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Filler Runs 213 At American Straight Pool Championship Day Two

Joshua Filler (Courtesy Predator Group)

Day 2 of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship featured rounds 3 & 4 of round- robin competition. Saturday’s at golf tournaments are commonly referred to as “moving day”. The matches on Wednesday had a similar feel to them. Players were either cementing their chances to move into the 24 man single elimination phase, or fighting for the opportunity to keep those chances alive heading into the 5th and final round on Thursday afternoon. There are 7 players currently sporting a 4-0 record: Shane Van Boening, Alex Kazakis, Wiktor Zielinski, Aloysius Yapp, Max Lechner, Albin Ouschan and Earl Strickland.

The highlight of today’s action was provided by Joshua Filler. Filler, who yesterday lost a tight match to Alex Kazakis 125-114, started his day by defeating Mathias Arnold 125-9 and moving his record to 2-1. Next up was Alex Pagulayan, who was also 2-1. Then in less than 65 minutes, Filler produced a 213 ball run and defeated Pagulayan 125 to -1. The run easily outdistanced a 182 ball run posted earlier in the day by Mario He and it also bested the tournament high run of 210 posted yesterday by Van Boening. The run ended on a delicate, almost perpendicular cut on a ball located on the head rail. The object ball came to rest inside the jaws and deep on the shelf of the pocket. Shortly thereafter, Joshua displayed his versatility by teaming up with his wife Pia to provide the commentary on the final streamed match of the evening. Quite a day for the Filler’s.

The following is a breakdown of the advancement scenarios for each Group heading into Thursday’s final round-robin matches. The top 3 players in each flight head to the single elimination phase with the 8 flight winners receiving a 1st round bye. Head to head results break any tie between two players.

Group 1: Shane Van Boening has won the Group. Dennis Grabe (3-1) advances. Ralph Eckert advances with a win vs SVB. Otherwise Bader Alawadhi will advance with a win over Lee Van Corteza. If they both lose, tiebreakers will determine who advances amongst the 3.

Group 2: Ruslan Chinahov and Oliver Szolnoki (both 3-1) face off to determine the Group winner. The loser potentially faces tie breakers with John Morra, Hunter Lombardo and Abdullah Alyousef.

Group 3: Alex Kazakis has won the Group. Josh Filler (3-1) will advance. Alex Pagulayan advances with a win vs Mathias Arnold.

Group 4: Mario He wins the Group with a victory over Alan Duty, otherwise the winner of the Thorsten Holmann/ Mieszko Fortunski match will win the group. However all 3 players advance regardless of tomorrow’s results.

Group 5: Wiktor Zielinski has won the Group. Fedor Gorst and Mika Immonen will also advance.

Group 6: Aloysius Yapp has won the Group. Darren Appleton and Corey Deuel will also advance.

Group 7: Max Lechner has won the Group. Ralph Souquet also advances. Shawn Wilkie and Mohammad Ali Berjaoui face off for the final spot.

Group 8: Albin Ouschan and Earl Strickland (both 4-0) face off to determine the Group winner. The loser will also advance. The final spot will be awarded to the winner of the Konrad Juszczyszyn/Michael Yednak match.

On Thursday, for the first time in the history of this tournament there will be a Women’s division of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship. It is being presented by the PREDATOR GROUP with 15 contestants competing for a purse of $12,000. The field features BCA HOF’s Kelly Fisher and LoreeJon Ogonowski. 3 groups of 5 players will compete in a round-robin format, leading to a single elimination format.

Free streaming is available on the American 14.1 Facebook page, the AZBtv Facebook page and from Istreampool on Youtube. Online brackets are available at Cuescore.com. All matches are played on Diamond Pro-Am tables with Simonis 866 cloth and Predator balls. Corner pockets are 4.5” and the sides are 5”.

He Golden in Capturing FargoRate Ohio Open

Mario He

As crazy as it might sound, Mario He wasn’t exactly overflowing with confidence when he reached the final stages of this weekend’s FargoRate Ohio Open.

The semifinal and finals matches would be played on the event’s main table which is specially lit for televised broadcasts. The more intense wattage gives the equipment’s cloth a more slippery slide and the rails a little different bounce, factors that the Austrian struggled with early on. As a result, He want into the last day of competition with one idea in mind: win both sets to avoid the extra-frame shoot out.

He would ultimately go a step further: avoiding playing an entire rack altogether, as He benefitted from back-to-back pocketed 10 balls on the break to jump out to an early lead and defeat Roberto Gomez in straight sets, 4-4, 4-0, Saturday evening at Roberts Centre in Wilmington. The Austrian, who posted his first tournament victory since the 2019 Veldhoven Open, earned his first win on United States soil by surging ahead when opportunities were presented while also benefitting from mistakes from his opponents.

