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Pin-Yi goes undefeated, downs Zielinski in finals of 256-entrant Predator Bucharest Open

Ko Pin-Yi (IDM Pool Tour)

Zielinski takes top prize in 16-entrant Kamui Invitational

Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski has been on something of a roll over the past couple of months, and we all know how important ‘rolls’ are in any billiards game you care to name. He defeated the male half of the Killer Fillers (Joshua) in the finals of the Dynamic Billiard Lasko Open in February and then came across the ocean to down Aloysius Yapp in the finals of CSI’s Alfa Las Vegas Open in March. Last weekend (May 13-15), chalking up his flight miles, he headed back east and landed in Bucharest, Romania, where he claimed the 16-entrant, single-elimination Kamui Invitational title, defeating Boznia-Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic in the finals.

He also appeared in the finals of the concurrently-run, 256-entrant Predator Bucharest Open, but had his winning streak stopped by Taipei’s Ko Pin-Yi, who went undefeated through four rounds of double elimination and five rounds of single elimination play to snatch what would have been Zielinski’s third straight title from him in the finals. Though he’d been cashing in major tournaments all over the world (also on something of a roll and also chalking up his flight miles), it was Pin-Yi’s first recorded major victory since he laid claim to the 2018 China Open Men’s Division title.

Both events were hosted by the 20-year-old IDM Club in downtown Bucharest, about a mile or so east of the Dambovita river, which flows through the city for about 13 miles and is its main water supply. The IDM is a multi-functional sports club that offers members everything from fitness, body-building, swimming pools (a children’s leisure and a “semi-Olympic”), locker rooms, bowling, billiards, snooker, table tennis, darts and a restaurant, bar and children’s playground. US venues, take note.

Each of the 42 Brunswick Gold Crown IV pool tables in the IDM club was employed six times (+4) to get through the event’s opening round. Pin-Yi got through his opening rounds against Levent Kurtulus, Adi Petruscu and Michal Olech with an aggregate score of 27-4 to arrive at the winners’ side qualification round for single-elimination play against David Alcaide. Zielinski, in the meantime, found himself battling increased challenges. He allowed his first opponent, Albert Gabos, only a single rack but gave up six to Maor Shalom, before getting caught up in a double hill battle against Kevin Lannoye, which did eventually send him to the qualifying round versus Mustafa Alnar.

Among those also advancing to the qualifying round on the winners’ side were Shane Van Boening, Oliver Szolnoki, Denis Grabe, Thorsten Hohmann, Alex Kazakis, Mario He and Ko Pinc-Chung (who played each other), and Ralf Souquet and Nick Economopolous (who also played each other). There were 16 who advanced on the winners’ side to be among the 32 who would compete in the first single-elimination round. They were joined by the final 16 on the losers’ side of the bracket.

Two rounds later, the field was down to 8 in the quarterfinals. Ko Pin-Yi faced Souquet, who’d won his only loss-side match and come back to defeat Ko Ping-Chung. Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz faced Dimitri Jungo, Zielinski drew Petri Makkonen and Van Boening took on Mario He.

Ko Pin-Yi got by Souquet and Sanchez-Ruiz downed Jungo, both 11-3. Zielinski eliminated Makkonen 11-8 and Van Boening defeated He 11-9. In the semifinals that followed, Ko Pin-Yi defeated Ruiz 11-7, as Van Boening and Zielinski locked up in only the fourth double hill fight since the opening round of single-elimination play, with Van Boening involved in two of them. Zielinski advanced to face Ko Pin-Yi in the finals. 

Pin-Yi had come to the finals with a 70% game-winning average (79-34). He won 72% of the games he played in the race-to-13 finals against Zielinski, claiming the Predator Bucharest Open title 13-5.

Two out of four matches for Zielinski go double hill in Kamui Invitational

The Kamui Invitational, which required less than 20% of the 42 Brunswick Gold Crown IV’s in the IDM Club, once, to complete its 15-entrant opening round, featured 12 competitors who participated in the open event, Zielinski, Van Boening and David Alcaide among them. Ko Pin-Yi, however, was not on the roster.

Zielinski got by his opening opponent, Davy Piergiovanni well enough, but ran immediately into a double hill match against Naoyuki Oi in the quarterfinals. From the bottom half of the bracket, Zielinski’s eventual opponent in the finals, Sanjin Pehlivanovic, who’d gotten by Alex Montpelier, drew Alex Lely. Ralf Souquet, who’d drawn a bye in the opener, faced Ko Ping-Chung, while Van Boening and Alcaide rounded out the quarterfinal matchups.

Zielinski survived his double hill encounter with Oi and in the semifinals, drew Souquet, who’d eliminated Ping-Chung 8-3. Van Boening defeated Alcaide 8-4 to pick up Pehlivanovic, who’d shut Lely out.

