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Down To Last 64 At World Pool Championship

Jasmin Ouschan

The World Pool Championship is down to the last 64 after the conclusion of the double elimination group stage at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Among the high-profile casualties of the group stage were USA’s two-time Mosconi Cup winner Tyler Styer, former US Open Champion Corey Deuel and former World Champion Mika Immonen, who suffered a 7-9 defeat to Ralf Souquet.

Three of the eight female entries have advanced to the last 64 including Women’s World Champion Kelly Fisher. Germany’s Veronika Ivanovskaia went through with wins over Nick Malia and Tim De Ruyter, while Jasmin Ouschan won a hill-hill thriller against Mark Gray from 7-1 down to beat the Brit to a place in the knockout stages.

US Open Champion Joshua Filler came through the losers side of the group brackets win a 9-6 win over Sergey Lutsker, and Mosconi Cup MVP Jayson Shaw also made it through thanks to a 9-6 win over fellow Brit Imran Majid.

Shaw will now face Shane van Boening in a mouth-watering Last-64 clash, which will follow Fedor Gorst against Skyler Woodward on the TV table.

The last 64 begins at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Away from the TV table, matches include Darren Appleton vs Joshua Filler, Alex Kazakis vs Naoyuki Oi and young Bosnian rising star Sanjin Pehlivanovic against Albin Ouschan.

Albin’s sister Jasmin will face Aleksa Pecelj, Fisher is up against Jeremy Sossei and Ivanovskaia will face Max Lechner.

The full draw and brackets for the knockout stages can be found at matchroompool.com, along with live scoring throughout the event. For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Albin Ouschan Wins Top of Austria 9-Ball Challenge

Jasmin Ouschan, Albin Ouschan and Max Lechner

The winner of the “Top of Austria 9-Ball Challenge” on October 28th is Albin Ouschan. The former 9-Ball World Champion of 2016 prevailed at the summit meeting of domestic pool billiards professionals in the ORF center at Küniglberg in Vienna, Austria with 5-0 win against his sister Jasmin Ouschan, followed by a 5-2 win over his Austrian National teammate Maximilian Lechner.
 “In the match against Jasmin, I got comfortable right away and I was very satisfied with my performance. I also showed some of the disgusting facets of 9-Ball with a few lucky shots. This can be tough for an opponent to overcome – especially with a short race to five. Unfortunately, Jasmin was only able to sink a few balls, although she didn’t really do anything wrong. Her break just didn’t come as expected, ”the Carinthian analyzed his victory in the sibling duel.
Against Lechner, Ouschan started very strong and quickly went ahead 3-0. The Tyrolean, currently ranked 19th on the WPA World Rankings and the highest ranking Austrian player on the list reached the hill first at 4-2 and then broke and ran the final rack for the 5-2 win.
“When I was ahead 4-2, I was briefly afraid that Max might come back again. It would have been big if he had won the 7th rack, but in the end I had it under control ”said Ouschan.
Lechner had previously been successful 5-4 in the exciting opening match against Jasmin Ouschan. The Tyrolean made an avoidable pocketing error on the decisive nine ball when he led 4-3, but then benefited from a dry break by Jasmin Ouschan in the last rack.
 “When I missed the nine, I saw that I didn’t have much time left. and thought that I still had the extension (extension of the shot clock by 30 seconds), but this was not so. Then it got a bit stressful and I wasn’t quite stable with the shot. It all added up to cause the mistake, ”explained Lechner, who was initially struggling to get comfortable at the table.
“It was a rather bumpy start on my part, but after the first two racks I felt quite good and got into the match well. Of course there were also a disproportionate number of mistakes, but after the two and a half month break that was also to be feared, ”said the Tyrolean.
“In my two matches, I think you saw exactly how different these encounters can be. With Max and me it was a constant back and forth and in my match against Albin I was actually only on the defensive and I have to say that Albin is incredibly strong in the defensive game. He then played with a lot of calm and one or two lucky balls to the end, but luck is also part of it,”said Jasmin Ouschan.

Lechner and Ouschan’s Featured in Austrian Stream

Max Lechner (File photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Austra’s top 9-ball players will be highlighted Thursday afternoon when Austria’s biggest sports channel, ORF Sport+, broadcasts pool for the first time without geo-blocking. 
 
A series of three matches will take place, featuring 2019 International Open Star Max Lechner, World 9-Ball Champion Albin Ouschan and many time champion Jasmin Ouschan
 
Matches will be races to 5, alternating break with a 30 second shot clock except for on the shot immediately following the break. The table will be a Dynamic III with Simonis 860 cloth and Aramith Tournament Pro-Cup TV Ball. 
 