“Everything went well but it was not my best game,” said He, conceding that his stellar play was met with the occasional fortunate break during the four-day event. “You need some combination of all to win a tournament because there are so many good players.”

Throughout his day of play on the table, He noticed that his break shot was causing a ball from the last row to kick the 10 ball towards the rail. The Austrian decided on hitting the cue ball at slightly less than full power to try and unleash solid contact. What he ultimately unleashed was not one, but two, “golden breaks,” with the 10 ball kicking into the far corner pocket for one win and trickling into the side pocket for another. He broke a third time and watched as the 2 and 10 balls lined up for a combination shot near the side pocket, which he cleanly pocketed.

After taking four shots, He had a 3-0 lead.

“I was feeling pretty bad for my opponent, honestly,” said He.

The sympathy was more-than-likely short-lived, as He failed to pocket a ball on the break in the fourth rack then missed a kick attempt on the 2 ball after a Gomez safety. The Filipino cleared the table, used a break-and-run to pull within a game and won a safety exchange on the 3 ball to tie the set. After his break in the set-deciding rack, Gomez was faced with a tied up 3 and 4 ball, which he attempted a combination shot on but missed.

“I didn’t see a safety available so I went for the shot,” Gomez said after the match.

He cleared the table to snag the set, then took advantage of Gomez misplaying a safety on the 1 ball in the opening rack of the second set and broke and ran to build an early 2-0 advantage. The Austrian tacked on another game after Gomez overcut the 1 ball in the third game and closed out the match when Gomez missed the 3 ball in the fourth game.

After opening his day with defeats of Jeremy Sossei and Daniel Schneider, He didn’t win his semifinal match as much as he dodged defeat, as Russian Ruslan Chinahov matched the Austrian throughout the two-set match but faltered in key situations and allowed He to escape, 4-3, 4-3. After Chinahov jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first set, He took advantage of a dry break from his opponent to win three straight racks. After tying the set with a victorious safety exchange, the Russian appeared to be positioned to run out the rack and claim the set but missed a cut shot on the 7 ball.

“When he missed that ball, it was a shocker to me,” said He, who cleared the remaining balls and won the set, 4-3.

“I’ve been having trouble with my nerves and my hand was shaking,” said Chinahov. “I was trying to fix it but it was difficult to shoot straight.”

He claimed the set, then won three out of four in the second set to grab a 3-1 advantage. Chinahov wasn’t finished, taking advantage of a He foul in the fifth rack to claim the rack, then adding a break-and-run to tie the match, 3-3. Standing at the table with a chance to break and win the set’s deciding rack, Chinahov spread the balls effectively but unfortunately none of them fell into a pocket. He methodically ran the table to advance to the finals.

The runner-up finish was Gomez’s second in the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, having also placed second in last month’s CSI Michigan Open. After defeating Mika Immonen and Devin Poteet, Gomez met fellow Filipino Jeffrey De Luna in the semifinals, who battled back from a 3-0 deficit in the first set to tie the match. After breaking in the deciding rack, De Luna attempted a safety on the 1 ball but instead left a sharp cut shot, which his opponent pocketed and ran out the rack to claim the set, 4-3. After De Luna won the opening rack of the second set, Gomez took advantage of a handful of open shots left by his opponent after safeties to win four consecutive racks and advance to the finals.

The FargoRate Ohio Open was the fourth and final stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which featured four open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $130,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition was played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. Watch replays on Billiard TV  or on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

Final 16 Set for FargoRate Ohio Open

Naoyuki Oi

Most people in the world of professional billiards know Japan’s Naoyuki Oi for his on-camera television interviews.

Blessed with a natural charisma and ad-libbing ability, one never really knows what Oi will do or say. He may dance, he may applaud himself, he may scream – or he may do all of them.

So engaging is Oi with a microphone that it’s easy to overlook just how good he is with a cue – although this year it’s been quite obvious. The 38-year-old racked up top 10 finishes at the World Pool Masters and World Pool Championship and reached the top five of the United States Open Pool Championship and Predator World 10-Ball Championship.

Friday afternoon at the FargoRate Ohio Open, Oi continued build on his resume by remaining undefeated with a straight sets victory over Austria’s Mario He, 4-3, 4-2. The eccentric personality was one of the first competitors of the day to qualify for the final day, single-elimination phase which will begin at Wilmington, Ohio’s Roberts Centre Saturday morning.

