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Filler Falls in Dramatic Upset, while Van Boening Also Crashes Out

Finland’s Casper Matikainen takes down the defending champion in wild day in Doha as 32 players set for a sprint to the World 9-ball crown.

 

Casper Matikainen

Finland’s Casper Matikainen came into his round of 64 match at the World 9-ball Championship today versus the defending champion and world number 1 Joshua Filler feeling relaxed and ready for battle. He figured the German great would bring his usual fire, but he also knew that Filler might also take his eye off the proverbial ball. After all, the 23 year old Finn wasn’t exactly the most feared name in a field of absolute monsters.

So even when the self-described “King” of pool jumped out to a 4-1 lead, Matikainen never lost hope, as Filler had gotten a few lucky rolls and wasn’t playing all that great, while the Finn had a few rolls go against him.

The mental strategy soon started to bear fruit for the cool-headed blonde. Slowly, and increasingly surely, Matikainen crawled even, and then took the lead while at the same time Filler started to get sloppy, lose focus and even showed some signs of panic. From 4-1 down Matikainen calmly won 9 out of the next ten frames.  After a brief hiccup on the hill that allowed Filler to claim two quick racks, the steady Finn held his nerve and closed out the biggest shock of the tournament so far, an 11-7 upset of the defending champion.

“He’s the world champion and he’s playing and I’m not there in the big tournaments and maybe he’s thinking it’s an easy win,” the 22 year old Matikainen said afterward.  “I felt that Joshua had the pressure because he’s the world champion and I was really relaxed at the table and that helped me and I just got it done.”

Matikainen’s massive win was but one huge result on a dramatic day in Doha that saw some of pool’s biggest names dumped out, while others were taken to the absolute limits. With the field now down to the final 32, the next two days promises to be one of the most exciting and fascinating Battle Royale’s of 9-ball we’ve seen in years.

America’s Shane Van Boening had come to Doha a heavy favorite this year and for good reason. His last three starts here ended with two runner ups and a spot in the semis last year. But several early mistakes against Taiwan’s Liu Ri Teng was all it took for the Taiwanese to grab a commanding lead at 10-4. The American mounted a valiant fight back, but the alternate break format meant the hole was too deep. Liu sent Van Boening packing in the round of 64 with a humbling 11-8 defeat.

After his runner up finish at the US Open in Las Vegas last April, former champion Wu Jiaqing figured to go far here in Doha. But Wu came up against fellow compatriot Xu Xiaocong, who is one of a slew of quality young talents coming out of China. Xu has impressed all week here and  against Wu he turned his game up several notches, crushing the former Boy Wonder 11-5.

The Taiwanese are almost sure to have one, possibly two players in the semis after tomorrow as Team Taipei looked absolutely marvelous today. It isn’t easy picking a favorite out of these world beaters but World 10-ball Champion Ko Ping Chung would probably be at the top of most punters betting sheets.  The slightly built and painfully shy 22 year old is clearly at the top of his game but he even he barely escaped in a harrowing match against Hungary’s talented Oliver Szolnoki.

Szolnoki, another bright European prospect, played the match of his young career and had “Little” Ko on the ropes, shooting out to a 7-3, then 8-5 lead. The fresh-faced Hungarian reached the hill first, but Ko then displayed the courage and guts that only champions can pull off.  In a nervy and tense sudden death rack, the Taiwanese made a series of surreal pressure shots to eek out the victory.

Little Ko’s older brother and two-time former world champion Pin Yi also won today, easily defeating Japan’s Yukio Akagariyama, 11-5. Fellow Taiwanese Chang Jung Lin, Chang Yu Lung, Lin Wu Kun and Kevin Chang all won their round of 64 matches today. In all seven Taiwanese made it through to the round of 32.

2016 World 9-ball champion Albin Ouschan of Austria looks to be in very fine form this year, as he easily defeated Taiwan’s Lin Ta Li 11-5.  Fellow Austrian Max Lechner continued his rise this year with an 11-4 win over Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis.

The Russian contingent also put in solid performances today. Veteran Ruslan Chinakhov took down American Corey Duel 11-3, while youngster Fedor Gorst stayed alive with an 11-8 win over Slovakia’s Jakub Koniar.

2012 World 9-ball Champion Darren Appleton has been quietly playing himself back into game shape over the last few months and his solid victory today over Albanian star and European Mosconi team member Eklent Kaci could be a portent for the rest of the field. The Englishman battled back from a 4-0 deficit, and then turned the screws on the Albanian for a quality 11-6 win. In his remarkable heyday from 2008 to 2015, Appleton famously grinded out championships by the truckload and that bulldog mentality definitely was on display this afternoon.

The Philippines had only three players in the final 64 but all three made it through today. 2017 World 9-ball champion Carlo Biado got taken to the limit by Qatari veteran Bashar Hussein, before breaking and running the last rack for an 11-10 win. Also winning today for the Team Pinoy were Johann Chua and Jeffrey Ignacio.

The Polish contingent has been getting stronger by the year and they showed their quality today with three of their stars pushing through to the final 32. Mieszko Fortunski, Wojciech Szewczyk, and Mateusz Sniegocki all won handily.

Also advancing today were the USA’s Billy Thorpe, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp, China’s Liu Haitao, Greece’s Alexander Kazakis, Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Estonia’s Dennis Grabe, England’s Chris Melling, Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, Qatar’s Waleed Majid, Vietnam’s Do The Kien, and Hong Kong’s young upstart Yip Kin Ling.

The penultimate day of the World 9-ball championship will be extremely busy as the field will be whittled down to the final four at the end of the days’ action.

Play on day 3, Monday, Dec. 16th will begin at 10am Doha time(GMT +3). All matches will be single elimination knockout race to 11, alternate break.

The winner of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The total prize fund is $150,00.

*The 2019 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Qatar from December 10-17, 2019. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.

Fans around the world will be able to view live scoring, results, brackets and live streaming of many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform at esnooker.pl.  Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public.

Results Final 64

Casper Matikainen(FIN) 11 – 7 Joshua Filler(GER)
Yip Kin Ling(HKG) 11 – 5 John Morra(CAN)

Albin Ouschan(AUT) 11 – 5 Lin Ta Li(TPE)
Denis Grabe(EST) 11 – 8 Marc Bijsterbosch(NED)

Jung Lin Chang(TPE) 11 – 9 Dang Jinhu(CHN)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 11 – 8 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)

Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 11 – 6 Konrad Juszczyszyn(POL)
Xu Xiaocong(CHN) 11 – 5 Wu Jiaqing(CHN)

Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 11 – 8 Radoslaw Babica(POL)
Liu Haitao(CHN) 11 – 9  Jalal Al Sarisi (VEN)

Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 11 – 7 Petri Makkonen(FIN)
Johann Chua(PHL) 11 – 5 Enrique Rojas(CHL)

Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 11 – 3 Karol Skowerski(POL)
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 11 – 9 Masato Yoshioka(JPN)

Billy Thorpe(USA) 11 – 6 Kong Dejing(CHN)
Carlo Biado(PHL) 11 – 10 Bashar Hussain(QAT)