The match schedule is:
Match One: Jasmin vs. Max
Match Two: Albin vs. Loser of Match One
Match Three: Albin vs. Winner of Match One
 
The stream will take place at 20:05 CET (GMT+2, 14:05 New York time) and fans can watch it online at https://tvthek.orf.at/live

Ouschan secures first victory in 2020

Jasmin Ouschan

Jasmin Ouschan (AUT) secured her first victory in 2020 by winning the final match 7:1 over Aleksandra Guleikova (RUS).
 
The whole tournament was a demonstration of Ouschan’s superiority. She defeated all opponents with very clear results. Her first victim was Hannan Memic (BIH) who got beat 7:2. Then, Vania Franco (POR) received a 7:2 lesson from Ouschan in the winner’s qualification round. Yini Gaspar (SUI) and Kristina Zlateva (BUL) were next on the list. they both managed to win 4 racks before Ouschan closed the book on them. In the semi-final. Ouschan met Franco for the second time. This time, the Portuguese only got one rack from Ouschan to leave the event with 7:1, coming in third place. Franco had played a good event so far, defeating high class players like Oliwia Zalewska (POL) and Kateryna Polovinchuk (UKR). But Ouschan was in her own class. She went into the final match, having won all these matches with more than clear results. Her opponent, Aleksandra Guleikova, was not necessarily expected to be in the final match. But her decent performance throughout the tournament paid off and she has rightfully booked her seat in the final match against Ouschan. However, the final turned into a nightmare for Guleikova. The only player who was seen at the table was Ouschan. After 8 racks, the Austrian closed the book on the final match with an impressive 7:1 victory over Guleikova.
 
"I used this tournament as a preparation for my next events", Ouschan stated after the final match. "I was in the middle of preparations and this success shows me that I’m on a good way. My upcoming events are men’s tournaments. I will play Matchroom’s World Pool Masters and then I’ll go to Las Vegas for more tournaments", Ouschan added.
 
This victory puts Ouschan on top of the Women’ Euro-Tour rankings.
 
Top Eight Finishers Predator Treviso Open 2020

1. Jasmin Ouschan AUT

2. Aleksandra Guleikova RUS

3. Ina Kaplan GER

Vania Franco POR

5. Kristina Tkach RUS

Marharyta Fefilava BLR

Dina Fatikhova RUS

Kristina Zlateva BUL
 
That concludes the coverage of the Predator Treviso Open 2020.
 
The Predator Treviso Open 2020 were played in the Best Western Premier BHR Treviso Hotel in Treviso, Italy, on up to 21 tables which are all streamed LIVE throughout the whole event. In order to be able to follow all the action LIVE, premium membership can be obtained at www.kozoom.com. Once a premium membership is held, all events for the respective period of time can be viewed LIVE. Additionally, a huge video gallery is contained in the website.
 
The event was hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.epbf.com or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

Pools Spin Doctor

Per Hagen

Pun intended.

Definition of a spin doctor;
A person responsible for ensuring that others interpret something from a particular point of view.
 
So how does this apply to what Per Hagen, once voted one of the worlds top 20 "most influential people" by BLUFF Magazine, is now trying to achieve in the pool world?
(BLUFF Magazine, the worlds leading poker magazine)
 
To give this context, we have to go back to 2007. That's the year Per decided to start a management agency for professional poker players. He could see that poker was booming, but the "sport" was lacking in professionalism. Mainstream media was not quite sure how much air time they should devote to this new phenomena. It was all very messy. Companies were throwing good money after bad ambassadors, and the way they marketed their own brand was somewhat lacking.
 
The agency Per founded had a clear mission; they would sign the best up and comers, coupled with some already established stars. But they would only get signed if they fulfilled the strict requirements to what it actually means to be a brand ambassador. Slowly, but surely they signed a few up and coming poker professionals. Only 6 months into the venture, one of them won the world championship (WSOP main event) and a ton of money.
 
Per elaborates
It was quite surrealistic, I was actually negotiating with 3 separate brands about a sponsorship deal for our player while the player was playing the final table! Normally, the WSOP winner did not get a great sponsorship deal automatically. But we had already built up the name of this player during our first 6 months. This included both media attention and a lot of followers already. That meant that when, and it was only a matter of when, this player made a big result, we could negotiate on quite different terms compared to if an unknown would have won. We also know that this player was willing to put in the work as an ambassador, and could therefore guarantee the sponsor a great return on their investment.
 
[photo id=51597|align=right]Long story short, the player got a deal worth $500 000 per year + all expenses paid to play big events all over the world. This was almost unheard of at the time. Shortly after we signed 50 new players since they had seen how we built up this player, and got this great deal. The snowball had started rolling.
 