Both competitors battled not just each other but the table during the first set, as each twice failed to pocket a ball on the break in seven games. Trailing 3-2, Oi was able to take advantage of back-to-back openings left by his opponent after safeties to steal the last two racks and seal the win, 4-3. The Austrian jumped out to a 2-1 advantage in the second set thanks to a successful safety paired with a missed shot by his opponent in the third rack, but Oi capitalized on an open shot left by He after a safety in the fourth rack to tie the score. After Oi climbed on top 3-2, He had a chance to again tie the match in the sixth rack but missed a long shot on the 9 ball – handing Oi control of the table and a sure victory.

Overall, both players failed to pocket a ball on the break eight times in 13 total racks.

Thorsten Hohmann

Two weeks from now, Thorsten Hohmann will be officially inducted into the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame, as he celebrates a career that has included two World 9-Ball titles and numerous straight pool championships. Although he is in the second-half of his playing career, the German showed Friday afternoon he can still compete at a high level, as Hohmann sent Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski to the one-loss side of the bracket with a straight sets win, 4-2, 4-2.

Hohmann got out to a quick start in the opening set, taking advantage of a Fortunski foul to win the first two games. The German had an opportunity to increase his lead to 3-0 but missed a makeable 9 ball in the corner pocket. Fortunski would win two of the next three games to maintain a one-game deficit and, when Hohmann missed a sharp cut on the 1 ball in the sixth game, the young man from Poland appeared to have a clear path towards tying the score.

That is, until he came up short on position for the 2 ball and left a shot on for his opponent, which Hohmann capitalized on to claim the set.

After breaking and running the opening rack of the second set, Hohmann missed a pair of shots in the next two games which allowed Fortunski to build an early 2-1 lead. The German rallied thanks to a successful jump shot in the fourth rack, a victorious safety exchange in the fifth game and a missed 3 ball by Fortunski in the next rack to win three straight and advance to Saturday’s second phase.

Later in the day, things weren’t looking so good for Alex Kazakis. He was already on the one-loss side of the bracket and seemed like he couldn’t buy a break. The Greek had just committed a foul and a scratch and watched as opponent Evan Lunda took advantage to claim the opening set of their match, 4-1.

The tables would turn in the second set, as Kazakis used a pair of Lunda fouls to build a 2-0 lead then added back-to-back breaks-and-runs to close out a 4-0 shutout and force a deciding shootout, The Greek was perfect in the extra inning, pocketing four consecutive spot shots while Lunda could only convert three of the spotted 10 balls.

Also reaching the single-elimination phase is fellow Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Mika Immonen, who recovered from a winner’s side loss to American Jeremy Sossei by eliminating reigning CSI Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp on the one-loss side. Immonen’s win was one of a handful of late evening upsets which occurred, as American Devin Poteet took out Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki and Texan Jeremy Seaman defeated Fortunski on the one-loss side. Seaman, who gave Filipino Roberto Gomez Jr. all he could handle in the second round before falling in a shootout, rallied on the one-loss side of the bracket by winning three consecutive matches.

Brackets will now be re-drawn as the format now changes from double-elimination to the single-elimination knockout stage, beginning with four round-of-16 matches Saturday morning. A live broadcast of the tournament begins at noon on Billiard TV and also will be available on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

The FargoRate Ohio Open is the fourth and final stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features four open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $130,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

This competition was played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.

For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.

For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. Watch replays on Billiard TV  or on the WorldBilliardTV YouTube channel.

Gomez goes undefeated to claim 10-ball title in inaugural Omega Diamond Open

Roberto Gomez

Late September through the end of October has become something of a magnet for tournaments following the World 10-Ball Championship & US Open Pool Championship and leading up to Pat Fleming’s International Open in Norfolk, VA, scheduled this year for the week of October 22-30. Players from around the world come to the US and in the hopes of killing the proverbial two (or three or four) birds with a single stone (trip), move about the country, hoping to win a little extra cash as they move geographically toward the International Open.

If the winners’ side final four of the $10,000-added, 10-ball tournament is any indication, the 1st Annual Omega Diamond Open in Aiken, SC is in for one hell of a week of non-stop pool. The field of 32 entrants began its quest for the Open’s first 10-ball title on Tuesday (Sept. 28th) and concluded on Wednesday night. The field worked its way down to that final four on the winners’ side and featured the eventual winner, Roberto Gomez, battling Dennis Orcollo, as Alex Pagulayan and Fedor Gorst squared off in the other one.

The hot seat match between Gomez and Gorst, their first of two, went double hill, sending Gorst to the semifinals and leaving Gomez in the hot seat .

Waiting for the defeated players from those two matches (Orcollo and Pagulayan) were Joshua Filler and Mario He, who’d just defeated, respectively, Jayson Shaw and Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki. The winners’ side final four proved to be the end of the line for The Lion and Dennis Orcollo, as Filler downed Pagulayan and He eliminated Orcollo.