Chung Ko Ping(TPE) 11 – 10  Oliver Szolnoki(HUN)
Lin Wu Kun(TPE) 11 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)

Maximilian Lechner(AUT) 11 – 4 Pijus Labutis(LTH)
Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS)  11 – 3 Corey Duel(USA)

Chris Melling(ENG)  11 – 7 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Do The Kien(VET) 11 – 5 David Alcaide(ESP)

Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 11 – 6 Jang Moonseok(KOR)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 11 – 10 Ralf Souquet(GER)

Pin Yi Ko(TPE) 11 – 5 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 11 – 6 Stephen Holem(CAN)

Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 11 – 9  Xue Zhenqi(CHN)
Darren Appleton(ENG) 11 – 6 Eklent Kaci(ALB)

Fedor Gorst(RUS) 11 – 8 Jakub Koniar(SVK)
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 11 – 10 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)

Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 11 – 7 Ivar Saris(NED)
Liu Ri Teng(TPE) 11 – 8 Shane Van Boening(USA)

One loss side group matches
Winner moves on to final 64 KO stage. Loser is out

Group 1
Mateusz Sniegocki(POL) 9 – 4 Hasan Hwaidi(IRQ)
Bashar Hussain(QAT) 9 – 6 Jerico Bonus(PHL)

Group 2
Fedor Gorst(RUS) 9 – 2 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS) 9 – 3 Kong Bu Hong(HKG)

Group 3
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 1 Gerson Martinez(PER)
Wu Jiaqing(CHN) 9 – 3 Saki Kanatlar(TRK)

Group 4
Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN) 9 – 8 Matt Edwards(NZL)
Thorsten Hohmann(GER) 9 – 1 Marc Vidal(ESP)

Group 5
Wojciech Szewczyk(POL) 9 – 8 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 5 Woo Seung Ryu(KOR)

Group 6
Do The Kiem(VET)  9 – 6 Ali Alobaidli(QAT)
Tomasz Kaplan(POL) 9 – 4 Ricky Yang(IND)

Group 7
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 6 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Liu Ri Teng(TPE) 9 – 1 Nadim Okbani(ALG)

Group 8
Carlo Biado(PHL) 9 – 4 Hassan Shahada(JOR)
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 6 Abdullah Alyusef(KUW)

Group 9
Stephen Holem(CAN) 9 – 4 Khaled Alghamdi(KSR)
Casper Matikainen(FIN) 9 – 5 Phone Myint Kyaw(MYR)

Group 10
Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB) 9 – 5 Max Eberle(USA)
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 4 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)

Group 11
Karol Slowerski(POL) 9 – 4 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
Eklent Kaci(ALB)  9 – 3 Ahmad Aldelaimi(KUW)

Group 12
Marc Bijsterbosch(NED) 9 – 5  Niels Feijen(NED)
Daminanos Giallourakis(GRE)  9 – 3 Abdullah Alshammari(KSR)

Group 13
Masato Yoshioka(JPN) 9 – 4 Clark Sullivan(NZE)
Xue Zhenqi(CHN) 9 – 7 Luis Lemus(GTM)

Group 14
Darren Appleton(ENG) 9 – 6 Richard Halliday(RSA)
Jakub Koniar(SLV) 9 – 3 Fayaz Hussain(MAL)

Group 15
Jang Moonseok(KOR) 9 – 2 Robbie Capito(HKG)
Corey Duel(USA) 9 – 8 Wang Can(CHN)

Group 16
Xu Xiaocong(CHN) 9 – 0 Mohamed El Raousti(ALG)
Lin Wu Kun(TPE) 9 – 3 Riccardo Sini(ITA)

32 Players Book Their Spots In The KO Rounds In A Roller Coaster First Day In Doha

Ko Ping-Chung

If the first day’s play of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship is any indication–and by all measures it certainly is just that–then fans around the world better be prepared for a wild roller coaster ride over the next three days.  Drama, upsets, nerves, revelations, suprises, excitement and downright brilliant 9-ball at the highest levels were all on display as play commenced in the 28th running of pool’s premier crown. And with a loaded field just getting warmed up, it’s only going to get better leading to the final on Tuesday.
 
With 64 matches played on 16 tables at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Day 1 saw 32 players book their spots in the final 64 knockout stage which begins Sunday.  None of the 96 players have yet to see the exits, but there were plenty of upsets, near upsets, and upstarts making their mark on pool’s biggest stage.
 
The top 32 seeds were given a bye in the first round of their groups, so these players only had to win one match to reach the single elimination knockout rounds.  Defending champion Joshua Filler of Germany did just that, but not before a shaky start which saw him tied at 4-4 in the race to 9 alternate break match against Qatari veteran Bashar Hussain. The World number one was never in trouble, though, and cruised to a 9-5 win.
 
2017 champion and runner up last year Carlo Biado of the Philippines didn’t fair as well as he got dumped over to the one loss side of his group with a shocking 9-3 loss to Chile’s Enrique Rojas. It was Rojas’ second straight victory of the day, the first coming over Kuwait’s Abdullah Alyusef. Rojas now books his well deserved spot in the Final 64 tomorrow.
 
The USA’s Shane Van Boening is one of the favorites here this week, but he looked a bit cold early on in his match with young talented Chinese player Xu Xiaocong. Xu is part of a large crop coming from China’s youth movement and he had the American down three quarters of the way through their match.  But SVB pulled it together at the last minute and squeaked by the Chinese, 9-8. Xu will get one more chance on Sunday.
 
Fellow American and Mosconi teammate Billy Thorpe also booked his spot in the final 64 with a 9-5 win over Canada’s Stephen Holem.
 
It was a solid day for team Taiwan. World 10-ball Champion Ko Ping Chung went up against Myamar’s rising star Phone Myint Kyaw, who also goes by the moniker, Muang Muang. Kyaw is a player that pool fans will want to pay attention to. He’s a former snooker player who has been winning regularly on the brutally tough Chinese 8-ball circuit, and he just grabbed two gold medals in the Southeast Asian games in Manila.  His stroke is one of the most solid in the game and anyone who watches him play instantly can see the potential in this young man.
 
But of course, Ko is a young prodigy who has already proven his metal in American pool with his recent win at the World 10-ball in July in Vegas.  Little Ko didn’t have much trouble with Muang Muang, winning handily, 9-4.
 
Little Ko will join his older brother Pin Yi in the final 64, who defeated the always stingy Jalal Al Sarisi of Venezuela, 9-4.  Other Taiwanese cruising into the final 64 include Chang Jung Lin, Chang Yu Lung, and Kevin Cheng.
 
The Philippines is surprisingly unrepresented in Doha this year with only four players in the field. With Biado losing early it was up to Johann Chua and Jeffrey Ingacio to save the day for the Pinoys. Both looked the goods and nabbed spots in the final 64.
 
It was a mixed bag for the European Mosconio Cup team. Greece’s Alexander Kazakis is one of Europe’s top bets here this week and he qualified for the knockout round with an easy 9-5 win over Qatar’s Waleed Majid.  But Albania’s Eklent Kaci and former World 9-ball Champion Niels Feijen of the Netherlands weren’t so fortunate. Kaci lost big to the Netherlands’ Ivar Saris, who had earlier looked solid in a 9-6 win over Poland’s Karol Skowerski. Feijen went down to upstart Hong Konger Yip Kin Ling, 9-7, who took his spot in the Final 64 with his second  win of the day.
 