My agency also facilitated a live poker event via stream for the first time in Europe. Now, these days this is not a big deal, but back then it was. It had tens of thousands of viewers that weekend alone. Shortly after, Pokerstars launched their "EPT TV" which was a huge success. 
 
1 year later we organized a charity poker event at a castle in Cannes. Paris Hilton and a few other celebrities attended. Maybach provided the transport. Good times.
 
One of the things we also focused on was giving access to media to our profiled players by facilitating interviews, podcast and whatever they needed. That resulted in over 50 front covers and hundreds of interviews. The sponsors were happy.
 
Part of our job was to identify good candidates, sign, negotiate sponsorship deals – but perhaps the most important role was training the ambassadors. It's not natural for a talent in a sport to also be a great spokesperson for a commercial company. So we trained, sparred and followed up almost on a daily basis. We also helped with investments and other small or big matters.
 
On top of the world
4 years later, his agency had 150 professional and sponsored poker players from all over the world, agents in 14 countries and his agency also did all the world wide marketing for some of the worlds biggest online gambling brands. Thats when Per got his nickname "the Spin doctor of Poker".
 
In fact, eventually the companies were actually asking him to go to x country and find them a great ambassador. Business was booming, but the political landscape suddenly changed and Per sold the agency 6 months ahead of "Black Friday" in 2011. Thats when the DOJ came down hard on the industry and more or less had it on lockdown for 2 years.
 
Back to how this pertains the sport we love.
What has this got to do with pool? Well, Per was an avid and competitive pool player up until he started that agency. He had to quit pool to focus on the startup.
 
Getting back to pool
After selling the company, and getting back to pool in 2017 I made a discovery. I could see that the sport had not changed a whole lot. Sure, there was now break mats, some new rules and other minute stuff. But the sports commercial value was at a standstill and the community had not grown. I could not believe that the sport I loved so much had not progressed. I was aware of the funds the gambling companies had put into it, but I also knew projects like that the IPT had ran into some trouble with sponsorship and other failed financing options.
 
Besides that, I could see that the Eurotour is a great series, but without the big paydays. You had to make it to the semis to break even on expenses. I was also astonished that the prize pools were so small. So, I figured I ́d give it a go. I wanted to see (on a small scale) if there was willingness to inject funds in the sport. I reached out to a sporting brand outside the industry. Boom. They signed a deal worth $60 000 over the coming years for my country's pool federation. And my federation is really small potatoes. So next, I reached out to Eurosport, by far Europes #1 TV platform. Boom. They aired the Nordic 9-ball championships. And that's after many years of absence of pool on TV in Europe. Why did they do it? Well, the package I presented looked great. There was no way they were going to miss out on this.
 
I then shortly after got elected as the leader of my local club (600 members) and that was exhausting. We have 27 tables, but no alcohol is allowed and it operates as a strictly sporting arena (regional laws).
 
I'm done with doing that now and recently founded the agency Supr Charged (www.suprcharged.com). We specialize in marketing of players, brands and pool in general. I could not get out of my mind how similar situations poker and pool was in.
 
Poker has progressed to being a regulated multi billion industry a long time ago, and I'm not comparing the revenue potential of the two sports. I do however see that pool is where poker was in the early 2000s. It has growth potential, but its somewhat scattered all over the place. There are a lot of opinions on what will "make pool great again", but I don't think matters like identical rules and rating systems worldwide is the solution alone. Sure, that's probably smart. Make sure that we are all playing the same game, but that's not gonna solve the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that pool is not televised.
 
So how do we get pool to be a regular televised sporting event?
I don't have all the answers, but we nowadays theres a bunch of sub-channels on each network. All the broadcasters has at least 3-4 sub-channels on top of their streaming options. So why should pool not be on one of them!? There is a few indicators that the broadcasters is looking for.
 
– First of all, the sport has to be interesting for the audience. Bring on the shot clock! You can not have players spending minutes on a shot, or every single shot!
 
– The audience should be more like during the Mosconi Cup. Let them make some noise and cheer for their favorite! Players just have to learn to play in those conditions. I love what Matchroom is doing. They have great productions!
 
Also, the "Billiards 2024" project is great! Billiards 2024 is the structure in charge of the promotion of Billiards’ bid for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It is composed of senior members of Billiards’ different managing bodies, as well as players and industry giants. If billiards was to be part of the olympics – we will see an explosion in interest.
 
Unfortunately, the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games 2024 (OCOG) on the 21th of February announced their proposal of four additional sports to join the 28 already scheduled for the event. These are
breakdancing, climbing, skateboarding and surfing.
 
I love the initiative from the group behind the bid. It's been fronted by ambassadors like Florian "Venom" Kohler, Jasmin Ouschan, Shaun Murphy and others. Hopefully they will keep fighting for the sport.
 
