk 9-7 in an excellent match that had seen him run out six times. In the other, a rampant Filler had too much for Eklent Kaci, finishing up a 9-5 winner.

The Polish player took the opening rack as well as the second, when Filler, who was going nicely, overran the cue ball with just the 7 and 9 on the table. His safety wasn’t tight enough and Zielinski took the last two balls.

A push out was required from Wiktor in the third game and he left a jump shot on the 2 ball on. He made an excellent attempt but was not rewarded with the position. A good safety saw Filler make contact but he left the pink 4 ball on and from there Zielinski advanced to 3-0.

Filler took the next as his push out to a jump shot paid dividends when his opponent left the 2 ball on and he cleared for 3-1. The Polish star restored his three-rack lead in the next, moving around the table with confidence.

A fast-paced break and run from Filler was just what he needed as he pegged the deficit back to two racks. Zielinski returned the favour in the next as he too ran out from the break to take his lead to 5-2. It was high-quality stuff from both players as Filler ran the next from the break. Trailing by two, he needed Zielinski to slip up somehow.

Filler got his chance in the next as Zielinski scratched on the break and with ball in hand, he ran out for 5-4 and really opened up the match. Sensing his opportunity, Joshua broke and ran the next to level the game. The pressure was back on Zielinski but he had the break in his favour in the race to 9 match.

With no clear pot on the 2 ball in the next, Zielinski played a nice snooker but Filler came with an almighty jump shot to cut the 2 into the centre pocket and set up the run out as he took the lead at 6-5. A missed 2/8 combination from Filler in the next got Zielinski back into the fray and his superior safety play prevailed as he restored parity at 6-6.

Zielinski came with another break and run and there was a feeling that winning the lag may be a telling factor in the destination of the trophy. There was no hanging around in the next as Joshua swiftly worked his way around the table to level at 7-7.

Another sledgehammer break from Zielinski set up a run out and Filler found himself breaking to stave off defeat. Having to play safe, Filler initially thought he’d got it but there was a gap between the 5 and 9 balls that allowed Zielinski to pocket the red 3. From there, he made no mistakes as he went through the balls to claim a superb win.

It was Zielinski’s second consecutive Dynamic Billard Euro Tour win – an amazing achievement that has only been accomplished twice before in 11 years. He can now look forward to Treviso, Italy in April and a chance to go one better.

“It’s a really special achievement to win two in a row. It’s a really tough tournament with all the strongest players in Europe. Maybe there will be three in a row? I have really good memories of Treviso – I won there last November and it’s also where I met Daria!”

The Dynamic Billard Lasko Open was the first of six events in the 2022 Dynamic Billard Euro Tour series and players battle for Tour ranking points, as well as world ranking points for the newly implemented system operated by Matchroom Sport.

The next event is the Dynamic Billard Treviso Open Presented by Best Western BHR Hotel & 5M Pool & Games which runs from 30th April to 2nd May.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Dynamic Billard Lasko Open – Day One Complete

Chris Melling

Day one is complete at the Dynamic Billiard Laško Open as a whopping 215 matches took place across 28 tables in double elimination play. With a big field of 217 players gathered in Slovenia, the play was unrelenting as stars of the game, seasoned pros and young up-and-comers battled to avoid an early trip to the one loss side.

An opening match defeat generally means a minimum of a further six wins to reach the last 32 single elimination stage, while staying on the winners’ side throughout means that only three victories are needed to reach a similar stage.

Hosted by the smart Hotel Thermana Park, there were a few big names that succumbed on the opening day. English duo of Chris Melling and Darren Appleton both lost; to Spain’s evergreen David Alcaide and rising Polish star Daniel Maciol respectively, which puts them both under pressure on day two. Former Euro Tour winner, Finland’s Petri Makkonen, also fell early, losing 9-8 to young Greek player Nick Chatoupis. The Finn bounced back winning his next match but has it all to do on Sunday.

Petri Makkonen

The seasoned Polish duo of Karol Skowerski and Mateusz Sniegocki also suffered defeats. Wiktor Zielinski, winner of the last Euro Tour event – in Treviso last November – was beaten 9-2 in a shock upset by fellow countryman Kamil Szaszor. 2021 Euro Tour finalist and European Under 21 Champion Aleksa Pecelj of Croatia also lost his opener and will have it all to do on Sunday.

On the winners’ side, most of the big names here in Lasko progressed without a stutter including Joshua Filler, Eklent Kaci, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, and Alexander Kazakis. Play gets underway in earnest on Sunday morning as the field play down to the final 16 competitors.

The tournament concludes on Monday 28th February, starting at the round of 16 and playing down to the championship match. This is a new time slot for the tour, made to accommodate a live TV broadcast, initiated for 2022.