The surprises kept coming throughout the day. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis first squeaked by Peru’s Gerson Martinez, 9-8. Then he took on former World 9-ball Champion Wu Jiaqing, and shocked the Chinese great with a 9-7 upset, and a spot in the knockout rounds.
 
Also booking a spot in the final 64 was Canada’s John Morra, who continued his return to fine form with a 9-8 win over Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki. Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp showed that he’s clearly a dark horse to watch here in Doha with a 9-4 drubbing of China’s talented Dang Jinhu.  England’s Chris Melling came back from 6-2 down to defeat Vietnam’s Do The Kien, 9-7. Also advancing today were Japan’s Naoyuki Oi, Austria’s Max Lechner, China’s Lui Haitao, Estonia’s Dennis Grabe, Finland’s Petri Makkonen, Germany’s Ralf Souquet,  and Spaniards David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez Ruiz.
 
Play on day 2 on Sunday, Dec. 14th will begin at 10am Doha time(GMT +3). The field will be whittled down to 64 players playing single elimination knockout race to 11.  The round of 64 will be completed in the first two session, and by the end of the day, the field will be down to the final 32. 
 
The winner of the 2019 World 9-ball Championship will receive $30,000. The total prize fund is $150,00.
 
*The 2019 WPA World 9-ball Championship takes place at the Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation in Doha, Qatar from December 10-17, 2019. The event is hosted by The Qatar Billiard and Snooker Federation(QBSF), and is sanctioned by the World Pool Billiard Association, the governing body of the sport of pool.
 
Fans around the world will be able to view live scoring, results, brackets and live streaming of many of the matches via the QBSF’s free live streaming platform at esnooker.pl.  Multiple tables will be available to view online at no charge to the public.
 
 
Results
 
Group 1
Bashar Hussain(QAT) 9 – 6 Hasan Hwaidi(IRQ)  
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 7 Jerico Bonus(PHL)
 
Group 2
Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS)  9 – 5 Mohammad Soufi(SYR)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 6  Kong Bu Hong(CHN)
 
Group 3
Pijus Labutis(LTH) 9 – 8 Gerson Martinez (PER)
Dang Jinhu(CHN) 9 – 7 Saki Kanatlar(TKY)
 
Group 4
Kong Dejing(CHN) 9 – 6 Matt Edwards(NZL)  
Jalal Al Sarsi(VEN)  9 – 7 Marc Vidal(SPN)
 
Group 5
Waleed Majid(QAT) 9 – 5 Mohammad Al Amin(BAN)
Oliver Szolnoki(HUN) 9 – 3 Woo Seung Ryu(KOR)
 
Group 6
Tomasz Kaplan(POL)  9 – 5 Ali Alobadili(QAT)
Do The Kien(VET) 9 – 3 Ricky Yang(IND) 
 
Group 7
Liu Ri Teng(TPE)  9 – 5 Abdulatif Alfawal(QAT)
Radoslaw Babica(POL) 9 – 1 Nadim Okbani(ALG)
 
Group 8
Lin Ta Li(TPE) 9 – 1 Hassan Shhada(JOR)
Enrique Rojas(CHL) 9 – 7 Abdullah Alyusef(KUW)
 
Group 9
Phone Myint Kyaw(MYR) 9 – 3  Khaled Alghamdi(KSR)
Stephen Holem(CAN) 9 – 6 Casper Matikainen(FIN) 
 
Group 10
Yukio Akagariyama(JPN) 9 – 7 Mohammad Berjaoui(LEB)
Max Eberle(USA) 9 – 7 Ali Maghsoud(IRA)
 
Group 11
Ivar Saris(NET) 9 – 6 Karol Skowerski(POL) 
Hunter Lombardo(USA) 9 – 1 Ahmad Aldelaimi(KUW)
 
Group 12
Damianos Giallourakis(GRE) 9 – 7 Marck Bijsterbosch(NED)  
Yip Kin Ling(HKG) 9 – 8 Abdulla Alshemari(KSR)
 
Group 13
Xue Zhenqi(CHN) 9 – 5 Clark Sullivan(NZE)
Masato Yoshioka(JPN) Luis Lemus(GUY)
 
Group 14
Jakub Koniar(SLV) 9 – 8 Darren Appleton(ENG) 
Richard Halliday(RSA) 9 – 4 Fayaz Ussain(MAL)
 
Group 15
Konrad Juszcayszyn(POL) 9 – 7 Robbie Capito(HKG) 
Jang Moonseok(KOR) 9 – 6 Wang Can(CHN)
 
Group 16
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 0 Mohamed El Raousti(ALG)
Xu Xiaocong(CHN) 9- 2  Riccardo Sini(ITL)
 
 
Winners Side Matches Day 1.
Winner is through to the Final 64, Loser goes to one loss side of their group for one more chance
 
 
 
Group 1
Joshua Filler(GER) 9 – 5 Bashar Hussain(QAT)
John Morra(CAN) 9 – 8 Mateusz Sniegocki(POL)
 
Group 2
Denis Grabe(EST) 9 – 7 Ruslan Chinakhov(RUS)
Mieszko Fortunski(POL) 9 – 4 Fedor Gorst(RUS)
 
Group 3
Pijus Labutis(LTH) 9 – 7 Wu Jiaqing(CHN)  
Aloysius Yapp(SIN) 9 – 4 Dang Jinhu(CHN)
 
Group 4
Kong Dejing(CHN) 9 – 6 Thorsten Hohmann(GER)
Pin Yi Ko(TPE) 9 – 5 Jalal Al Sarisi(VEN)
 
Group 5
Alexander Kazakis(GRE) 9 – 5 Waleed Majid(QAT)
Oliver Szolnoki(HUN) 9 – 3 Wojciech Szewczyk(POL)
 
Group 6
Chang Yu Lung(TPE) 9 – 6 Tomasz Kaplan(POL)
Chris Melling(ENG) 9 – 7 Do The Kien(VET)
 
Group 7
Johann Chua(PHL) 9 – 3 Liu Ri Teng(TPE)
Max Lechner(AUT) 9 – 6 Radoslaw Babica(POL)
 
Group 8
Liu Haitao(CHN) 9 – 3 Lin Ta Li(TPE)
Enrique Rojas(CHL) 9 – 3 Carlo Biado(PHL)
 
Group 9
Chung Ko Ping(TPE) 9 – 4 Phone Myint Kyaw(MYR)
Billy Thorpe(USA) 9 – 5 Stephen Holem(CAN)
 
Group 10
Yu Hsuan Cheng(TPE) 9 – 8 Yukio Akagariyama(JPN)
Alex Pagulayan(CAN) 9 – 3 Max Eberle(USA)
 
Group 11
Ivar Saris(NED) 9 – 4 Eklent Kaci(ALB)
Naoyuki Oi(JPN) 9 – 1 Hunter Lombardo(USA)
 
