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Sanchez-Ruiz Is Predator World 8-Ball Champion

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz continued a remarkable year by winning the Predator World 8-Ball Championship, defeating Wiktor Zielinski 10-6 in the final at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan.

A packed crowd saw the Spaniard, who has earned an army of new fans this week, add a first World Championship to the Derby City Classic, three EuroTours, World Cup and US Open he has won this year. He ascended to the top of the World rankings this year too, a position further cemented after this event.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed a year which, with the addition of a World title to his résumé, must be considered as one of the greatest of any player in the sport’s history.

“It has been an amazing year for me, especially this tournament, because I never won a World Championship,” said Sanchez-Ruiz, whose trophy and gold medal comes with a $60,000 winners’ prize.

“I have won a Junior World championship but not this kind of event. Last year I won my biggest title and now I became World Champion, I cannot believe it. My goal is to keep working and be better and better every day but to win a World Championship is a dream for everyone.

“I want to continue playing like this. I could feel in every single moment here that all the Puerto Rican’s were supporting me and I think that is why I came back. In the beginning I didn’t play super good but I made a couple of good racks which gave me extra confidence.

“After I won the Derby, everything changed in my mind, that was very important for me this year. It has been amazing, but now I am looking for the Mosconi Cup. I won a lot of tournaments but the most important thing was the first big one.”

The Spaniard got off to a perfect start in the final when Zielinski’s dry break left a nice layout for Sanchez-Ruiz, who took a 1-0 lead. The Pole leveled with Sanchez-Ruiz wasn’t able to execute a difficult bank for the 7, and he didn’t give up control of the table as he quickly reached 3-1. A dry break brought ‘FSR’ back to the table to make it 3-2. Zielinski wasn’t in his chair for long, however, and less than 40 minutes into the final was already halfway to the title at 5-2.

Sanchez-Ruiz was just as quick to join Zielinski on 5, taking advantage when his opponent missed the 11 to take out three racks and level the match. The Spaniard was in stroke and confident, and had the crowd behind him. He took the lead at 6-5 and didn’t look likely to surrender the table any time soon.

The event had been well supported all week, and for the final even standing room was at a premium. Those in attendance were being treated to a world-class display from Sanchez-Ruiz, who had won six in a row to lead 8-5 before two kicks on the cue ball meant he scratched on the break. Zielinski cleared for 8-6 but a scratch in the side pocket allowed Sanchez-Ruiz to the hill.

Zielinski had a final chance at 9-6 down but a missed bank brought the World No.1 to the table and it wasn’t long until the 8 was down and Sanchez-Ruiz was standing to hear his national anthem beamed across the arena.

The medal ceremony awarded bronze to Jayson Shaw, beaten 10-7 by Zielinski in the semi-finals, and Mario He, who also lost 10-7. The Austrian was defeated by Sanchez-Ruiz, who had also ended the hopes of Konrad Juszczyszyn, Robbie Capito and Fedor Gorst in the knockout stages.

The Predator Pro Billiard Series will return in 2023, starting with the Kamui World Women’s 9-Ball Championship in Atlantic City, NJ from January 19-22.

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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Champions Advance On Day 2 of Predator World 8-Ball

Fedor Gorst

World No.1 Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and current World Champions Shane Van Boening and Wojciech Szewczyk are all one win away from the last 32 single-elimination stage of the Predator World 8-Ball Championship at Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan.

Chang Jung-Lin, who is defending the title he won ten years ago, also remains on the winners’ side of the draw. The $250,000 event will award $60,000 to the new World Champion at the end of the event, which is part of the first annual Caribbean CueSports International Expo.

The World Juniors 9-Ball Championships will crown new World Champions in its Girls, Under-17s and Under-19s divisions on Monday, with all three finals to be broadcast live on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel, Billiard TV, Zhibo.tv in China and on Liberty TV in Puerto Rico on Monday.

In the World 8-Ball Championship, Fedor Gorst will take on John Morra for a place in the last 32, with winners’ qualification matches set for 12 noon local time on Monday.