Filler downed He in the quarterfinals 7-2, but had his run stopped by Gorst 7-3 in the semifinals. The rematch between Gorst and Gomez in the true double elimination finals needed only a single set, won by Gomez 7-4 to become the 1st Annual Omega Diamond Open’s first player to claim an event title.

As we ‘speak,’ the $3,000-added Banks Open Division is underway. Further reports will follow.

Later this evening (Thursday, Sept. 30), the $7,500-added 9-Ball Mixed Doubles Invitational will get going, as will the $10,000-added One Pocket tournament. Beginning on Saturday (Oct. 2), the $10,000-added 9-Ball main event will begin, as will the $2,500-added Ladies 9-Ball Open.

Defending Champion Joshua Filler Out As US Open Last 16 Draw Made

Defending champion Joshua Filler bowed out of the US Open Pool Championship at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City as 9-ball’s toughest tournament moved down to the last 16.

Scores

Alexander Kazakis, Billy Thorpe, and Judd Trump were amongst the names to depart in the morning session before the afternoon and evening action got underway with Francisco Sanchez Ruiz coming from 5-0 down to defeat Shane Van Boening 11-6 to join the last 16.

The Spaniard pounced on an uncharacteristic scratch from Van Boening in the 10th rack and then did the same in the 15th after it looked like the five-time champion would clear the table to cut the deficit to 8-7. Instead, Sanchez Ruiz went 9-6 up and completed a memorable comeback.

Reigning champion Filler followed up from that match knocking out America’s Skyler Woodward in an 11-4 victory that saw the German continue his route towards the last 16. Mieszko Fortuński was next in Filler’s way. Fortuński has battled away throughout the week and put in arguably one of his biggest wins of his career so far to defeat Filler 11-3 in front of a packed crowd around table two. That result saw Filler’s tournament end whilst Fortuński continued his march.

David Alcaide joined his compatriot Sanchez Ruiz in the last 16, the 2019 World Pool Masters champion was trailing for large parts of his match against the Netherlands’ Marc Bijsterbosch but came through 11-8 to put himself in the draw.

There will be four Filipinos come Friday, Dennis Orcollo had wrapped his place up earlier on against Olivér Szolnoki and was swiftly joined by Johann Gonzales Chua who got the better of Mieszko Fortuński in winners’ qualification. Rodrigo Geronimo bypassed Niels Feijen 11-6 to become the third name in the hat.

Jayson Shaw’s US Open title efforts took an almighty dent early on losing out to Denis Grabe of Estonia meaning the Scotsman had to do battle in the losers’ qualification round where he came against a hungry Carlo Biado. Biado came fresh off the back of beating Jeffrey De Luna and he continued his demolition work to come out on top 11-4 to send Shaw home.

Max Lechner has gone about his business quietly all week and that work has paid dividends as he beat Rodrigo Geronimo 11-2 to make the last 16 on his US Open debut.

Van Boening came back after defeat to Filler to face Albin Ouschan later in the evening after Ouschan had defeated Chang Jung-Lin 11-1. In front of the biggest crowd of the tournament to date, Van Boening put on a masterclass in cueing, safety, and everything in-between as the five-time champion downed the World Champion in an 11-2 crushing to keep those eyes firmly set on becoming the most successful player ever at the US Open.

Other Losers Qualification Results

John Morra 11-6 Mickey Krause
Niels Feijen 6-11 Rodrigo Geronimo
Mario He 11-5 Olivér Szolnoki
Naoyuki Oi 11-4 Marc Bijsterbosch
Marco Teutscher 11-6 Darren Appleton

The Last 16 Draw
Aloysius Yapp vs Shane Van Boening (Table 1)
Denis Grabe vs Rodrigo Geronimo (Table 3)
Max Lechner vs Mieszko Fortuński (Table 4)
Dennis Orcollo vs Mario He (Table 2)
Johann Gonzales Chua vs John Morra (Table 3)
David Alcaide vs Carlo Biado (Table 1)
Fedor Gorst vs Marco Teutscher (Table 4)
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz vs Naoyuki Oi (Table 2)

Watch
Fans can take in Table 1 live on the TV broadcast wherever you are in the world on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Sky Sports in the UK. Find out where you can watch the US Open Pool Championship in your country right here.

Table 2 is free to watch and available on the Matchroom Pool YouTube here.

Ticket prices start from $31.24 per session for the single-elimination stage.

Get your tickets here. 

The 2021 US Open Pool Championship will be partnered by Diamond, who supply the Official Table; the Official Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are ARAMITH Tournament BLACK pool ball set with Duramith™ Technology by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Kamui are the Official Chalk and Tip. The US Open Pool Championship is sanctioned by the WPA.