Group 12
Jeffrey Ignacio(PHL) 9 – 7 Damianos Giallourakis(GRE)
Yip Kin Ling(HKG) 9 – 7 Niels Feijen(NED)
 
Group 13
Ralf Souquet(GER) 9 – 8 Xue Zhenqi(CHN)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz(ESP) 9 – 8 Masato Yoshioka(JPN)
 
Group 14
David Alcaide(ESP) 9 – 7 Jakub Koniar(SLV)
Jung Lin Chang(TPE) 9 – 4 Richard Halliday(RSA)
 
Group 15
Konrad Juszcayszyn(POL) 9 – 8 Corey Deuel(USA)
Albin Ouschan(AUT) 9 – 4 Jan Moonseok(KOR)
 
Group 16
Petri Makkonen(FIN) 9 – 5 Lin Wu Kun(TPE)
Shane Van Boening(USA) 9 – 8 Xu Xiaocong(CHN)

Bergman Completes Team USA

Justin Bergman (JP Parmentier – Matchroom Multisport)

Justin Bergman has been named as the fifth player to join Team USA as they defend the partypoker Mosconi Cup at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, this November 25-28, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.
 
Bergman put in a stellar performance at last week’s International 9-Ball Open, beating big name players on his way to a fourth-place finish; the best placed American player in the field.
 
The 32-year-old made his partypoker Mosconi Cup debut in 2014 and will be making his fourth appearance at the annual USA vs Europe showdown later this month. He joins Shane Van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Tyler Styer and Billy Thorpe on the team.
 
Explaining the decision to select Bergman, coach Johan Ruijsink said: “When I started with my campaign to win the Mosconi Cup with Team USA in 2017 I knew it would be hard to accomplish that win. I told the players and Jeremy that there were a lot of worst-case scenarios and just a couple of best-case scenarios.
 
“Last year we found a best-case scenario – which was absolutely amazing – but I also realised that it was not achieved solely on our own merit. We took advantage of some of the bad shots of Team EUROPE and in order to repeat the win I thought we would have to show more dominance in some of our matches.
 
“So we started this selection process with Team USA, under the guidance of Jeremy, in order to see if we could find a challenger for the 2018 winning team. Supported by the BCA, Predator and CSI we started that process, which saw Max Eberle as a surprise winner over Justin Bergman, Chris Robinson and Mahkeal Parris.
  
“We announced four players after the international trip (mainly in Russia) and the last spot would be decided after the International Open.
 
“During the international Open two things occurred; one, The Europeans showed that they are in great shape, conquering the first three places, and two, only one American was able to rise to the occasion, which was a player from the original challenger group: Justin Bergman. Beating John Schmidt, Hunter Lombardo, Liu Re Teng, Albin Ouschan, Alex Pagulayan, Thorsten Hohmann, Shane van Boening and Ko Pin Cheung and coming in 4th, was a run that was hard to ignore. Not only the place he finished, but also the list of absolutely world-class players made us decide that he would be a real added value to this year’s team.
 
“It is incredibly hard to make a decision like this. On paper it might look like the obvious choice, but I had to eliminate two great players, who fought hard and travelled the world in order to make the team. I know it hurts and doesn’t do just to Corey Deuel and Max Eberle. I am very grateful for their efforts and their input. But in the end I am not in the business of keeping everybody happy, It is my task to create the best possible team in order to have a chance to repeat our win, which will be hard enough in any case.
 
“So we picked Justin Bergman and welcome him to the team.
 
“‘One of the best players after the break’ is a remark I have heard a lot. So we will work on that break in this last stage. He already played in a couple of Mosconi Cups and has shown he can handle the pressure that comes along with the event. He is very motivated and with his humble attitude he will fit perfectly in this year’s team. In the last year we had a couple of conversations, in which he was very open and respectful to me. That showed me he trusts me to work together. Also, the other players on the team are happy with him being on the team, so I am confident we can build up towards a great performance at the Mosconi Cup.
 
“His talent and the quality of his game is undoubtedly up there with the best, he just didn’t always give himself the opportunity to shine. I believe this year he wants that to change. He wants to shine and he is very motivated to support the team and help us to do create another "best case scenario". I have high hopes that this year and this experience will bring out the best of him for now and for the future. He deserves that, America deserves that.
 
“We are counting on huge support for him and team USA, we need the crowd to go wild and silence the European fans.
 
“We can’t wait to get started. Let’s bring it on! Go USA!”
 
The 2019 partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas this November 25-28, live on Sky Sports and DAZN. Tickets are available now at www.mosconicup.com. Prices start at $48 per day with silver season tickets at $161. Additional gold seating has now been released with day tickets at $70 and a season ticket available for $239.
 
VIP Platinum packages are available priced $225 per day or $950 for all four days and include a breakfast buffet, unlimited drinks, VIP seating in the front three rows and much more.
 
The 2019 partypoker Mosconi Cup is partnered by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and Saluc is the Official Ball Provider. Predator is the Official Cue of the event, Kamui the Official Chalk and Tip and Ultimate Team Gear provide all partypoker Mosconi Cup apparel.

Hohmann chalks up final, double hill thriller to capture 7th Steinway Classic

Tony Robles, Thorsten Hohmann, Manny Stamatakis and tournament director John Leyman (Erwin Dionisio)

They were an odd couple, left standing on Thursday evening, October 17. Not . . . strange, or all that unexpected, or even odd enough to be characterized as a surprise, just . . . odd. In the 45-entrant field at the $7,000-added, 10-Ball 7th Steinway Classic, hosted, of course, by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY from October 15-17, Thorsten Hohmann and Fedor Gorst were unlikely to have been the two players deemed most likely to appear in the event final. In fact, the euphemistic spectator choices for the two most likely candidates were, as one might have expected, Shane Van Boening and Dennis Orcollo.
 
There were three members of the USA Mosconi Cup Team that were competing (Van Boening, Billy Thorpe and Tyler Styer), and two members of Team EUROPE – Jayson Shaw and Alex Kazakis. There was also, among others, Mike Dechaine, Lee Van Corteza, James Aranas, Jeremy Sossei, Tony Robles, Ruslan Chinakhov, Chris Melling and a boatload of serious local talent, like Frankie Hernandez, Joey Korsiak, Michael Yednak, Hunter Lombardo and Raphael Dabreo, to name just a few. Any one of them capable of winning the event on the proverbial “any given Sunday,” but this was mid-week, Tuesday through Thursday, and Hohmann went undefeated through the field, downing Gorst twice to claim the title.
 
Hohmann didn’t back into the title with a series of easy draws and just luck out. He faced the ‘meat’ of that entrant list and in spite of being occasionally off-stride in the early going of several matches, hung in to win it all, including a breathtaking comeback in an “all you could ask for” final match.
 
Hohmann did have something of an easy time in his opening match against local talent Elvis Rodriguez, but a shutout over him led to a nail-biting, double hill match against “Fireball” Mike Dechaine, which Hohmann won and followed with a 9-6 win over Venezuela’s Jalal Yousef. He then downed Greece’s Alex Kazakis 9-3 to draw Dennis Orcollo in a winners’ side semifinal; Orcollo having just sent Van Boening to the loss side 9-6.
 
