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32 Advance, 32 Out As Day 1 Of The WPA Players Championship Is Complete

Darren Appleton (Photo courtesy of JP Parmentier)

The first ever WPA Players Championship got underway at Griffs Billiards in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and the quality of the match ups on offer out of the box certainly didn’t disappoint. That’s because the 64 player field is one of the highest quality gatherings of pool’s current and rising stars. 
 
The format of the event is designed to offer plenty of excitement as well.   Matches through the quarterfinals are all race to 7, alternate break. In addition, the tournament is single elimination. Thus, every shot matters and one mistake early one can spell curtains even for pool’s biggest names.
 
This is exactly what befell world number two Alexander Kazakis in his opening round match against Japan’s Toru Kuribayashi. The Japanese veteran took advantage of several early errors by the Greek star and led throughout, eventually winning 7-2.
 
Two time world champion and two time US Open 9-ball champion Darren Appleton opened up proceedings with a tasty showdown against three time world champion Thorsten Hohmann.  Appleton, who’s had to take significant time away from the game in the last two years because of several family issues, looked like a renewed man today, and took down the German great, 7-5.
 
Defending US Open champion Jayson Shaw came to Vegas looking fit and ready to defend his title next week across town at the Mandalay Bay. Shaw cruised to an opening round win over Gerson Martinez, 7-3.
 
It was a good day from the Ko family from Taiwan. Two time world champion Ko Pin Yi and his younger brother Ko Ping Chung both won their matches. Compatriot Chang Jung Lin had high hopes coming into this event, but fell to Russia’s Maksim Dudanets of Russia, 7-3. Veterans Yang Ching Shun and Chang Yu Leung both notched victories today.
 
USA great Shane Van Boening led the American contingent and advanced with a 7-5 win over Kai Lun Hsu of Taiwan. Skylar Woodward advanced with a handy 7-2 win over Qatar’s Bashar Hussain.  Shawn Wilkie had to bear down against fellow American Billy Thorpe, and hung on to win 7-5. Corey Duel faced off with Mosconi foe Niels Feijen of the Netherlands and emerged victorious, 7-2.
 
It was a solid start for the always stingy team Philippines. World number 3 Carlo Biado  led the charge with an easy win over Ruben Bautista Escaler, 7-3. 2017 WPA World 9-ball champion joins James Aranas, Johann Chua, Raymond Faroun and Jeffrey De Luna in the final 32. Jeffrey Ignacio proved the lone loser for the Philippines today, losing to two time world champion, Mika Immonen, 7-5.
 
Other winners today include Albania’s Klenti Kaci, the Netherlands Marc Bijsterbosch, England’s Chris Melling, Germany’s Ralf Souquet and  Poland’s Wojciech Szewczyk.
 
In perhaps the most exciting match of the day, Japan’s Nayouki Oi went to the limit with young Russian Fedor Gorst. The match went into extra innings as neither player could get the two rack advantage needed to win. Oi took the sudden death rack to advance with a 10-9 win.
 
Play in the WPA Players Championship continues on Wednesday at 12 noon local time.
 
The format will be single elimination race to 7 (win by 2), with the semi-final and final being a race to 9 (win by 2). 
 
WPA Players Championship Payouts
 
1 – $10,000
2 – $7,000
3/4 – $5,000 ea.
5/8 – $3,000 ea.
9/16 – $1,500 ea.
17/32 – $400 ea.
 
Consolation Tournament Payouts
 
1 – $1,500
2 – $1,000
3/4 – $500 ea.
5/8 – $250 ea.
9/16 – $150 ea.
 
ONLINE BRACKETS
 
The online tournament brackets can be found at www.CTSonDemand.com.
 
WATCH LIVE
The entire event is being streamed live by CSI media, a division of CueSports International (CSI). The production, complete with full-time commentary led by former World 8-Ball Champion, Karl Boyes, begins each day at noon pacific time. To watch live, visit www.playcsipool.com/watch-live.
 
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards and is comprised of six member federations representing North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
 
The WPA is the world-recognized body for sanctioning World Championship events. It is also one of the three member organizations of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), representing the billiard disciplines of pool, snooker and carom. For more information about the WPA, visit www.wpapool.com.
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader and is currently comprised of three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool Leagueand USA Pool League, CSI events produces numerous amateur and professional events around the globe and CSI media creates live streaming and digital content. Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is “shaping the future of pool.” For more information about CSI or any of its divisions, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The WPA Players Championship is made possible by the following sponsors:
 
Andy Billiard Cloth • Cyclop Balls • Diamond • Griff’s Billiards • HOW Tips • Predator • Master Billiard Chalk

Aranas and De Leon Highlight WPA Players Championship Qualifier Day One

The first Stage 1 Qualifier for the WPA Players Championship is complete and four of the 57 competitors have advanced to the $50,000 added Stage 2 Main Event. James Aranas of the Philippines, Kai Lun Hsu of Taiwan, Nick De Leon of USA and Duong Quoc of Vietnam each won four matches in a row to advance.
 