This the first of six events in the 2022 Dynamic Billiard Euro Tour series and players battle for Tour ranking points, as well as world ranking points for the newly implemented system operated by Matchroom Sport.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Kazakis Rallies to Win Apex Wisconsin Open

Alex Kazakis

It only made sense that Alex Kazakis’s day end in the same way that it started.

As he progressed through the brackets of the single-elimination phase of the Apex Wisconsin Open, the young Greek’s performance resembled that of a yo-yo. Just when it seemed he was gaining momentum or about to close out a set, a mistake would cost him. Conversely, when it seemed Kazakis’s championship hopes were starting to wane, an opponent would miss or commit a crucial tactical error.

Through it all, Kazakis was able to persevere, surviving four consecutive matches which advanced to an extra-frame shootout to win the 64-player event Saturday night at the Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino in the Wisconsin Dells. The reigning World Pool Masters champion defeated former World 9-Ball Champion Fedor Gorst, reigning World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci, Filipino Lee Vann Corteza and Kuwait’s Bader Alawadhi to earn his first championship on American soil. Kazakis’s title match against the Kuwaiti upstart was a microcosm of his day – overcoming a handful of self-inflicted wounds only to rally and survive the match in the shootout.

Alawadhi drew first blood in the championship match, taking advantage of a missed 9 ball by his opponent and adding a break-and-run to jump out to a quick 2-0 lead. Kazakis had a chance to retaliate in the third rack when his opponent missed a 5 ball and took full advantage, winning three straight games thanks to a break-and-run and an unforced error on the 5 ball in the fifth game by Alawadhi. With a chance to close out the set, Kazakis failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth game and Alawadhi cleared the table then promptly scratched on the break in the deciding rack, handing his opponent ball-in-hand and possibly the set.

As the Greek worked his way through the potential clinching rack, he positioned the cue ball for a sharp cut shot on the 5 ball which he missed. Alawadhi cleared the table to snatch the set, 4-3.

Kazakis began to rally in the following frame, taking advantage of a missed 2 ball by his opponent on the first rack and tacking on a break-and-run to build an early 2-0 advantage. The Alawadhi would tick off two wins of his own to tie the set thanks to a victorious safety exchange in the third rack and a missed Kazakis jump shot in the following game. The Kuwaiti appeared positioned to take the lead in the fifth game but scratched while trying to secure position on the 6 ball. Kazakis cleared the table to regain the lead then capitalized on a missed 5 ball by Alawadhi in the sixth game to claim the set, 4-2.

The shootout frame was over quickly, with Kazakis pocketing his first two spot shots while Alawadhi missed three straight balls to hand the match to his opponent.

The Greek’s final day of play began by cooling off the previously hot Gorst, with the young Russian struggling to make shots in his round of 16 match. Kazakis jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first set by winning a safety battle in the first rack then taking advantage of a foul by his opponent in the next game. He then used Gorst’s missed jump shot in the third rack and a missed bank shot of the 8 ball by the Russian in the next game to shut out his opponent, 4-0.

The second set was practically a photo negative of the first, with Kazakis now struggling to make balls while Gorst capitalized. In fact, the Greek missed a shot in each of the four racks played, as Gorst cruised to a 4-0 victory of his own.
After each competitor pocketed two balls in the first four frames of the extra-inning shootout, the cue ball was moved back a diamond on the table and the format switched to sudden death. Kazakis made his first shot while the Russian missed, ending any title hopes for the 21-yer-old from Moscow.

There would be a similar tale in the quarterfinals, as Kazakis squeaked by Eklent Kaci 4-3 in the first set, lost to Kaci 4-1 in the second then defeated the Albanian 3-1 in the shootout.

Amy Kane, Alex Kazakis and Karim Belhaj

Kazakis then advanced to the semifinals where he met Lee Van Corteza, who used a combination shot on the 10 ball, a safety victory and a scratch on the break by his opponent to cruise to 4-1 win in the opening frame. After the two competitors split the first four games of the second set, Kazakis clawed out the fifth game after both players failed to pocket the 2 ball. The Greek would close out the set, 4-2, when Corteza misplayed a safety on the 4 ball in the following rack.

Neither player blinked in the first four innings of the shootout, with both competitors pocketing four straight shots. The spot shot success continued in the fifth inning when the cue ball was moved back a diamond as the format switched to sudden death, but Corteza championship hopes ended when he missed in his sixth attempt while Kazakis landed his shot.

The U.S. Pro Billiard Series returns to action next month with the Alfa Las Vegas Open March 23-26 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. This event will coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

The Wisconsin Open was the second event of the year for the U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.