Gorst’s path went through Chris Melling 9-3, local talents Michael Badstseubner and Zion Zvi, both 9-4, before arriving at a winners’ side quarterfinal match against Polish 18-year-old Wiktor Zielinski, the youngest player to ever win a Euro Tour event (the 2017 Treviso Open). Zielinski battled him to double hill before giving way and allowing Gorst to advance to his winners’ side semifinal match against Jeremy Sossei.
 
Hohmann and Orcollo locked up into a somewhat predictable double hill match that eventually sent Hohmann to the hot seat match. He was joined by Gorst, who’d sent Sossei to the loss side 9-6. Gorst took the opening rack of the hot seat match, but he and Hohmann battled back and forth to a 5-5 tie, before Hohmann broke out to win the next four and claim the hot seat. He waited in it to see how the youngster fared against Van Boening in the semifinals.
 
After his defeat at the hands of Orcollo in the winners’ side quarterfinal, Van Boening moved over and ran right into Mike Dechaine, who was working on a four-match, loss-side winning streak that was about to end and had included, most recently, a 9-3 win that took James Aranas out of the picture. Van Boening ended Dechaine’s streak 9-7 and then, in a double hill fight, ended Alex Kazakis’ brief loss-side run to draw Sossei. Orcollo drew the youngster, Zielinski, who, following his defeat at the hands of Gorst had picked up loss-side wins over Hsu Jui-An 9-4 and much (one would assume) to the surprise of Jayson Shaw, defeated him double hill to face Orcollo.
 
Van Boening and Sossei fought to double hill before Van Boening prevailed and advanced to the quarterfinals. Orcollo earned the rematch by prevailing 9-5 over the youngster Zielinski, whose performance and finish in this event is bound to increase his spectator popularity in events ahead.  Van Boening was picking up speed as he approached the finish line and eliminated Orcollo 9-3 in the quarterfinals.
 
It was clear from the outset that the much-younger Gorst was going to give Van Boening all he could handle in the semifinals that followed. It was something of a cautionary tale for Van Boening, as he prepares for the Mosconi Cup next month, as he went down to defeat against Gorst 9-7.
 
As had been happening, more or less throughout the tournament, Hohmann got off to a bit of a bad start in the finals; a five-rack bad start at the end of which he had failed to chalk up so much as one. But then, as though someone had flipped a switch, Hohmann settled in to win the next five racks. Gorst slipped a rack in to make it 6-5, before Hohmann came back to win two and take his first lead at 7-6.
 
Hohmann missed a chance to go ahead by two, rattling a 9-ball in a corner pocket and allowing Gorst to tie things up at 7-7. They traded racks to an 8-8 tie before Gorst chalked up rack 17. It was a critical juncture in the match, as Gorst got out in front by a first, second and then, a third, and a fourth rack to put himself on the hill at 12-8 for extending the race to 15 games.
 
Hohmann came back with some extraordinary shooting in the 21st rack to chalk up his 9th (12-9); the crowd reaction (including comments from the booth in the live stream broadcast) was muted, as though they were encouraging someone who’s doing their best in a losing battle. Gorst moved on and over the course of the next two racks, made two critical unforced errors, which Hohmann took full advantage of to pull within one at 12-11.
 
And suddenly, it was 12-12, and calm as you please, Hohmann chalked up the win in the final rack and claimed the 7th Steinway Classic title.
 
Silent Assassin Production’s Tony Robles (who competed, was sent to the loss side by Roland Garcia and eliminated by Tyler Styer) thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards staff for their hospitality, as well as the event’s official director, John Leyman. He extended thanks, as well, to the usual members of his own staff, including his own “lovely wife, Gail,” and Irene Kim. He also acknowledged the work of UpstateAL and his broadcast crew for their streaming coverage of the event throughout the three days, the photograph work of Ernest Dionisio and thanked title sponsor Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, The DeVito Team, Poolonthenet.com, Capelle (BilliardsPress.com), AZBilliards, Pool & Billiard Magazine and Billiards Digest.
 
The next event, to be held under the auspices of Robles’ Silent Assassin Productions, scheduled to begin today (Saturday, Oct. 19) and continue through tomorrow will be the 6th Annual NYC 8-Ball Championships, sponsored by Dr. Michael Fedak and hosted by Steinway Billiards. The Predator Pro Am Tour will return to Steinway the following weekend (Oct. 26-27).

Allison Fisher Leads North American China Open Contingent

Allison Fisher (Erwin Dionisio)

The 2019 World 9-Ball China Open kicks off on September 1st in Shanghai China, and North America is sending a strong contingent of players to compete this time around. 
 
On the ladies side, “The Duchess of Doom” Allison Fisher will be playing in her first international event as a representative of the USA. She will be joined by “Virginia Slim”, Gail Eaton. Eaton is a many time regional tour winner and ranked as one of the top 40 American women on the Fargo rankings list. While no stranger to the international events, this is Fisher’s first time playing under the American flag. She qualifies as an America due to her dual citizenship between England and the USA. “I’m excited to be representing the US. I have lived here nearly half of my life and my own family is here. It makes sense.” Fisher said. 
 
On the men’s side, three of the Team USA Mosconi Cup hopefuls will be trying to prove their might on the International stage. Billy Thorpe, Corey Deuel and Tyler Styer will be joined by Shane Van Boening, Oscar Dominguez and Hunter Lombardo representing the USA, while 2019 BCA Hall of Fame inductee Alex Pagulayan will represent Canada. 
 
All of these players are automatically qualified for stage two of the event, kicking off on September 5th. With a total prize fund of almost $375,000, the event will pay $40,000 to the top male player and $36,000 to the top female. 

Turning Stone Classic XXXII – – Hunter Lombardo vs Greg Antonakos

Predator World 10-ball Championship Delivers Full House and Compelling Matches on First Day

Billy Thorpe – JP Parmentier

At many professional pocket billiards tournaments, the opening rounds sometimes have a bit of a perfunctory feel to them.
 
As the pros jockey early to either stay in stroke or get in stroke to avoid an early trip over to the one-loss side of the bracket, crowds are many times sparse until an event reaches the later stages.
 
This wasn’t the case when fellow Americans Billy Thorpe and Shane Van Boening squared off in the opening round of the Predator World 10-ball Championship Monday night. With the event being played right in the heart of the Billiard Congress of America Pool League championships, amateur players and fans began filling the arena more than an hour the match was scheduled to begin.
 
“I like a crowd myself,” said Thorpe. “It sparks a bit of a fire in me.”
 
The two competitors didn’t disappoint, combining for eight breaks and runs as Thorpe defeated his friend and roommate for the week, 8-4, at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The match was one of many tightly-contested pairings during the first act of this five-day, $100,000 added competition – with eight of the 32 first round matchups needing a deciding 15th game.
 
With two of the most decorated players in the United States squaring off, the matchup felt more like a quarterfinal or a semifinal match rather the beginning of the tournament. Van Boening and Thorpe split the first six games of the set, with each using two breaks-and-runs each along with effective safety play to maintain serve. The young man from Ohio edged ahead 4-3 when Van Boening left a 1-ball in the corner pocket’s jaws, then increased his lead to two games when he used a jump shot to run out in the eighth rack. The two competitors again traded breaks and runs for the next three games, with Thorpe maintaining a 6-5 lead.
 