The WPA Players Championship is being staged at Griff’s Billiards in Las Vegas, April 12-19. The event, with $50,000 added prize money, is limited to 64 players. 48 players where chosen by the WPA rankings and member federations to begin in the Stage 2 Main Event. The remaining 16 spots are being filled by four Stage 1 qualifier tournaments, one per day, held at Griff’s Billiards April 12-15. The top four finishers from each qualifier receive a paid spot in the Stage 2 Main Event which begins April 16.
 
ONLINE BRACKETS
The online tournament brackets can be found at www.CTSonDemand.com.
 
WATCH LIVE
The entire event is being streamed live by CSI media, a division of CueSports International (CSI). The production, complete with full-time commentary led by former World 8-Ball Champion, Karl Boyes, begins each day at noon pacific time. To watch live, visit www.playcsipool.com/watch-live.
 
The World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) is the international governing body for pocket billiards and is comprised of six member federations representing North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.  The WPA is the world-recognized body for sanctioning World Championship events.  It is also one of the three member organizations of the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS), representing the billiard disciplines of pool, snooker and carom.  For more information about the WPA, visit www.wpapool.com.
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader and is currently comprised of three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media.  CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool Leagueand USA Pool League, CSI events produces numerous amateur and professional events around the globe and CSI media creates live streaming and digital content.  Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is “shaping the future of pool.”  For more information about CSI or any of its divisions, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

Dechaine goes undefeated to win 3rd Annual Gotham City Classic/Sharon Fagnoni Memorial

Yu Lung Chang, Pin-Yi Ko, Kevin Buckley (Room owner), Mike Dechaine, and Alex Kazakis

 

Mike Dechaine, who won the inaugural Gotham City Billiard Club 9-Ball Pro Classic in 2015, and finished fourth in 2016, came back to the event on the weekend of October 14-15, and went undefeated to win the 3rd Annual Gotham City Classic, held under the auspices of the Predator Pro Am Tour. Also known as the Sharon “Sam” Fagnoni Memorial, to commemorate Gotham City Billiards’ owner, Kevin Buckley’s sister, who passed away in May of 2015, the $21,500-added event drew a surprisingly low (given the added money and total prize pool involved) 39 entrants to Gotham City Billiards.
 
Dechaine had to go through Taiwan’s Yu Lung Chang to complete his undefeated run. They met first in the hot seat match. Dechaine had sent Marc Vidal to the loss side 10-2 in one of the winners’ side semifinals, while Chang downed Lee Vann Corteza, double hill, in the other. Dechaine claimed the hot seat, double hill, over Chang and waited on his return.
 
On the loss side, Vidal picked up Alex Kazakis, who’d gotten by defending Classic champion, Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn 10-3 and Hunter Lombardo 10-6. Vann Corteza drew Taiwan’s Pin Yi Ko, who’d eliminated Kai Lun Hsu 10-6 and John Morra 10-4.
 
Kazakis and Ko handed Vidal and Vann Corteza their second straight loss; Kazakis, 10-6 over Vidal and Ko, in a double hill win over Vann Corteza. Kazakis advanced another step with a 10-6 win over Ko in the quarterfinals, only to have his loss-side streak ended by Chang 10-6 in the semifinals.
 
Dechaine and Chang locked up in a second double hill fight in the extended race-to-13 finals. Dechaine completed his undefeated run by sinking the last 9-ball and claiming his second Gotham City Classic title.
 
Tour director Tony Robles made note of the fact that while relatively small, the entire field was “humbled and appreciative” of Gotham City Billiards’ owner Kevin Buckley’s sponsorship of this annual event, which has included the addition of increasingly large amounts of money into the prize pool ($11,000 in the first year, $15,000 last year, and $21,500 this year).
 
“I want to send out a HUGE thank you to Kevin and Isabel Buckley for putting this event together,” he said.
 
Robles also thanked a roster of sponsors, including Predator Cues, Ozone Billiards, The NAPL, The DeVito Team, and PoolOnTheNet.com. The next stop on the Predator Pro Am Tour, scheduled for October 28-29, will be a $1,000-added, Double Points event, hosted by Spin City Billiards in Woodside, NY.
 