Joshua Filler wins the Dynamic Billard St. Johann i.P. Open 2021

In an epic battle, the “Killer-Filler” Joshua Filler (GER) took down Mario He (AUT) with 9:8.

The final match was contested between Mario He and Joshua Filler. It was broadcasted LIVE on Austrian TV ORF+. The local Organizer, Theo Riedlecker has together with the Austrian Federation ÖPBV and its Press Officer, Andreas Kronlachner, once more done a great job in organising LIVE TV for the tournament’s mens final.

Mario He drew first blood in the final match. He broke and ran the table with a dreamlike certainty to get a 1:0 lead over Filler. Filler started his game after that and had to throw in a few safety shots, which he managed perfectly, so that he could equalise at 1:1. After winning his next break rack, Mario He also managend to snatch a rack from Filler in order to gain a 3:1 advantage. He had the big chance to gain a three point lead over Filler, but the German didn’t like that idea too much. Filler stopped He’s victory march and took another rack to make the score 2:3. Again, Mario He managed to win a few racks in a row and pull away with 6:2. But Filler stuck to him like chewing gum and could not be shaken off. After twelve racks, the scoreline was 7:5 for Mario He. There were clouds on the horizon for Filler. Mario He was only two racks away from victory with Filler’s break shot coming up in rack thirteen. What happened next was inevitable. Filler broke dry again with no balls dropping in any pocket, leaving an open table for Mario He. Would Filler be able to once again weather the storm? Not if Mario He took his chances. The Austrian cleared the table and ran all balls until he got to the 7-ball. There he fell out of position and missed the next shot. Filler cloud not believe him being given a second life in this match. Instead of trailing 5:8 he was now on Mario He’s neck, trailing only 6:7. In rack fourteen, Mario He once again played a bad safety shot and allowed Filler to clear the table to tie the match at 7:7. The Filler went for his time-out and collected all the energy he could for the last stage of the final match. The heat was on Mario He now. He had Filler almost with one foot in the grave and now everything was out in the open. The Austrian picked himself up and played at top level to get to the hill first. Now the heat was again on for Filler. He knew that a single mistake would be the end of the match for him. Filler performed ice-cold and showed no nerves, running all balls to get to blows in St. Johann with a hill-hill match at 8:8. The next rack would decide the winner. Mario He had the advantage to break the rack. He had the 4-ball down and the layout looked very promising for him. But to the shock of the audience, Mario He missed the 1-ball. Filler played a safety shot and Mario He committed a foul shot. That was it for this match! Joshua Filler ran the rack and took the title, relegating Mario He to the seat of the runner-up in this event.

“After having lost the first match in this tournament, I would have never expected to make it to the final match”, stated Mario He after the match. “I only won the second Euro-Tour in my career”, mentioned Joshua Filler, “that clearly indicates how difficult it is to win a Euro-Tour event”. “I would like to dedicate this victory to my former sponsor and mentor Andreas Sommer who unfortunately passed away four years ago. This Euro-Tour event in St. Johann was the first one for me ever and if he would see me now winning it, I know he would be very proud of me”, mentioned Filler.

During the event, over 850 antigen and PCR tests have been carried out for players and staff. Not one positive result has been recorded.

Dynamic Billard St. Johann im Pongau Open 2021
Top Eight Players
1. Joshua Filler GER
2. Mario He AUT
3. David Alcaide ESP
Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz ESP
5. Jose Alberto Delgado ESP
Alexander Kazakis GRE
Wojciech Szewczyk POL
Wiktor Zielinski POL

That concludes the coverage of the Dynamic Billard St. Johann i.P. Open 2021. For further information please visit our website www.epbf.com or contact us press@epbf.com.

Slovakia Stun Austria To Knock Defending Champs Out Of World Cup Of Pool

ROUND 1 RESULTS
Japan 7-1 Croatia
Czech Republic 7-4 Hungary
Austria 1-7 Slovakia

World Cup of Pool debutants Slovakia stunned defending champions Austria, knocking out the No.1 seeds with a brilliant 7-1 victory on the opening afternoon at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

Albin Ouschan and Mario He have reached the last three World Cup finals, lifting the trophy in 2017 and 2019. However, Jakub Koniar and Jaroslav Polach barely gave their opponents a chance as Slovakia proved exactly why they had been invited for the first time. A little luck along the way helped but Koniar and Polach looked calm at the table as they ran four of the seven racks won to advance to the second round.

“It is amazing,” said Koniar. “We had a little bit of luck in the beginning but with the 1-ball on the spot and winner breaks, you can even beat the best team in the world.

“We knew we could win. I have beaten Albin a few times, Jaro has won against both players in the Austrian Bundesliga, so we knew if we played our best game we could win.