“We broke well. I thought it might be different with the referees racking the balls with the template,” Thorpe said. “For a while I thought that it was going to be break and run the whole match.”
 
And it essentially was until the 12th game when Thorpe missed a 3-ball in the corner pocket.
 
“I really thought that I hit it good but the ball hopped on me,” Thorpe said.
 
Although Thorpe had left the window open for his friend, establishing position on the 4-ball would be a challenge thanks to two object balls providing cover. Van Boening pocketed the 3-ball then failed to land the 4-ball. Using a clutch jump shot, Thorpe pocketed the ball, cleared the table then added in one final break-and-run to clinch the victory.
 
Thorpe now heads to the second round where he will face Canadian John Morra Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. local time. Van Boening moves to the one-loss side where he will face Hunter Lombardo Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
 
Also advancing to the winner’s side second round is current World Pool and Billiards Association 9-ball champion Joshua Filler of Germany, who survived a scare from Fan Yang, 8-5.
 
Playing in one of the opening matches of the tournament, Filler opened competition with a break-and-run then failed to capitalize on a Yang dry break the following game. Yang took the lead in the race-to-eight set after Filler fouled on the break. The young German used a break-and-run and a missed 2-ball to take a 3-2 lead but gave his opponent an opportunity when he missed an 8-ball in the following game. The two split the next four games before Filler used two breaks-and-runs and a Yang foul to pull away and close out the match.
 
With the competition now equally divided into 32 winners and losers, Tuesday’s schedule begins at noon local time with eight matches on the winner’s side of the bracket – including Chris Melling meeting Toru Kuribayashi on the live broadcast table. A second round of winner’s side matches will begin at 2:30 p.m. in a matchup of BCA Hall of Famers as Earl Strickland takes on Ralf Souquet. Other matches of note in this timeslot include Alex Kazakis meeting Skylar Woodward and Pin-Yi Ko matching up with Alex Pagulayan. The evening session broadcast schedule includes Fan Yang matching up against Raymund Faraon at 5 p.m. and Fedor Gorst going up against Matt Edwards at 7:30 p.m.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is a presentation of CueSports International and sponsored by Predator Group, one of the world’s premier cue makers and billiards accessory manufacturers. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. The event is also sponsored by Diamond Billiards Products, Omega Billiards and Kamui Brand. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

“It’s Happening!” Predator World 10-ball Championship Kicks Off Today With Full Slate of Competition

In 2014, as Predator Group was celebrating its 20th anniversary as a cue maker and billiards innovator, company president Karim Belhaj was already looking ahead to the manufacturer’s silver anniversary in five years.
 
He wanted to do something bold. Afterall, the company’s motto is “innovate and inspire.” While Belhaj searched for methods to celebrate the milestone and to promote the game of professional pool, efforts to maintain a world 10-ball championship were stuck in the mud. The World Pool and Billiards Association’s world championship had not been staged since 2015 when Ko Pin-Yi defeated Carlo Biado in the Philippines and tentative plans for a tournament in Manilla last year fell through at the last minute.
 
That’s when the light bulb went off for Belhaj – why not grab the reigns and produce their own world major. He reached to Ozzy Reynolds, president of Cue Sports International, and asked what was needed to put on world event while also discussing his ideas for professional pool. The two of them began working on a plan to develop not just an event, but eventually a tour.
 
“I shared with him my vision and Ozzy shared with me his vision for building a bridge between the amateur players, league players and pro events,” Belhaj said. “We found a synergy between CSI and Predator that was just natural.”
 
A partnership was reached and the Predator World 10-ball Championship was announced last December.
 
After five years of dreaming and the last eight months of planning, the event begins this afternoon at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The $100,000 added tournament features 64 players from 24 countries in what could be considered one of the strongest fields of any event in recent years. This five-day competition is part of a three-year agreement between Predator and CSI and will be taking place right along side of amateurs competing at the Billiard Congress of America Pool League Championships. Admission is free and the event will be streamed live for no charge on YouTube.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship will be the first world championship held in the United States since 1997 when Johnny Archer won the WPA 9-ball championship in Chicago.  
 
The roster of players is smorgasbord of youth, experience and championships. Of the players set to compete this week, 11 of them either currently hold or previously held a WPA title –  including Ko, Biado, reigning World 9-ball champion Joshua Filler, former 8-ball and 9-ball champion Ralf Souquet, 2014 World 9-ball champion Niels Feijen, three-time World 9-ball champion Earl Strickland and the winner of the inaugural World 10-ball event in 2008, Darren Appleton.
 
Additionally, four of the entrants have already punched their ticket to the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame – Darren Appleton, Strickland, Ralf Souquet and Alex Pagulayan, who will be inducted into the Hall this fall.
 
Nine of the players competing this week hail from the United States – including Shave Van Boening, one of the most decorated 10-ball players in the world. The South Dakotan has won the last three United States Open 10-ball Championships and earned top honors in the 10-ball division of the Derby City Classic in 2014 and 2015. Joining Van Boening are fellow Americans Corey Deuel, Oscar Dominguez, Hunter Lombardo, Danny Olson, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Earl Strickland, Tyler Styer, Billy Thorpe, and reigning Derby City Classic Master of the Table Skylar Woodward
 
The world championship will be held in two stages. The first stage will involve all players competing in race to 8 matches within a double-elimination format until only 16 competitors remaining. Those remaining players will then compete in a single-elimination format during the second half of the event, with the races now increased to 10 games. Additionally, there will be a re-drawing of the brackets during the final phase – with competitors from the winner’s side of the bracket taking on players from the one-loss side.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is a presentation of Cue Sports International and sponsored by Predator Group, one of the world’s premier cue makers and billiards accessory manufacturers. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championships are sponsored by: Predator Cues, Diamond billiard tables and Kamui cue tips.

Kazakis goes undefeated to claim Open/Pro side of 9th Annual Ginky Memorial

Jayson Shaw, Alex Kazakis, James Aranas and Hunter Lombardo

In the absence of defending champion, Klenti Kaci and runner-up Lee Van Corteza (or third-place finisher, Mike Dechaine), Jayson Shaw and Alex Kazakis were the early, euphemistic ‘fan favorites’ going into the 9th Annual George “Ginky” Sansouci Memorial Tournament, held over this past Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27). There was a bit of a collective groan when Shaw stumbled in the third round, falling to Del Sim, double hill, to begin a loss-side trip, but the Scotsman validated fan interest in his abilities when he won seven on the loss side to meet Kazakis in the finals. Kazakis, though, coming off his best earnings year to date (2018), completed an undefeated run by downing Shaw in the finals to claim the 9th Open/Pro 10-Ball Ginky Memorial title. The $2,000-added event, held under the combined auspices of the Predator Pro Am, Tri-State and Mezz Tours, drew 36 entrants to Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY.
 