– The sport needs profiles. And this is an area I feel comfortable talking about. I'm not saying the pool stars of today are boring and without personality, but if you take a look at almost all other popular sports, they have really interesting characters all around. They engage, they liven things up, they show emotions, they are professionals making a living from their sport. These stars is a product of a cooperation between the media, sponsors and by them being great ambassadors (more on that later). This motivates the up and comers to work even harder. "I want to be like HIM/HER!"
 
So how do you get great ambassadors?
Well, they don't magically appear. They have to be trained, groomed, mentored and willing to put in the extra effort for their sponsors and the sport. I witnessed so many poker brands throwing money after players who did absolutely nothing in return, and at the same time I could see struggling massive talents putting in tons of work, but barely making ends meet. I see a lot of similarities in pool today.
 
Sorry, I'm not trying to offend anybody here, but I see a player like the greek Damianos "JumpmasterD" Giallourakis. He's traveling the world, plays almost all events, ranked #9 in Europe. He had over 1 million views on his amazing jump and other shots last year. The Finnish tip, glove and chalk company TAOM early identified his talent, and that he was really working hard to be a good ambassador, and it paid off. They sponsored him. But, one single sponsor is not enough if you are traveling the world to compete. Someone like him deserves that also another one of the big brands recognizes his talent on- and off the felt, and sponsors him additionally. It's those kind of ambassadors you want! It's those ambassadors that will help the sport to grow. On the other hand, I see players getting rather big money (yes, I know the numbers) and they have less than 1000 views in 2019! How can a sponsor resonate that this is the best return on their investment??!
 
So, the moral of the story is that the brands needs to be very selective when they add a new player to their pro team. These guys and girls very much decides the future of pool.
 
My words of wisdom to sponsors; Its much better to have a player working like a champion for your brand, than a champion player not working at all for your brand!
 
You got to set high standards to your team pros. You have to demand that they deliver for you. It's simply not enough tagging the brand on social media and wearing a logo patch whilst playing. And these ambassadors who is going to be scrutinized by mainstream media when they decide whether or not to put pool on their platforms.
 
My agency Supr Charged has adopted a lot of the methods and techniques we used in sponsorship relationships for poker players. It works. We will also on behalf of a brand perform a due diligence on candidates, interview them, negotiate the sponsorship deal, and most important; we constantly train and follow up making sure the player delivers to the sponsors and represents the sport in a professional manner. A-Z. The sponsor can leave it to us to ensure a great return on their investment in a pro team. It also sets an industry «standard». It shows aspiring players craving that sponsorship what it actually takes.
 
This helps professionalize the player, and the sport. If pool is ever going to get back on TV, it has to appear professional.
 
So basically, my theory to how to make pool great again; get on TV. Only then will the sport attract sponsors outside the industry. We can not expect that the brands inside the industry will put in even more funds than they are already doing. I do however think they are willing to put more funds into it once it gets on TV.
 
So, what now?
My agency will help the pool brands who wants a great return on investment from their pro team. We will make sure they only work with ambassadors that we are certain will deliver for their sponsors as well as for the sport. Next, we will make sure the brands are portrayed professionally in the public eye. We will be a bridge between players, event organizers, sponsors and media. When the time is right, we’ll package the sport and approach the mainstream media. We're better than Cornhole and Timbersports?!
 
We did it with poker, and we can do it with pool!

Successful year for EPBF

Moritz Neuhausen (GER), WC Under 17

The year 2019 is coming to an end and the EPBF would like to once again congratulate all its athletes who gained an international title this year.
 
Especially the World Champions shall be named here. In the men’s 9-ball division, Fedor Gorst (RUS) just recently conquered the World Champion Title in Doha, Qatar with a 13:11 victory in the final match over Chang Jung Lin (TPE).
 
In the women’s 9-ball Championship, Kelly Fisher (GBR) snatched the crown against Jasmin Ouschan (AUT) in the final match with 9:7. With that result, the Gold as well as the Silver Medal went to the EPBF.
 
Also in the Youth 9-Ball Championships, the EPBF was by far the most successful federation. In the Under 17s division, Moritz Neuhausen (GER) took the title while Jonas Souto (ESP) defeated Sanjin Pehlivanovic (BIH) in the final match of the Under 19s. Valeria Trushevskaia (RUS) completed the European Medal collection with a Bronze Medal in the girls division.
 
Also other international events of high profile were won by European athletes.
 
Our best wishes and congratulations also go out to all winner’s and titleists from this year’s European Championships in Veldhoven, The Netherlands.
 
We hope that 2020 will be as successful for us as 2019 was!