“We practiced the break all last weekend together,” added Polach. “We played a hard break, the cue ball control was good, and we had a little bit of luck, but from 2-1 to 6-1 they weren’t at the table. In this game you can beat anybody in the world.”

Slovakia will face Czech Republic in the second round after a 7-4 success over Hungary for the Czechs.

“It will be a federal derby,” said Jaroslav. “We play every year something like the Mosconi Cup between Czech Republic and Slovakia. It hasn’t played last year because of Covid so now we will play one scotch doubles to see who is best!”

The event opened with Japanese favourite Naoyuki Oi, alongside debutant Masato Yoshioka, up against Croatian duo Philipp Stojanovic and Roberto Bartol.

Yoshioka earned his first appearance in the World Cup on the back of a fine run of form prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. A win in the Kansai Open in his homeland and a bronze medal at the World 10-Ball Championship helped him rise to Japanese No.1 and World No. 36.

In their opening match, he actually looked the more comfortable of the pair, his experienced partner struggling at times with cue-ball control. Croatia, though, were really struggling. Japan only ran out one rack, so even with the winner breaks format the Europeans had chances, but they were only able to take one of them and Japan eventually won 7-1, a result which meant TV viewers were treated to another colourful Oi interview.

“It was a very fast match today, the table was playing very quick with the new ball and the new cloth. It was difficult but my teammate was confident,” he said, before treating those watching to a victory dance. “In the next round it will be Russia, they have the World Champion, or Switzerland who are very good, they have strong players. But Japan will play to win.”

After Japan’s cruising first-round victory, the clash between Czech Republic (Petr Urban and Michal Gavenciak) and Hungary (Oliver Szolnoki and Vilmos Foldes) was a more attritional affair. The Czech team’s preparations were hit when Roman Hybler had to withdraw less than a week before the event, but Urban proved a worth deputy.

The first six racks were shared before the Czech team pulled ahead and moved to the hill at 6-3 up. Hungary fought back briefly but their campaign was ended when Urban and Gavenciak won the 11th for a 7-4 victory.

The World Cup of Pool continues from 5:30pm (UK time) this evening with three more first round matches; Russia will face Switzerland, Greece take on Serbia and Estonia are up against Belgium.

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.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Draw Made For World Cup Of Pool

Austria will begin their World Cup of Pool title defence against Slovakia, while hosts Great Britain A will face debutants Belarus in the first round of the doubles tournament, which begins on Sunday, May 9 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, live on Sky Sports.

Among the standout first-round ties is Great Britain B (Kelly Fisher & Allison Fisher) against three-time champions Philippines (Roberto Gomez & Jeff De Luna), while 2019 semi-finalists Spain will face Italy.

The 16 seeded teams were automatically placed into the draw brackets, with 16 unseeded teams drawn at random. The draw is set for the whole tournament, with some mouth-watering potential second-round match ups including USA vs. Philippines.

Defending champions Austria (Albin Ouschan & Mario He) also lifted the World Cup in 2017 and could become the first pairing to win the trophy three times.

The tournament will begin on Sunday, May 9 with fan-favourites Japan (Naoyuki Oi & Masato Yoshioka) in action against Croatia (Philipp Stojanovic & Roberto Bartol). All first round matches are race to 7, with three matches per session and two sessions per day. The first round will complete on Tuesday, May 11 with Great Britain A (Jayson Shaw & Chris Melling) facing Belarus’ all-female pairing of Margarita Fefilova & Yana Halliday. Halliday’s husband, Richard, will represent South Africa alongside brother Vincent. They face Canada (Alex Pagulayan & John Morra) in the first round.

The World Cup of Pool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live, with further international broadcasters to be confirmed.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

MATCH SCHEDULE

Sunday, May 9 (12:00-16:00)
R1: Japan vs. Croatia
R1: Czech Republic vs. Hungary
R1: Austria vs. Slovakia

Sunday, May 9 (17:30-21:30)
R1: Russia vs. Switzerland
R1: Greece vs. Serbia
R1: Canada vs. South Africa

Monday, May 10 (12:00-16:00)
R1: Netherlands vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina
R1: Finland vs. Iceland
R1: Albania vs. Denmark

Monday, May 10 (17:30-21:30)
R1: Spain vs. Italy
R1: Germany vs. Lithuania
R1: USA vs. Australia

Tuesday, May 11 (12:00-16:00)
R1: Philippines vs. Great Britain B
R1: Poland vs. Kuwait
R1: Estonia vs. Belgium

Tuesday, May 11 (17:30-21:30)
R2: Austria/Slovakia vs. Czech Republic/Hungary
R2: Canada/South Africa vs. Greece/Serbia
R1: Great Britain A vs. Belarus