The weekend also included a $2,000-added Amateur event, which, like the Open/Pro event drew a record field of 169 entrants, divided initially into upper and lower handicapped brackets. Jason Sheerman won seven on the loss side to meet and defeat the man who’d sent him there, Jimmy Acosta, in the finals. Further details on the Ginky Memorial’s Amateur tournament, which once again, crowned a unique champion, will be featured in a separate report.
 
As it turned out, Del Sim’s triumph over the event’s presumed ‘favorite’ was short-lived and ended with a 9-4 loss to Kazakis in one of the winners’ side quarterfinals. What was left at that point was a list of three usual suspects, with one unusual suspect to compete in the winners’ side semifinals. Kazakis advanced to face Jeremy Sossei, who’d just survived a double hill fight versus Raphael Dabreo. The other usual suspect, Zoren James Aranas, advanced to meet the somewhat unusual suspect, 19-year-old Russian phenom, Kristina Tkach, who was the event’s only female competitor.
 
Kazakis sent Sossei to the loss side 9-7, while Aranas sent Tkach west 9-3. Early on, in the battle for the hot seat, it looked as though the second ‘fan favorite’ – Kazakis – was going to join Shaw on the loss side. Aranas jumped out to a 4-0 lead, before Kazakis woke up and chalked up four of his own to tie it and then, take the lead at 5-4. Aranas responded with three racks to tie and retake the lead at 7-5. They proved to be the last three racks he would win in the match. Kazakis followed his five-in-a-row with four-in-a-row to reach the hill first and then, claim the hot seat.
 
Over on the loss side, Kristina Tkach drew an immediate rematch against the man she’d defeated in the third round of play, Hunter Lombardo. Lombardo had defeated Jimmy Rivera 9-5, Raphael Dabreo 9-1 and moving into the first money round, just did survive a double hill fight against the  Ginky Memorial’s 2016 champion Zion Zvi. Zvi had previously spoiled any hopes Shaw might have been entertaining about a rematch versus Del Sim by defeating Sim 9-6. Sossei had the misfortune of picking up Shaw, four matches into his loss-side winning streak, having given up only eight racks over the past 35 games; two to Mhet Vergara, three to Alan Rolon and three to Dmitris Loukatos.
 
Lombardo successfully navigated his way through his rematch against Tkach, which was tight through about the halfway point of the match. He pulled out in front and advanced to the quarterfinals 9-5. Shaw joined him after eliminating Sossei by the same 9-5 score.
 
Shaw took an early 3-0 lead in the quarterfinals, after which, briefly, it looked as though Lombardo was going to give him a run for his money, literally. Lombardo won two to draw within one at 3-2. Shaw, though, roared right back to win another three in a row to go out in front by four at 6-2. Lombardo fought back a second time with another two, but they’d prove to be the last two. Shaw added his third run of three to win it 9-4.
 
Now, as one might imagine, things started to tighten up. Though externally calm and composed, it was clear from the semifinal get-go that both Shaw and Aranas wanted a shot at Kazakis in the hot seat. From all appearances, this might just have been a match between two buddies with nothing at stake but a good time playing pool; there was no grim determination, or frustration over the occasional (actually, rare) bad rolls. Even the mistakes, and there were a few, were met with an easy sense of humor as these two battled to see who’d be relegated to a third-place finish. It was rare to see either of them actually finish a rack. Each of them conceding up to three balls at the end of racks to move on.
 
Shaw took the opener and Aranas came back to tie it. Shaw won two and then, they traded racks back and forth to 5-3. Aranas missed the 8-ball in the 9th rack and conceded the final three balls to give Shaw a 6-3 lead. Aranas came right back with three in a row to tie things at 6-6 and then sunk four on the break, ran the other six balls and took his first lead at 7-6. It would be his last. Shaw won three straight to end the Filipino’s weekend 9-7.
 
The match everybody had been waiting for, was on.
 
It was a modified race to 11. If Shaw reached 11 first, they’d extend the match to 13. At the 8-7 mark, with Kazakis out in front, that probability remained. But getting there was more than half of the fun of this match, which was preceded by a few trick shot demonstrations by the two of them. Accompanied by microphone commentary that introduced the finalists, they placed two object balls on a diagonal from each other, and stroked the two balls simultaneously. The balls collided at the center of the table, each of them bouncing off the other and landing in a pocket. One time, one of the balls failed to drop into its designated pocket, but bounced off of an extra rail to land in a side pocket.
 
Demonstrations over, they lined up for the lag, won by Kazakis, who opened the proceedings with a win. Shaw responded with a win of his own to mark the first of four ties. Kazakis got out in front by two at 3-1, but Shaw came back to win two to tie it at 3-3. At 5-5, the tide turned in Kazakis’ favor. He won three in a row to give himself an 8-5 lead that he’d never relinquish (Shaw conceded the last three balls in the rack that gave Kazakis this biggest lead of the match).
 
Shaw closed the gap with two in a row to pull within one at 8-7, but in the following rack, Kazakis made a match-defining shot – an oblique angle, long table bank shot on the 8-ball – that led Shaw to concede the game’s last two balls. Kazakis won the next rack to reach the hill first and though Shaw won the 18th rack, Kazakis took the 19th to claim the event title.
 
Event director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his entire Steinway Billiards staff, who worked tirelessly, professionally and with remarkable grace throughout a long weekend with over 200 pool players and a contingent of venue regulars who spent time playing chess and backgammon at nearby tables. Robles also acknowledged his regular tour sponsors, including Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, PlayNAPL.com, Capelle (Billiards Press.com), PoolontheNet.com, The DeVito Team, as well as the cooperation of the other sponsoring tours (Tri-State and Mezz Tours) and the tireless, non-stop live stream operated by Upstate Al and his broadcast team.
 
Robles also made note to all in attendance of the defining fact that this annual event is held each year in memory of George “Ginky” Sansouci, who passed away in 2011, and whose legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of innumerable players in the New York area and wherever “Ginky” played. The event was attended by members of the Sansouci family, who were accorded ‘front row’ seating privileges for all of the live-streamed matches and remain deeply grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Ginky’s life with a living, breathing memorial to his influence on the game and the people who continue to play it. 

Draw Made For US Open 9-Ball Championship

The draw for the 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship has been made, with Jayson Shaw to begin his defense against Marcus Weston at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas on Sunday, April 21.
 
The draw was seeded with a golf-style category system adopted, which took in rankings from across the pool world including WPA World Ranking, BCA Standings and Fargo Rating. As defending champion Shaw was seeded No.1, while five-time US Open champion Shane Van Boening is seeded second as the highest ranked American player.
 
Broadcast details for the 2019 US Open 9-Ball Championship will be announced shortly. Live rack-by-rack scoring will be available throughout the event at www.matchroompool.com thanks to Matchroom Multi Sport’s partnership with CueScore.
 
The draw, brackets and match schedule can be viewed now at https://cuescore.com/tournament/US+Open+9-ball+Championship/5185877
 
Note: Should any players featured in the draw not participate in the event, they will be replaced directly by the first player on the event waiting list to accept a spot in the tournament, irrespective of where the new player would have featured in any seeding category.
 