Gorst won 8-4 over Aloysius Yapp to move within one win of a place in the last 32. The pair split the first six racks before a break and run took Yapp ahead for the first time in the match at 4-3. However, he was forced to play safe in the next rack and Gorst was able to take out a 12/11 combo which opened the rack for the former World 9-Ball Champion.

A break and run saw Gorst restore his lead, and that advantage was extended to 6-4 with another runout. The hill was reached when Yapp, with few other options, scratched while attempting to masse on the 3. That meant Gorst was breaking for the match. The 12 went down on the break and he took care of the problem 9-ball early in his clearance, but he missed the 10 long. Yapp, though, then missed the 7 and the match belonged to Gorst.

Elsewhere, World 9-Ball Champion Van Boening earned progression to the winners’ qualification with an 8-3 win over Costa Rica’s Johnny Salas and will now face Wu Kun Lin for a place in the last 32. World 10-Ball Champion Wojciech Szewczyk defeated Hayato Hijikata 8-2 and faces Carlo Biado next, while WPA World No.1 Francisco-Sanchez Ruiz remained unbeaten with an 8-2 success over Max Lechner. Radoslaw Babica awaits the Spaniard on the winners’ side of the draw.

Puerto Rico’s Alan Rolon saw his World 8-Ball run come to an end at the hands of Wiktor Zielinski, despite having a vocal home crowd behind him. Alejandro Rodriguez is the last Puerto Rican standing and faces New Zealander Sullivan Clark tomorrow after banking the 8 for a hill-hill win over Florijan Maric which brought an eruption of joy from the large crowd which had gathered around his table late on Sunday evening.

All three divisions of the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships are down to the semi-finals. In the girls division, Bethany Tate was delighted with her dramatic 9-8 win over Poland’s Dominica Pawelczyk.

“I feel on top of the world right now, especially with that out,” said Tate. “I went wrong on the 7-ball but I came back, it was crazy. I feel so jittery, it is hard to keep the emotions down. There is a lot of pressure when my family is watching me but knowing that they are there pushes me to do better.”

Tate will face Xin Yu Hong of Chinese Taipei for a place in the final, while Lina Primus will take on South Korea’s Kim Hyerim.

“I can’t wait to play the semi-finals,” said Primus, who won last year’s Girls title on home soil in Austria. “I am trying to give my best and of course I want to win it. I am relieved because there is a bit of pressure when you have to defend the title but tomorrow I will do what I do for every match and what I know is good for me and I hope that will work out. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

In the Under-17s division, Jori Narvola defeated fellow Finnish junior Riku Rompannen 9-6 to set up a semi-final against Lang Yi Li of Hong Kong. Karl Gnadeberg of Estonia will face Serbia’s Lazar Kostic.

In the Under-19s division, Joey Tate was eliminated by Germany’s Yuma Dorner, who will face Yi Hsuan Sun of Chinese Taipei in the last four after the Asian junior defeated Dutchman Yannick Pongers 11-10.

The other semi-final will be contested between Germany’s Dennis Laszkowski and Szymon Kural. Laszkowski defeated Filipino Keane Derek Rota 11-3, while Kural was an 11-4 winner over Saudi Arabian Khalid Alghamdi.

Matches from the Predator World 8-Ball Championship are 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, including matches from the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships, 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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Biado And Wei Take Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open Titles

Carlo Biado

Carlo Biado won the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open, beating Daniel Maciol 4-1, 4-3 in front of the San Juan crowd after Wei Tzu-Chien had defeated Chezka Centeno 4-2, 4-0 to lift the Women’s Open trophy.

It is Biado’s first Predator Pro Billiard Series title, while the $13,000 Maciol collects for finishing runner-up represents the biggest payout of the young Pole’s career to date. Both Biado and Wei had previously lost Pro Billiard Series finals but both now have Champion trophies to sit alongside their silver medals.