Shaw goes undefeated to win 5th Annual Steinway Classic

Shane Van Boening, Jayson Shaw and Carlo Biado

It was just the sort of final match that pretty much anyone could have hoped for. The 5th Annual Steinway Classic, held from October 24-26 at Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY came down to two of the best in the business, Shane Van Boening and Jayson Shaw, who, a week earlier had finished 1st and 3rd, respectively, at the 41st Annual US Open 9-Ball Championships. They finished 1st and 2nd in this one, with Shaw coming back from an early deficit in the finals to win it in the end. The $7,000-added event drew 79 entrants to Steinway Billiards.
 
 
As had happened at the 4th Annual Steinway Classic, the 2016 Classic benefited from its temporal proximity to the US Open. Held one week later, the Steinway Classic, for the second year in a row, drew an international field of competitors. By the time it had worked its way down to its final 12 players, only one American, Shane Van Boening, was left.
 
 
Though Shaw and Van Boening were among the winners' side final eight, they never did meet up until the finals. Van Boening, looking real good, shut Dennis Orcollo out to move into a winners' side semifinal against Carlo Biado. To this point, through four opponents, including Dennis Orcollo and Darren Appleton, Van Boening was running at a 73% winning percentage (36-13). Shaw, in the meantime, in his winners' side quarterfinal, sent Kai Lun Hsu to the loss side 9-5 to meet Chun Po King in the other winners' side semifinal. Biado moved into the hot seat on the heels of a 9-5 victory over Van Boening. Shaw joined him with a 9-3 win over King. Shaw claimed the hot seat 9-7 over Biado, completing a six-match run (opening round bye) with just shy of a 63% winning percentage, allowing his opponents between five and six racks per game in the races to nine.
 
 
Over on the loss side, both Appleton and Earl Strickland (along with Nick Milaj and Alex Kazakis) failed to make it among the final 12. Mika Immonen did and defeated Orcollo in a double hill fight and Ruslan Chinakhov 9-6 to pick up Chung Po King. Van Boening drew Vilmos Foldes, who'd eliminated Yi Ko Pin 9-5 and Lee Van Corteza 9-7.
 
 
Van Boening and The Iceman advanced to the quarterfinals with identical 9-4 victories over Foldes and King. Van Boening got out to a comfortable lead on Immonen in those quarterfinals, but the Iceman kept chipping away, until he'd tied things up and eventually forced a deciding 17th game. Van Boening was in his chair as Immonen took aim at the last 10-ball. Normally, he might have jumped up and congratulated Immonen right then and there, but he sat still and watched as Immonen missed an easy, straight-in shot. Immonen literally fell over onto his back with the shock of that miss, and it seemed as though Van Boening never quite recovered from having resigned himself to losing that quarterfinal match.
 
 
On to his re-match against Biado in the semifinals. Again, Van Boening took a  strong lead (7-0), but watched as Biado, like Immonen before him, chipped away at it. Van Boening stopped the bleeding at 9-5 to earn his shot at Shaw in the finals.
 
 
For the third straight time, Van Boening opened a match with a good lead; this time 4-0 before Shaw chalked one up. Shaw won two, in fact, before Van Boening responded with another. Shaw came right back and dropped a six-pack on the Dakota Kid, which included a thoroughly disheartening win that knotted things at 5-5. Van Boening missed an easy shot at the 10-ball, and Shaw came back to hit a full-table-length bank shot to put it in. Shaw went on to win three more and take a lead that he'd never give up.
 
 
At 8-5, Van Boening won his first game since he'd led at 5-2, but Shaw came right back and added three more. Game mode shifted to more safety play at this point. Van Boening chalked up two and pulled within three at 11-8, as the AZBTv commentators began contemplation and hopes for an eventual double hill, final game. 
 
 
Shaw won game #20, but broke dry in game #21. He eventually missed a shot at the 8-ball, and frustrated,  swept the table with his stick to end it. Van Boening won the next game, as well, narrowing Shaw's lead down to two, at 12-10.  Shaw widened the gap to four, with two in a row, reaching the hill at 14-10. Van Boening came back to win one more, but Shaw closed it out to claim the event title. The live stream, which had worked flawlessly all evening long, inexplicably cut out as Shaw was shooting at the 6-ball in that final rack and didn't come back up until Tony Robles was at the microphone for the trophy presentation.
 
 
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his Steinway Billiards' staff for their hospitality and continuing support, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, Molinari by Predator, NAPL, Ozone Billiards, PoolOnTheNet.com, Billiards Press (Phil Cappelle), and The DeVito Team. 

2015 Steinway Classic – Mika Immonen vs Hsu Kai Lun

2015 Steinway Classic – Alex Pagulayan vs Hsu Kai Lun