All matches at the US Open 9-Ball Championship takes place April 21-26 at Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas. Matches are race to 11, winner breaks, except the final which is race to 13. The draw and match schedule for the first stage of the tournament is available now at www.matchroompool.com.
 
Tickets for the 43rd US Open 9-Ball Championship are still available at www.matchroompool.com from as little as $10 with VIP packages also available for the final three days of the tournament.
 
The tournament will be split into two stages with the full field playing double elimination down to the final 16 from Sunday April 21st until Tuesday April 23rd across multiple tables. From Wednesday April 24th until Friday April 26th the final 16 players will play straight knockout in the TV Arena in front of a global television audience.
 
US OPEN | ROUND ONE DRAW
 
Jayson Shaw vs. Marcus Westen
Tom Staveley vs.Jason Williams
Hunter Lombardo vs. Kosuke Tojo
Radwan Jameel R Sorouji vs. Tommy Tokoph
Naoyuki Oi vs. Marco Vignola
Alex Montpellier vs. Jason Klatt
Martin Daigle vs. Patrick Flemming
Angelo Salzano vs. Corey Deuel
Petri Makkonen vs. Marcel Price
Peter Busarac vs. Amar Kang
Franklin Hernandez vs. Ellis Brown
Paul Jaurez vs. Justin Bergman
James Aranas vs. Roderick Malone
Masato Yoshioka vs. Erik Hjorleifson
Stephen Folan vs. Jochen Kluge
Jon Demet vs. Toru Kurabayashi
Fedor Gorst vs. Gary Onomura
Stanley Walton vs. Paul Duell
Omar Al-Shaheen vs. David Dimmitt
Amer Al-Darbani vs. Mateusz Sniegoki
Dali Lin vs. Fabio Rizzi
Jason Hitzfeld vs. Jeremy Jones
Philipp Stojanovic vs. Steve Van Ness
Dalibor Nikolin vs. Francisco Sanchez Ruiz
(Kevin) Cheng Yu Hsuan vs. Christopher Lawson
Mohammed Ali N Al Eid vs. Ivo Aarts
Rodney Morris vs. Ken Kuwana
Deomark Alpajora vs. Radoslaw Babica
Marc Bijsterbosch vs. Ritchie Ogawa
Gary Urinoski vs. Danny Olson
Toan Nguyen vs. Bahram Lofty
Giuseppe Iacobucci vs. Ko Pin-Yi
Carlo Biado vs. Fahad Salem N Alharbi
Kenichi Uchigaki vs. Tyler Fleshman
Matt Edwards vs. Marco Penta
Hideaki Arita vs. Maksim Dudanets
Jeff De Luna vs. Torsten Schmitt
Chris Robinson vs. Rob Hart
Marco Teutscher vs. Raymund Faraon
Yip Kin Ling Leo vs. Dennis Orcollo
David Alcaide vs. Jorg Kellner
Blake Baker vs. Mitch Ellerman
Siming Chen vs. Mohamed Baabad
Jamal Oussi vs. Hoang Duong Quoc
Liu Haitao vs. Patrick Griess
Mike Stalk vs. John Schmidt
Justin Espinosa vs. Nguyen Phuc Long
Koh Yong Lee Randolph vs. Eklent Kaci
Ko Ping-Chung vs. Sami Koylu
Cole Gibbons vs. Brian Sanders
Brandon Shuff vs. Michael Yednak
Robert Hewings vs. Michael Dechaine
Konrad Juszczyszyn vs. John Chapman
Luis Guerrero vs. Hayato Hijikata
Kenny Loftis vs. Corey Harper
Michael Hutcheson vs. Thorsten Hohmann
Johnny Archer vs. Kurt Kobayashi
Konrad Piekarski vs. Roberto Gomez
Jani Siekkinen vs. Damian Pongpanik
Bora Anar vs. Alex Pagulayan
Sangin Pehlivanovic vs. Bryan Farah
Ching-Shun Yang vs. Milos Verkic
Kings Santy vs. Michael Delawder
Jason McClain vs. Alexander Kazakis
Joshua Filler vs. Matt Krah
Thomas Welle vs. David Anderson
Jalal Yousef vs. Henrik Larsson
Tom Griffith vs. Roman Hybler
Jeffery Ignacio vs. Lefteris Georgiou
James Davee vs. Kostas Koukiadakis
Hsu Kai-Lun vs. Adam King
Ralph Eckert vs. Mika Immonen
Wu Kun Lin vs. Kuo Szu-Ting
Kang Lee vs. Ernesto Dominguez
Darren Appleton vs. Terry Spalding
Patrick Holtz vs. Richard Halliday
Tyler Styer vs. Kelii Chuberko
Che-Wei Fu vs. Josh Roberts
John Barton vs. Zachary Bos
Johann Dominik Hiber vs. Wu Jiaqing
Dennis Grabe vs. Lee Heuwagen
Jeffrey Jimenez vs. Ronald Regli
Liu Ri Teng vs. Gwyn Spooner
Arnar Peterson vs. Chang Yu-Lung
Wang Can vs. Dejan Sipkovski
Jonathan Mcdowell Pakieto vs. Francisco Bustamante
Max Eberle vs. Robert Goddard
Florida Pro Tour vs. Aloysius Yapp
Skyler Woodward vs. Luu Minh Phuc
Stephen Holem vs. Imran Majid
Jason Theron vs. Katsuyuki Yamamoto
Stan Tourangeau vs. Ruslan Chinakov
Wojciech Szewczyk vs. Renato Camantigue
James Adams vs. Marek Kudlik
Brendan Ng vs. Paddy McLoughlin
Brian Parks vs. Niels Feijen
Chang Jung-Lin vs. Roland Stock
John Moody Sr vs. Adam Lilley
Nick Malaj vs. Dimitri Jungo
Francesco Candela vs. Tomasz Kaplan
Mario He vs. Michael Pruitt
Cheng-Chieh Liu vs. Tommy Kennedy
Vilmos Foldes vs. Marc Vidal Claramunt
Max K Reyes vs. Billy Thorpe
Dang Jin Hu vs. Ben Crawley
Jamie White vs. Tony Chohan
Gabe Owen vs. Gary Lutman
Elliot Sanderson vs. Robbie Capito
Warren Kiamco vs. Mark Showalter
Brendon Bektashi vs. Hsu Jui-An
Patrick Mannillo vs. Melinda Huang
Ryo Yokawa vs. Chris Melling
Ralf Souquet vs. Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan
Seiji Kuwajima vs. Simon Pickering
Earl Strickland vs. Pedro Botta
Steve Lingelbach vs. Dennis Hatch
Donny Mills vs. Eugene Villena
Mark Foster vs. Shaun Wilkie
Kim Laaksonen vs. Chris Alexander
Steven Lingafelter vs. Albin Ouschan
John Morra vs. Marco Spitzky
Adam Mscisz vs. Marlon Manalo
Alejandro Carvajal vs. Dustin Dixon
Philipps Yee vs. Johann Chua
Mieszko Fortunksi vs. Chris McDaniel
Robby Foldvari vs. Yukio Akagariyama
Manny Perez vs. Nicolas Charette
Abdullah Saeed O Alshammari vs. Shane van Boening