“Finally I made it because before I lost in a final against Fedor Gorst,” said Biado in reference to his defeat in Arizona last year.
After sharing the first two racks of the opening set, Biado quickly took it 4-1. The second was far less comfortable for the Filipino, as Maciol tried to force the shootout.

A large crowd had gathered for both the Open and the Women’s final, and they were treated to a close finish. Biado had the opening break of the set but only took down the first rack when Maciol missed a soft-rolled 3. The Pole tied the set after Biado wasn’t able to kick the 6, but the Filipino cleared to regain his lead after his 23-year-old opponent broke dry.

Maciol wasn’t done yet and was level again in the set at 2-2, before Biado moved to the hill 3-2 up after again running out when Maciol’s dry break left an open table. It was then Biado who didn’t make a ball on the break and Maciol who took advantage to find himself breaking at hill-hill in a rack he needed to win to deny Biado the title.

However, another dry break brought the 2017 World 9-Ball Champion back to the table and Biado showed his class as he completed a difficult out to earn his first Pro Billiard Series title.

Tzu-Chien Wei

Biado’s $25,000 success followed Wei’s win in the Women’s division, which earned her $20,000 and ensured she wouldn’t suffer a second Predator Pro Billiard Series final defeat after losing out to Kelly Fisher in Michigan in September.

A 4-1, 4-2 victory against Chou Cheih-Yu – a repeat of the World Women’s 10-Ball final from September – set Wei up with a final against Centeno, whose 3-4, 4-2, 3-2 semi-final shootout win against Jasmin Ouschan took just a shade over an hour to complete.

Wei had lost that World 10-Ball find to Chou and a few weeks later suffered defeat to Fisher on the Pro Billiard Series in Michigan and the 32-year-old was determined to ensure she left with the trophy in her third final in as many months.

After taking the first set 4-2, she stamped down her authority in the second. She won a safety-strewn first rack from Centeno’s break and made it 2-0 when the Filipino, one of the quickest players in the game, left a straight 4. That lead was extended further in the third rack with a clutch 10-ball. Centeno had it all to do as Wei came up dry at 3-0. She took out a 1/9 but then missed the 2. She had another chance soon after but poor position to the 4 was her final error of the championship match.

Wei completed the rack to take the second set 4-0 and after collecting $20,000 said: “I was sitting there and I was thinking, I have been here twice, and I’m going to get it, it;’s not going to be three-times second. I played better than how I expected and really enjoyed the atmosphere here.”

The Predator Pro Billiard Series returns in 2023. The Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championship plays November 18-21 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, the host venue of the Predator World 8-Ball Championship which runs November 19-22.

Matches from the Predator World 8-Ball Championship will be 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, including matches from the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships, 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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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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Fisher Fights Through As Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open Begins

Kelly Fisher

Four-time Predator Pro Billiard Series champion Kelly Fisher had to come from 3-2 down to eventually win the second set against 12-year-old American Savannah Easton and move to the winners’ qualification stage of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open.

At the impressively set-up Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, 192 pro players from 44 countries opened the 2022 Caribbean CueSports International Expo on Tuesday. 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 Open event, Fedor Gorst, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Darren Appleton won twice to reach winners’ qualification, the latter defeating Chang Jung-Lin 4-0, 4-1.

After beating Elise Qiu on a shootout at the start of the day, Fisher faced Easton on the TV table in her hunt for an unprecedented fifth Predator Pro Billiard Series title. Easton has been making waves this year, most recently taking fifth in the WPBA’s Sledgehammer Open in Bristol, TN last month.

The 12-year-old had seen off Emilyn Callado in straight sets in the opening round and earned a huge ovation from the Puerto Rican crowd for her efforts against Fisher, who was almost taken to shootout by the youngster nicknamed ‘Roadrunner’.

Having won the first set 4-2, Fisher took a 2-0 lead in the second. However, the American youngster, who will take part in the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships starting Friday, cut that lead in half after making the 5 with the bridge. Easton then leveled the set at 2-2 after a safety battle with just the 9 and 10 remaining and a long 8 opened up the fifth game of the set for the junior, who took a 3-2 lead.