Kelly Fisher comes from the loss side to down Tzu-Chien Wei at WPBA’s Aramith/DR Classic

Kelly Fisher

Kelly Fisher came to Rothschild, WI on the long weekend of November 20-24 in search of her first 2019 win and knew almost immediately that she might need to defeat some adversaries she’d faced before. There were, at the WPBA’s Aramith/DR Pool Classic, the usual array of suspects in that regard; Allison Fisher, Jasmine Ouschan, Jennifer Baretta, LoreeJon Hasson, Janet Atwell and Line Kjorsvik, to name just a few. And though she wouldn’t have to face China’s Siming Chen, who did not compete and who’d defeated her in the finals of the WPBA Masters last February in Michigan, she knew she might have to face Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Chien Wei, whom she’d defeated in the semifinals of that WPBA Masters and then, been defeated by in the semifinals of August’s Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa. She did face Wei this time around, twice as it turned out, losing the first, but coming back from the loss side to win the second and claim the event title. The $20,000-added event drew 48 entrants to the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center in Rothschild.

The importance of chalking up her first win of the year at this event was not lost on Fisher. As a professional, she’s not inclined to dwell on a given event’s individual importance, lest it interfere with the game(s) at hand, but having been on the mend since surgeries sidelined her for a few years, she was getting a little antsy.

“I was getting a worried for a moment there,” she said. “I’d had numerous semifinal wins (since last May; 3, to be exact), so I’m very pleased to have gotten this title.”

“I’m finally feeling that my game is back to where it was a few years ago,” she added.

Fisher was one of 16 seeded competitors who were awarded opening round byes, as the other 32 squared off against each other. Fisher drew Shanelle Loraine out of that original 32, defeated her and joined 12 other players who’d been awarded opening round byes in advancement to the third round. Only Gerda Gregerson, Melissa Little, Line Kjorsvik and Jenna Bishoff from that group of 16 seeded, went to the loss side, sent by (in order) Jeannie Seaver, Dawn Hopkins, Jasmin Ouschan and Teruko Cucculleli.

Fisher went on to defeat Monica Webb 8-1and then survived a double hill battle versus Jennifer Baretta to draw Tzu-Chien Wei in one of the winners’ side semifinals. Jasmin Oushchan, in the meantime, got by Joanne Ashton 8-1, survived her own double hill battle versus Kjorsvik, and downed Dawn Hopkins 8-2 to pick up Jia Li.

Wei defeated Fisher 8-5 and in the hot seat, faced Ouschan, who’d sent Li to the loss side 8-4. A double hill battle ensued for possession of the hot seat. Wei prevailed, sending Ouschan off to a second straight, double hill semifinal matchup against Fisher.

Over on the loss side, there were some top-notch matches brewing as the tournament’s elites moved toward picking up Fisher and Jia Li, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. After losing to Jeannie Seaver in the second round, Gerda Gregerson embarked on a six-match, loss-side streak that saw her eliminate Eugenia Gyftopoulos, Catherine Tschumper and, moving into the early money rounds, Caroline Pao and Emily Duddy. She went on to down Brittany Bryant 8-5 and young Atlantic Cup Challenge competitor, April Larson 8-4 to draw Li.

Fisher drew Tamara Peeters, who was working on a six-match, loss-side winning streak of her own and fresh off something of an 8-1 upset over Teruko Cucculleli. Cucculleli had defeated Allison Fisher on the winners’ side, before being sent over by Jia Li in a winners’ side quarterfinal. She proceeded to eliminate Jessica Barnes, Beth Fondell and jumped into the money pool with an 8-4 win over Loree Jon Hasson. She downed Gail Eaton and Dawn Hopkins, both 8-6 and then, eliminated Cucculleli to reach Fisher.

Fisher gave up only a single rack to Peeters in advancing to the quarterfinals. She was joined by Jia Li, who’d sent Gregerson home 8-6. Fisher won a second straight 8-1 match, eliminating Li 8-1.

That little 16-2 run wasn’t destined to last, as Fisher squared off against Jasmin Ouschan in the semifinals. It was Ouschan’s second straight double hill match, and proved to be the second one in a row that she lost.

With lingering echoes of previous matchups and a nagging little voice that kept telling her that since she’d earned herself a second chance against Tzu-Chien Wei, she’d damn well better take advantage of it, Fisher launched into the finals, in search of her first 2019 win. There are, she noted, generalities about such endeavors, and specifics, related to particular opponents. You have to play ‘your game,’ regardless of opponent, while awareness of specific opponents can inform decisions about approach.

“My main thing,” said Fisher, “is to come out of the gate strong, to keep control of the table.”

“Looking back at previous matches against Wei,” she added, “it was about not allowing her to come back. She’s capable of coming back from behind, so I knew once I had (the lead), I had to keep it.”