Find the Final Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page

The Apex Wisconsin Open was streamed for free all week on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Apex Wisconsin Open Down to Final 16

The 21-year-old Russian Fedor Gorst is certainly not a stranger to the U.S. Pro Billiard Series’ format, having won back-to-back Arcadia Arizona Opens.

Friday evening, Gorst saw plenty of the dramatic twists and turns that can occur in the short-race, shootout-deciding matches as he jumped out to big advantages in the first set only to lose the second and have to survive a shootout to advance.  It wasn’t easy, but he punched his ticket for the final day of play of this weekend’s Apex Wisconsin Open, defeating American Chris Reinhold and Canadian John Morra to advance at Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino to advance.

After a straight sets victory against Mason Koch to begin his day, Gorst was able to take advantage of two scratches and a missed shot by Reinhold to cruise to a 4-1 opening set victory. The script completely flipped in the following set, with Reinhold breaking and running the opening rack and winning the next game when Gorst missed a 2 ball in the side pocket. The Russian appeared to be positioned to climb onto the scoreboard after a Reinhold error but missed a 3 ball in the corner pocket in one trip to the table and scratched in the side pocket in the next, handing his opponent a 3-0 lead.

Gorst clawed out two victories thanks to a Reinhold scratch and a safety exchange in the fifth rack. He had a chance to tie the match in the next game but missed a combination shot on the 10 ball. He had another opportunity after Reinhold scratched during a safety battle but missed the 8 ball, allowing the American to close out the set, 4-2, and force a shootout. The two competitors were perfect through the first four innings of the spot shot contest, but when the format moved the cue ball back a diamond and switched to sudden death, Gorst pocketed his first shot while Reinhold missed.

A couple of hours later, Gorst was facing Morra for a chance to reach Saturday’s single-elimination phase. The first set was nearly a carbon copy of his opening round against Reinhold, with the Russian using two break and runs, a victorious safety exchange and a Morra miss to pitch a 4-0 shutout. After he used a risky bank shot on the 1 ball to run out the opening rack of the second set, it appeared Gorst could be making quick work of his Canadian counterpart. That was until Morra used a safety battle along with a break-and-run to take a 2-1 lead.
Gorst took advantage of a scratch on the break by his opponent to tie the score then used a successful table-length jump shot on the 1 ball to run the rack and take a 3-2 lead. As he cleared the balls in the sixth game, Gorst appeared to be closing out the set but drew the cue ball halfway down the table and into the corner pocket while trying to secure position on the 5 ball. Morra made him pay for the mistake, clearing the rack to tie the score and then using a carom shot on the 10 ball to steal the game, win the set, 4-3, and force a shootout.
Although he struggled with ball pocketing in the second set, Gorst was robotic in the spot shot contest, pocketing four straight balls while his opponent missed twice.

The Russian began the tournament with an opening round victory against Eklent Kaci, who also advanced to the final 16 with three consecutive straight sets victories over Justin Martin, Thorsten Hohmann and Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen.

Kaci was virtually perfect in his opening set against Al Shaheen, breaking and running three consecutive times and surviving a short safety exchange to pitch a 4-0 shutout. The Kuwaiti, who was a runner-up in last year’s World Pool Championships, used a break-and-run and a misplayed safety on the 8 ball by Kaci to win the first two matches of the second set. Kaci’s opportunity to mount a comeback arrived in the third rack when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break, as the Albanian cleared the table and then won the next two racks to take a 3-2 lead. Al Shaheen had an opportunity to tie the set but wasn’t able to secure position on the 9 ball, then misplayed a safety on the ball which allowed his opponent to close out the rack for a 4-2 win.

Meanwhile, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton continues to play more and more like the competitor who won the World 9-Ball championship a decade earlier, defeating former U.S. Open 9-Ball champion Mika Immonen in straight sets, 4-1, 4-2. Immonen, who has been appearing at the top of leaderboards more frequently himself in recent months, rallied on the one-loss side by defeating Evan Lunda in straight sets to earn a spot of his own in Saturday’s final day of competition.

Qualifying for the single-elimination phase from the winner’s side are Appleton, Dimitris Loukatos, Filipino Lee Van Corteza, Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp, Robbie Capito, South Dakotan Danny Olson, Jesus Atencio and World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis. The remaining eight players on the one-loss side include Kaci, Gorst, Immonen, Denis Grabe, Roland Garcia, Jeremy Seaman, Mickey Krause of Demark and Kuwait’s Bader Alawadhi.

The seeding will be re-drawn and competition will begin Saturday morning.

The Apex Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.
Follow the Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page

The Apex Wisconsin Open is streamed for free all week on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the event.

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