A dry break from the hill allowed Fisher to play a safety which Easton couldn’t escape but ball in hand was returned by the Brit when she completely missed the 7. However, Easton left a long 9 in the jaw and Fisher was finally level again at hill-hill in the second set.

The final rack brought more drama as Easton battled for the shootout but the pressure showed as she overcut the 10. Both players had another chance to close out the set but it was Fisher who got over the line to advance to winners qualification tomorrow.

“What a great player, she has nerves of steel and definitely one to watch for the future,” said Fisher. “She should have had me there, it should have been a shootout. I was all over the place but she missed some crucial balls at the end.

“What a great future she knows she must have, she is a great player and we are going to see her in the future. I, personally, don’t want to play her again; she put me under pressure, she got me, could have had me, and I don’t want to play her again until she’s 18!”

“I was this close, I was so close,” said Easton. “In the first set when I was 2-2 I thought I might be able to beat her, and in the second set when it was 3-2 and I took that break, I was so excited but I tried to hold it in as much as I could. It was so fun, I couldn’t believe it.”

Fisher will now face Kristina Tkach for a place in the last 16. Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan will take on Chia Hua Chen after ‘Amber’ beat World Women’s 10-Ball Champion Chieh Yu-Chou in the opening round. Pia Filler, Tzu-Chien Wei, Kristina Zlateva, Jasmin Ouschan and Allison Fisher are among the other players still unbeaten in the women’s event.

In the men’s tournament, local favorite Alan Rolon was well-supported as he Wu Kun Lin by shootout and then Alex Montpellier to earn a day off and set up a winners’ qualification match against Badar Alawadhi on Thursday morning.

A strong field spelt early casualties as the likes of Ko Ping-Han, Aloysius Yapp and Ko Pin-Yi all lost in the first round and now face a long road to reach the last 32 and single elimination.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Wednesday 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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Recapping The Special Year of Three-Time Predator Pro Billiard Series Fedor Gorst

Fedor Gorst

2022 has been a special year for Fedor Gorst, who has taken home his fair share of championship glory here in 2022. 

The 22-year-old started the year on a high note by emerging victorious in the 2022 Arcadia Arizona Open in January, which netted him $25,000. Gorst was also the winner of the inaugural Arcadia Open back in 2021.

Continuing with his strong year, Gorst was this year’s winner of the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship to claim the main $9,100 prize. Gorst finished ahead of Lee Vann Corteza,  who pocketed $4,600 in prize money. 

It was not a surprise that after the Copper State launched legalized sports betting in September of last year, the odds for Gorst and several other sporting events got covered by the sportsbooks in Arizona. 

Big names like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars and BetMGM and well, taking into consideration that these are the biggest names covering the Super Bowl 57 that will be taking place at State Farm Stadium (home of the Cardinals) in Glendale, Arizona on Feb. 12, it is clear that Gorst’s victory got backed-up by big names in the industry, while placing his own at the top.

Gorst’s incredible 2022 campaign continued into the month of October. 

The Moscow, Russia native was also victorious at the FargoRate Ohio Open. There, Gorst managed to get past legend Roberto Gomez to claim the $25,000 prize. It marked a milestone victory for Gorst, who also became the first man to win three Predator Pro Billiard championships.

Coming into this tournament, Gorst and 26-year-old Aloysius Yapp (the winner of the 2021 and 2022) were the two men to have won multiple titles in the Pro Billiards Series.

Gorst Eyes Unprecedented Fourth Title At Medalla Lite Puerto Rico Open

There isn’t much more for Gorst to prove this year. The 22-year-old has pieced together one of the greatest individual seasons in the Pro Billiards Series.

But of course, he can add even more to his special trophy room with a victory at the Medalla Lite Puerto Rico Open, the last scheduled tournament of the US Pro Billiard Series for 2022.