As noted in a Biblical proverb – “The heart of Man (Woman) plans his/her way, but the Lord establishes his/her steps.” Fisher lost the opening four racks and immediately switched roles to become the person “capable of coming back from behind.” She allowed Wei only one more rack, before she chalked up 10 to claim that first 2019 title.

“I’ve been practicing quite hard,” she said a few days later from her home in Scotland. “It came down to being patient. I knew I was close (to getting back into previous form), and that there was room to grow.

“I want to win the big ones,” she added, “and it really is just a matter of practice.”

She’ll spend a few days at home, more than likely find time to do some of that practice and then head for China and competition in the 2019 Women’s World 9-Ball Championships, to be held from December 13-20.

WPBA representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Diamond Billiards Products, Aramith, Outsville and Simonis Cloth.

Cucculelli Upsets Fisher at WPBA Dr Pool Classic

Teruko Cucculelli (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

With an 8-5 win over #1 ranked Allison Fisher, Teruko Cucculelli is through to the final eight on the winner’s side at the WPBA Aramith / Dr Pool Classic. 
 
Cucculelli, hailing from Lancaster Ohio, had wins over Suzanne Peters and Jenna Bishoff to get her day started, but those paled in comparison to her win over Fisher. 
 
“I’m elated to have beat the #1 ranked player on tour. I felt very fortunate to capitalize on the opportunities that were given to me. Allison is a true champion and, although i had won the match, she had kind words of encouragement.” said Cucculelli after the match. 
 
Cucculelli will face #8 ranked Jia Li Saturday, while Fisher will wait for the winner between Laura Smith and Maureen Seto on Saturday. Cucculelli and Li are joined on the winner’s side by Jasmin Ouschan, Dawn Hopkins, Brittany Bryant, Taiwan’s Wei Tzu Chien, Jennifer Barretta and Kelly Fisher
 
The WPBA Aramith / Dr Pool Classic is being held at the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center in Rothschild, Wisconsin. Online bracket coverage is available at compusport.us and online streaming of select matches is available at the WPBA’s Youtube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3nECcig-zgKYfFvkS15hQ

Czuprynska Victorious at Predator Klagenfurt Open 2019

Oliwia Czuprynska

Oliwia Czuprynska (POL) has won the Predator Klagenfurt Open 2019 with a 7:5 victory over Marharyta Fefilava (BLR) in the final match.
 
Probably the biggest surprise of the day were the results of the semi-final matches. Both favourites have not lived up to their expectations and were eliminated by their respective opponents. Ranking leader Kristina Tkach (RUS) lost 3:7 to Fefilava while hometown hero Jasmin Ouschan (AUT) was defeated with 6:7 by Czuprynska after the fell out of position on the 7-ball in the deciding rack. So the final match between Czuprynska and Fefilava was everything but expected. Czuprynska started very strong in the final match. She forced a foul shot on Fefilava and cleared the rack to get to a 1:0 lead. Rack 2 was then taken by Fefilava after Czuprynska came up with a poor safety shot. The next rack went almost alike but with the better outcome for Czuprynska this time. after three racks played, Czuprynska had a 2:1 lead over Fefilava. In rack 4, Czuprynska committed the first mistake which was used by Fefilava to snatch the rack again to get to 2:2. Both contestants performed at a very high level in that stage of the match. In rack five however, Czuprynska again committed an unforced error which indicated that her focus was not 100% perfect anymore. Maybe the victory over Ouschan one round earlier took too much power out of her. While Czuprynska showed some weakness, Fefilava stayed in the zone and got a slight advantage over the Polish. But she could not capitalise from Czuprynska’s mistakes and consequently, Czuprynska took another point into her account and led the match with 3:2. In rack six, Czuprynska was almost there when she dogged the 7-ball and gave the rock away to Fefilava. Instead of leading 4:2 the match was now again tied at 3:3. Whatever happened after that rack, it was not to Fefilava’s liking. The Polish dominated the match completely and ran away with 6:3 after nine racks, being on the hill. But Fefilava did not want to let go her chance to win this event. She pulled two racks back from Czuprynska to get to 5:6 and then went for her time-out. After that, Czuprynska still stood tall and won the next rack which brought her the match and the victory of the tournament. „I just got married last week“, stated Czuprynska after the final, „maybe that gave me extra strength and made me play better“ Czuprynska added with a smile.
 
Top Eight Finishers
 
1. Oliwia Czuprynska POL
2. Marharyta Fefilava BLR
3. Kristina Tkach RUS
    Jasmin Ouschan AUT
5. Louise Furberg SWE
    Ana Gradisnik SLO
    Kristina Zlateva BUL
    Melanie Suessenguth GER
 
That concludes the coverage of the Predator Klagenfurt Open 2019.
 