Wednesday, May 12 (12:00-16:00)
R2: Russia/Switzerland vs. Japan/Croatia
R2: Finland/Iceland vs. Netherlands/B&H
R2: Spain/Italy vs. Albania/Denmark

Wednesday, May 12 (17:30-21:30)
R2: Germany/Lithuania vs. Poland/Kuwait
R2: USA/Australia vs. Philippines/Great Britain B
R2: Estonia/Belgium vs. Great Britain A/Belarus

Thursday, May 13 (12:00-16:00)
Quarter-final 1
Quarter-final 2

Thursday, May 13 (17:30-21:30)
Quarter-final 3
Quarter-final 4

Friday, May 14 (12:00-16:00)
Semi-final 1
Semi-final 2

Friday, May 14 (17:30-21:30)
Final

First Teams Confirmed For World Cup Of Pool

2019 Winners Mario He and Albin Ouschan

Defending Champions Austria are among the first teams to be confirmed for the 2021 World Cup of Pool, which will be played from May 9-14 in Milton Keynes, England, live on Sky Sports.

The Austrian duo and of Albin Ouschan and Mario He will be looking to lift their third World Cup title. They defeated Philippines 11-3 in the 2019 final, the third successive time they had reached title match. They had previous won the event in 2017 when they beat USA in the final, and in 2018 fell just short of defending their crown when they were overcome by China in Shanghai.

Having waited almost two years for the chance to defend their title, Austria’s Ouschan is excited to reunite with his playing partner.

“The wait is over,” said Ouschan, who is currently playing in Predator Championship League Pool. “I will see Mario to get some practice at the end of April, it will be the first time since March last year that I have been able to see him.

“It is awesome to play with Mario. There is no big secret but we are friends and we know each other’s game. In the last three years I don’t think there has even been one match where we have both played a really good set, it has always been that one was playing better than the other and saved us. In 2017 it was probably me who saved us, in the second year when we lost to China we both played well, but last time it was definitely Mario and he was the MVP of the tournament.”

Also confirmed for the World Cup of Pool is the Dutch duo of Niels Feijen and Marc Bijsterbosch. As host nation, Great Britain will have two teams in the event. The ‘A’ team will be announced shortly, and the ‘B’ Team can be confirmed as Women’s World 9-Ball Champion Kelly Fisher, and Hall of Famer Allison Fisher.

“I am really looking forward to the World Cup of Pool,” said Kelly Fisher. “It will be me and Allison together, playing doubles against the guys, it will be great fun. We will be out there to do some damage, it will be super exciting for the fans, and for us too.”

Finland will be represented by Petri Makkonen and Casper Matikainen, who will make his World Cup debut. Poland’s team will be Mieszko Fortunski and Wojciech Szewczyk, while Spanish pair David Alcaide and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz return after making the semi-finals last time out. Naoyuki Oi will be back for Japan and this year will be partnered by Masato Yoshioka.

The World Cup of Pool features 32 two-player teams and is played to a straight-knockout format. The remaining 25 players and teams will be confirmed over the coming weeks.

The World Cup of Pool will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live, with further international broadcasters to be confirmed.

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Mario He Player Interview

Mario and Albin Ouschan

With the lack of events to report on at the moment, we are teaming with the Supr Charged Agency to feature interviews with various European and American players. Hopefully this will give all of the readers a chance to get to know these players better. 
 
First off, we have Mario “Panda” He from Austria.
 
Mario He was born August 3rd, 1993 in Rankweil, Austria. He is a former winner of the European Pool Championships, and winner of both the 2017 and 2019 World Cup of Pool events alongside Albin Ouschan. He has also won five Euro Tour events between 2016 and 2019, an accomplishment shared with only six other players in history.
 
Read more about his fifth Euro Tour win here.
 
Q. First off, can you tell us about the Panda nickname? How and when did that get started?
 
A. Well, Albin called me that once, and I guess it fits me.
 
Q. When did you get started with the game?
 
A. I started playing in 2004 at the age of 11 years old at a pool hall called "Patrick´s” in Ranweil.
 
My idol when growing up and still to this very day, is Wu Jiaqing. I am impressed by the Chinese players and I can see that China produces a lot of great young players.
 
Q. What first got you interested in playing pool?
 
A. A friend in my school took me to the pool club and when I started playing, I immediately loved it. i just love the way the game is set up, always different layouts, and limitless ways to  improve your game.
 
Q. What are your greatest accomplishments so far in your career? 
 
A. 2 x World Cup of Pool Champion
5 x Eurotour Winner
European Champion
 
Q. Can you tell us a little about those wins?
 
A. Both WCOP wins were amazing, especially the 2nd one after a very bad time in my career (4 months ban). I can still feel the consequences and it‘s more than 1 year ago.
 