The Medalla Lite Puerto Rico Open will be held from Nov. 15-18 at the Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan. The event will be limited to 128 players, and the winner will take home the special grand prize of $100,000.

Gorst, Yapp & Gomez Headline Favorites For Medalla Lite Puerto Rico Open 

Gorst will be among the premier favorites to win the last tournament here in 2022. He has a whopping 639 points (320 in tournament points and 319 in FargoRate), and he’s finished top 10 in each of his last six tournaments.

The previously mentioned Yapp and Gomez should also be considered strong favorites to win the Medalla Lite Puerto Rico Open.

If there’s one person who can seriously push Gorst for that No. 1 ranking, it’s Yapp (second). He has 606 points (320 of them are tournament points). After finishing ninth in the 2021 Las Vegas Open, Yapp followed it up with a victory at the Michigan Open to claim the $12,000 prize.

Yapp finished second at this year’s Apex Wisconsin Open 2022, losing to 31-year-old Alex Kazakis (previously the No. 1 ranked player by the WPA). Yapp was also the runner-up at the 2022 Las Vegas Open, which was won by 21-year-old Wiktor Zielinski.

As previously noted, Yapp won this year’s CSI Michigan Open to win the $20,000 grand prize. He finished ninth at the FarGoGate Ohio Open, taking him $1,500 in winnings.

The No. 4 ranked Gomez is cruising with 506 total points, and he’s had four top-three finishes dating back to the 2021 Arizona Open (third at that tournament, second at both the Michigan and Ohio Open and second at this year’s FargoRate Ohio Open).

Gorst will certainly have a strong level of competition at the Medalla Lite Puerto Rico Open, no doubt. But if he can add a fourth title to his trophy room? It would make an already incredible 2022 season that much sweeter.

Shaw goes undefeated to claim International Open 9-Ball Title

Jayson Shaw

Junior International Championship series crowns two new 18 & Under champions

It was a primal roar.

Shocking in its volume, its intensity, its contagious enthusiasm for the moment. He stood there, back arched, gripping his cue, his off-hand tightened to a fist, roaring to the rooftops. He put his cue down, pivoted in a single spot, his fierce glare and ongoing roar inviting the 200 or so people surrounding him in the Iwan Simonis Arena at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside in Virginia to join him in his triumph. They did.

Scotland’s Jayson Shaw had just won the 9-Ball tournament at the 2022 International Open and he wanted everybody to know, including, it would seem, the folks working at the General Dynamics shipyard across the bay from the hotel. Though somewhat familiar to any and all who’d watched him win tournaments before, it had reached a level that according to close friend and teammate on the 2016 Mosconi Cup team, Darren Appleton, was new and unique to the moment.

“I’d never seen that before,” said Appleton afterwards. “I’d seen him do it in team play, like the Mosconi Cup, but never like that before.”

Speaking to the crowds immediately following his 13-10 victory over Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski, Shaw tried to explain. He’d been asked what elevated this win above others. He didn’t reference the roar directly, but as he spoke, it added meaning and context to it. He shared the moment and everyone in the arena, who hadn’t needed or expected the explanation, understood it.

“I’ve struggled the last 12 months,” he said. “Just wasn’t feeling it.”

This might have come as a bit of a surprise to the listeners who knew something about his last 12 months; the back-to-back wins at Turning Stone, his victories at the 12th New England Pool & Billiards Hall of Fame 9-Ball Open and the Pro Players Championship at the Super Billiards Expo. But the acknowledged champion was thinking about the other 14 events at which he’d not done so well, during which time the pressure within him to ‘get back’ to where he wanted to be was strong, bottled up in a human vessel that burst like a huge champagne cork when the final 9-ball dropped.

He was definitely feeling it now, as six years, to the day, after he’d defeated Jung Lin-Chang at the Kuwait Open, he laid claim to the 2022 International Open 9-Ball title.