The Predator Klagenfurt Open were played in the Sportpark Klagenfurt Arena in Klagenfurt, Austria, on up to 20 tables which were all streamed LIVE throughout the whole event. In order to be able to follow all the action LIVE, premium membership can be obtained at www.kozoom.com. Once a premium membership is held, all events for the respective period of time can be viewed LIVE. Additionally, a huge video gallery is contained in the website.
 
The event was hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organised by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.womeneurotouronline.com or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.

The Predator Group is proud to celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary in 2019

Thanks to an amazing team of passionate individuals, the company has revolutionized how the game of pocket billiards is played since the introduction of the original 314 low-deflection shaft in 1994. A quarter of a century after this ground-breaking technology was introduced, this United States-based company has grown to become the largest and most innovation-driven manufacturer in pool and billiards worldwide. 
 
HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED 
Out of all the billiards shafts, cues and components that Predator Group has been associated with over the last 25 years, none may be more important than the tip that was on Allan McCarty’s cue in the early 1990s. A frequent player who had dabbled in developing inventions, McCarty was leading his opponent during a billiards match when his tip loosened and popped off of the ferrule. He switched out that shaft for his reserve and immediately struggled to make balls. McCarty lost the match, walking away from the experience lighter in the wallet and questioning how these two seemingly identical shafts could play so differently. McCarty teamed up with Steve Titus, a self-made engineer he’d met at a tournament a couple of years before. Together, the two constructed a mechanical arm for testing billiard cues named Iron Willie. This helped them to develop a product which would deliver more consistency and accuracy. They toiled away in their Clawson, Michigan shop for about a year and a half, ultimately creating a six-piece spliced wooden shaft. That desire to design and develop a superior performing product led to Predator’s initial product creation – a multi-splice shaft introduced as the original 314 shaft in 1994. Predator’s cutting-edge shaft technology reduced the error factor called “cue ball deflection”, where the mass of the shaft pushes the cue ball off the aiming line when using English or side spin. Put simply, this new technology made it easier to pocket balls using English and helped players progress faster. What started as two guys fighting to educate the industry on their research findings now has evolved into the industry trendsetter in pool and billiards technology. The company has grown into the largest billiard cue manufacturer worldwide – thanks largely to the people who work for and with the company. “There’s all the cue makers and then there’s us,” said McCarty. “They’re selling design, we’re selling performance with design.” “When we received our first cue and shaft combination way back in 1998, we knew immediately that Predator was an innovative and technology-advanced cue manufacturer,” said Sid Kreis of Seybert’s Billiard Supply, one of Predator’s leading distributors. 
 
THE QUEST FOR INNOVATION 
It would have been easy to sit back and be satisfied with creating the billiard cue shaft which revolutionized the industry. “However, the goal is to always challenge the standards of the industry – then design a completely new standard.” said President Karim Belhaj, who rose from company intern in 1997 to owning the company today. “Every time we made it to the top, we thought “how do we better ourselves?” In a company that was created by pool players, it didn’t take long for the team to realize there was more to playing proficient pool than simply minimizing deflection. Predator released the first BK break cue in 2001, equipped with a balanced weight design as well as a tip and ferrule developed to transfer maximum energy. Four years later, a reengineered break cue called the BK2 would hit the market with an improved grip, phenolic and carbon fiber tip plate and improved shaft design. A dozen years after the original 314 shafts became available to consumers, Predator introduced the second generation of low-deflection shaft technology – featuring a lighter and improved 10-piece spliced construction, which resulted in better wood grain consistency throughout. Four years ago, the company debuted the third generation of these revolutionary shafts, featuring a lower front-end mass, V-Tek front end construction as well as the eight-layer Victory tip. “We design every single shaft based on what the player needs to improve his or her game,” said Belhaj. Since the turn of the century, Predator’s engineers have been working on methods to build a cue shaft from composite technology. As materials improved and processes perfected, the years of trial and errors resulted in the debut of Predator REVO shaft in 2016. Made from aerospace grade carbon fiber, this latest innovation offers reduced deflection at high and low speeds coupled with unmatched durability. When Predator’s Chief Engineer Paul Costain had his first prototypes of REVO ready for field testing a few years ago, it was essential for him to see the players’ feedback: “I remember very well the first time I saw people testing the Predator REVO – at first they were skeptical. So, to see their face when they hit the first few shots was quite enjoyable – I could see instantly they could feel the difference… and then of course they didn’t want to give the shaft back!” 
 