Zielenski walked right into his second straight double hill match, against Souquet, but did advance to the finals. Pehlivanovic dropped Van Boening 8-5 to join him. Zielenski defeated Pehlivanovic 8-5 to claim the Kamui Invitational title and his third victory in as many months.

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Russia, Greece And Estonia Safely Through At World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1
Russia 7-4 Switzerland
Greece 7-2 Serbia
Estonia 7-5 Belgium

Seeded teams Russia, Greece and Estonia all advanced to the second round of the World Cup of Pool on Monday evening, the latter fighting back from 5-1 down to defeat Belgium 7-5 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

Earlier in the session Russia had beaten Switzerland 7-4 to set up a second-round match against Japan, while Greece defeated Serbia 7-2.

Russia, featuring World Champion Fedor Gorst and new playing partner Sergey Lutsker, raced to a 5-0 lead with a combination of confident play and some poor Swiss errors. Russia, despite their strength in the sport, have suffered first round defeats in the last two World Cups. Gorst had yet to advance beyond round one in this event and was made to sweat by Switzerland (Ronald Regli and Dimitri Djungo), who won four consecutive racks to cut the deficit to 5-4.

However, Russia got another chance in the tenth and moved to the hill, before winning the next rack to book their place in round two, where Japan, who defeated Croatia earlier in the day, await.

In the evening’s second match Serbia (Aleksa Pecelj and Andreja Klasović) made a promising start against the Greek pair of Alexander Kazakis and Nick Malai, a pairing who reached the semi-finals last time out. However, the wheels soon came off for the Serbian pair and Greece pulled well clear, winning 7-2. They’ll meet the winners of Canada’s clash with South Africa in round two on Wednesday evening.

Estonia (Denis Grabe and Mark Magi) became the sixth team to advance on the first day of play, but only after surviving an almighty scare against Belgium (Serge Das and Kavin Lannoye).

Das and Lannoye fired themselves to a 5-1 lead, but after a fluid start lost their way with the finish line in sight. A string of errors allowed Estonia to fight back, though they themselves were far from faultless. At 5-4 up, Belgium looked set to reach the hill before a time foul was called against Das, giving Estonia ball in hand to level the match.

A dry break brought Belgium back to the table, but a Lannoye scratch on the 1 gave initiate back to Estonia, who from 5-1 down were now first to the hill and complete their turnaround by running the next to win 7-5. They’ll face either Great Britain or Belarus in the second round on Wednesday.

Round one continues on Monday with sessions at 12 noon and 5:30pm UK time. Matches include Finland vs. Iceland in the afternoon and Spain vs. Italy in the evening.

The World Cup of Pool is broadcast live globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Full broadcast details can be found at matchroompool.com.

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Kaci’s Albania Among Latest Confirmed For World Cup Of Pool

Eklent Kaci’s Albanian team are among a number of nations now confirmed for the World Cup of Pool, which will take place this May 9-14 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, live on Sky Sports.

Mosconi Cup winner Kaci will again be joined by Besar Spahiu after the pair defeated Russia at the 2019 World Cup before falling agonisingly short against Philippines, suffering a 7-5 defeat.

A host of European teams are now confirmed, as well as Kuwait (Omar Al-Shaheen and Bader Abdullah Alawadhi), and Australia, who will again be represented by Justin Sajich, this time partnered by Ivan Li.

Serge Das will return for Belgium alongside Kevin Lannoye, while Bosnia & Herzegovina will make their World Cup of Pool debut with Sanjin Pehlivanovic and Ajdin Piknjac. Philipp Stojanovic and Roberto Bartol will represent Croatia, while the Czech Republic pairing will be Roman Hybler and Michal Gavenciak.

Young Danish star Mickey Krause will make his debut in the Matchroom arena with Bahram Lotfy as the 20-year-old’s partner.

Estonia’s Denis Grabe and Mark Magi, who famously fell out after losing a hill-hill second round match at the last World Cup of Pool, will be hoping nothing comes between them this time around. Oliver Szolnoki and Vilmos Foldes are teaming up for Hungary and there’s a World Cup debut for Lithuania, represented by Pijus Labutis and Kęstutis Žadeikis.

The World Cup of Pool features 32 two-player teams and is played to a straight-knockout format, with a total prize fund of $250,000.

Team Austria (Albin Ouschan and Mario He) will defend their title in Milton Keynes, but competition will be tough with some of the biggest names in pool already confirmed. They include, three-times winners Philippines (Jeff De Luna and Roberto Gomez), USA (Skyler Woodward and Billy Thorpe), and Great Britain A (Jayson Shaw and Chris Melling).

The final teams will be announced shortly and the draw for the World Cup of Pool will be made soon after all teams have been confirmed. The World Cup of Pool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live, with further international broadcasters to be confirmed.