But so was Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski when he stepped to the table at the start of the match, with his own set of demons to exorcise, including, exactly one week ago, his runner-up finish to Dimitri Jungo at the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships. He more than made up for that disappointment, eliminating Joshua Filler and Fedor Gorst in the single elimination stage.  Shaw had eliminated Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyousef 10-4, Spain’s Jonas Souto 10-3 and in the semifinals, Ko Pin Yi 10-3 to join him in the finals.

For those who’d been following the two finalists’ trips through the bracket, it was setting up to be a tight match between Zielinski’s resilience and Shaw’s raw and visible determination. Determination won.

The crowd had to wait a while for the two to settle in. Zielinski opened the proceedings with a dry break, which Shaw was unable to take advantage of. Zielinski then missed the 2-ball completely, giving Shaw ball-in-hand. Shaw ran the table to draw first blood. Shaw broke the second rack and scratched, giving Zielinski the opportunity to run the table and tie things up, which he did.

Things got better quickly, although when Zielinski broke and ran the third rack, it’d prove to be the last time that he would lead in the match. Shaw broke and ran rack four, running to the 3-ball and using it to drop the 9-ball and tie things. Though Zielinski would get within one, twice, at 7-6 and 8-7, the proverbial writing was on the wall. 

Zielenski got the crowd stirring right after Shaw had reached the hill, ahead by four. Shaw scratched in the next rack and Zeilinski dropped a 2-9 combination to finish rack #17, quickly, and then, after Shaw smacked three balls home on the break, Zielinski used a long bank shot on the 1-ball to start a run that brought him to within two at 12-10. 

Zielinski broke dry on the next rack and Shaw used a 2-9 combination to finish.

And then, there was the roar.

Tate and Hollingsworth meet for 2nd time in JIC final, Mast and Noelle Tate meet in girls’ final

It is indicative of the entire JIC program that the two girls who squared off in the finals of the Junior International Championships’ (JIC) 18 & Under Girls final were 14 and 12 years of age. The program made the distinction between 13 & Under and 18 & Under to keep burgeoning skills at the table in separate divisions, but the younger competitors weren’t interested. Sofia Mast (14) and Noelle Tate (12) advanced through the short field of eight entrants at the 2022 JIC’s 18 & Under Championships and though, there was a possibility that this year’s final would feature Tate sisters Bethany (16) who finished at the top of the 18 & Under Girls rankings, and Noelle, who finished 6th, that didn’t happen.. 

Mast had defeated Bethany, double hill, to claim the hot seat, but much to Noelle and Bethany’s surprise, the younger sibling defeated the older 7-5 in the semifinals. Noelle, who hadn’t given being in the finals a single thought on her way, fell 9-2 in the finals, and ‘besties’ that they tend to be, they hugged warmly when it was all over.

Noelle’s older brother, Joey and Landon Hollingsworth in the 18 & Under Boys final, not so much.

They’d met in the 18 & Under Boys finals last year, when Hollingsworth came out of a 5-5 tie and won the last five racks in a row to claim the 2021 title. This year, the two battled back and forth through five ties, the last of which set the stage for a double hill last game. Tate took his first lead since being ahead 2-1 when he won the 15th rack that made it 8-7. A tension-filled 16th rack saw them both miss shots that elicited gasps from the assembled spectators. Tate’s miss of the 6-ball gave Landon the chance to run the rest of the balls and he did for the 8-8 tie.

They ran through the final rack pretty quickly and it was Tate who got the first look at the 9-ball, but it was like a galaxy, far, far away. The audience seemed to be literally holding its breath and before he moved into his pre-shot routine, Tate was, too. But he settled into a stance, stroked and banked the 9-ball into a corner pocket to claim the JIC’s 18 & Under Boys title.

(Editor’s note: We’ll be working on expanded coverage of both the International Open and the JIC’s two Championship events, soon. Stay tuned. 

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

Wiktor Zielinski

JIC quarter and semifinals feature a Tate family gathering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Noelle Tate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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International Open Advances 16 to Single Elimination Phase

JIC series begins its 18 & Under Boys and Girls Championships 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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