Following this success, the carbon composite BK Rush break cue was released in 2017 – the most powerful and most accurate break cue ever designed. As the technology and innovation improved, so too has the playing experience for beginning and amateur players. With cue ball deflection significantly decreased compared to the equipment of decades ago, the competitors of today can pocket balls more accurately while utilizing English and sidespin with much more ease. “Due to the Predator equipment, the pockets for amateurs seem bigger than normal because you can play more precisely,” said Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet, who has won every major title in the sport using a 314 shaft. Today, Predator’s extensive family of products connects with different players – from the road hustler to the World Champion, there is a Predator cue for everyone. We not only specialize in performance but also in design. From the entry-level Roadline “Sneaky Pete” to the 25th Anniversary limited edition cues, there is an artistic and fashionable style to match 
the various preferences of players. Whether a player is looking for a classic or intricate look, Predator has a design which can connect with the individual and provide a unique style, coupled with unmatched construction and technology. “Predator helps players be the best version of themselves,” said Karim Belhaj. 
 
PREDATOR’S COMMITMENT TO GROW THE SPORT 
Ever since Titus and McCarty started working on the original shafts, Predator has been striving to connect people to the game as well as give back to the billiards industry. When the company was in its infancy, McCarty made sure the product was in the hands of not only nationally known professional players but those dominant at the regional level as well – recognizing word-of-mouth exposure would be essential to the product’s growth. As Predator slowly grew to become a worldwide company, the manufacturer’s commitment to providing professionals with the tools needed for success has not changed. Today, countless players all over the world rely on the company’s cues in tournament competition – including World Champions and BCA Hall of Famers. As a result, players using Predator cues have won more titles than all of the other cue brands combined. As a company which constantly strives to improve its equipment and the players’ experience, this working relationship also allows Predator’s designers to receive valuable feedback on its products from some of the best professionals competing today. “I remember one year every European Mosconi cup player played with Predator. That’s mental,” said Hall of Famer and longtime brand ambassador Darren Appleton. “They have helped me massively in my career and God knows what I would not have been able to achieve without them.” “Predator brings the equipment and I bring the skills, so together we can achieve greatness,” said women’s professional, Jasmin Ouschan, who started using the company’s equipment as a junior. Predator is also proud to support John Schmidt and his quest to beat the longest-standing record in the sport, Willie Mosconi’s 526-ball run. John achieved his dream by an astounding 100 balls, running 626 without a miss, which already placed the formerly nicknamed “Mr. 400” in a class of his own: “I was using a P3 Red with a REVO 12.4 shaft – fantastic cue. Everybody loves their cue, that sounds forced but it’s really the best cue I’ve ever played with”, said John “Mr. 626” Schmidt. 
 
Predator’s support of the industry also extends to professional and amateur tournaments throughout the world, as well as in the United States. The company has been a longtime title sponsor of the Mosconi Cup, Matchroom events, the Euro Tour for both men and women, Tony Robles’ Predator Pro-am Tour in the northeastern United States, the World Pool and Billiards Association’s Players Championship, and many other events. “Predator has been a big part of the industry so far and will be even more so in the future,” said Emily Frazer, Chief Operating Officer for Matchroom Multisport, producer of the Mosconi Cup. “Predator has been in business for 25 years and Matchroom has shared a relationship with them for the majority of that. We only hope to continue and strengthen that partnership as we push together our passion and goal of taking our sport to the next level.” 
 
This past year, the company again expanded its position within the professional billiards industry with the debut of the Predator World 10-ball Championships which brought back a World WPA event in the United States for the first time in over 20 years. The event had been dormant since 2015 as it struggled to find available sponsors and prize funds, but Predator saw the event as a unique opportunity to help grow the number of professional events worldwide while celebrating the company’s silver anniversary. Partnering with Cue Sports International, the inaugural tournament was played this past July in conjunction with the BCA Pool League’s national and world championships in Las Vegas. This event, which was won by Ping-Chung Ko, showcases the best professional players in the world and helps in the company’s mission of building a bridge between the recreational pool player and the game’s elite. As WPA President Ian Anderson said, “We are very proud to be associated with Predator and to have them as a partner in the promotion and development of pool and billiards.” Predator continues to focus on the future by making the world a better place, one pool game at a time. 
 
For more information, watch the “Predator Cues – 25th Anniversary Innovation and Inspiration” video:
 
 
Special thanks to Keith Paradise, Senior Editor at Billiards Digest, for his contribution in writing this Press Release. 
 
ABOUT PREDATOR GROUP Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., USA, Predator Group’s vision is to inspire and innovate in the billiard world. Predator, Poison and Uni-Loc are Predator Group brands that focus on performance pool cues, billiard accessories and precision components. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit www.predatorcues.com, www.poisonbilliards.com and www.uni-loc.com