All the Eurotour wins were great, because I guess it‘s one of the toughest tournaments to win since there are so many great players from Europe competing and many unknown, but fantastic players participating.
 
Q. How often did you practice when you were getting started? 
 
A. When I was younger I practiced 5-7 days a week and 3-6 hours each session. I felt addicted to pool and I got so excited just to enter the pool club.  
 
Q. How about now? Do you still practice that much?
 
A. Today I‘m playing so many events that I don‘t have so much time to get to practice, but when I have a week off, I go 4-5 times a week and the session is 2-4 hours. I use some drills, but mostly I replay difficult situations from previous matches and standard shots.
 
Q. What should newcomers to the game focus on the most?
 
A. The most important thing is to get a good straight stroke. It‘s also important to be able to play all shots both without and with english. Having those basics makes the more difficult steps much easier.
 
Q. What do you consider the strongest part of your own game?
 
A. I am getting stronger in critical situations and have a good shot selection. 
 
Q. What is your favorite game and why?
 
A. 9-ball and straight pool. 9-ball is a very dynamic and offensive game, but also a little defense is needed to be successful. There are many 2-way shots and in 9-ball the craziest best shots are made.
 
Straight pool was one of the first disciplines which I was practicing every day until today. It‘s a great game to improve your own game, seeing different ways to run out a rack and get to know a lot about splitting balls.
 
Q. Is fitness important for pool players?
 
A. Yes, fitness is important for pool players, especially for tournament players who need to stay focused in tournaments over a period of time. It’s also smart to have good fitness for your overall health.
 
Q. What are the 3 most important factors in terms of technique?
 
A. 1. Having a straight stroke 
2. Having good cue action 
3. Stay down during the shot
 
Q. Which players do you think are the tops in those aspects of the game today?
 
A. It‘s difficult to say who has the best stroke today. I think Joshua Filler and Fedor Gorst are the straightest shooters and Jayson Shaw and Jeffrey De Luna might have the best cue action. As far as what I would call a smooth stroke, I really like Ruslan Chinakhov’s stroke.  
 
Q. How is your own mental strength and do you have any advice for players who need to work on that part of their game?
 
A. I think my own mental strength is at a top level. I love to get into pressure situations and I can handle it. I have never felt the Mosconi Cup situation, but I‘m looking forward to getting to know the feeling of this event one day.
 
In terms of advice, I can say that you need to be self-critical and work on your weaknesses. Take advice from the right people and play with stronger opponents. Play big events to get stronger.
 
Q. How important is the equipment you play with?
 
A. Nowadays there are so many different products on the market that the importance of having the right equipment is very important. 
 
For example, the chalk. I actually think this might be one of the most important factors when it comes to the equipment.
 
Even before I got sponsored by them, I used the TAOM chalk. I think it‘s the best chalk at the market right now. Since I started using TAOM chalk about a year and half ago, I have gotten maybe 2-3 skids total. The chalk just feels good, not too creamy and it has a good grip on the tip.
 
Q. In your opinion, what is required to be a good ambassador/sponsored player?
 
A. It‘s important to represent the sponsor on the events the sponsored player plays. Also social media is a good way to announce your sponsors after a post. The communication has to be good between player and sponsor, also everyone has to treat each other very well and represent each other the best way they can. The most important thing is that both parts are satisfied with what they get from each other. Different sponsors may want different things. A local company from Austria, for example, wants to see the player on national TV and not just in a stream of some event. 
 
Q. What's the main differences between events in Europe and the US?
 
A. Usually in the US there is more prize money because there is also a higher entry fee, which I think is good. In Europe I think we have very well organized tournaments. It‘s a different feeling when you play an event in Europe, like the Eurotour. You feel straight from the 1st round that it‘s a tournament and not a gambling game. In the US you might have some side action going on, which is not bad, but I think it‘s always important to concentrate on one thing.
 
Q. What are your goals for 2020?
 
A. At the moment it‘s difficult to tell my goals for this year because of the situation right now. I cancelled the US Open because I‘m not allowed to fly to the US. (Ed. Note: This interview took place before the US Open’s Postponement)
 
I‘m always trying to play my best game and to win as much as possible. This year I am not sure what‘s going to be played and which tournaments are going to be postponed or even cancelled.
 
Q. Who do you think will win the big events this year? 
 
A. – World Cup of Pool
I hope Austria 😉
 
– US Open
SVB or Filler
 
– 9-ball WC
I hope ME, but many players can win this event.
 
– 2020 Mosconi Cup 
EUROPE!
 
This interview was conducted in partnership with Supr Charged Agency, specializing in exposure for billiard players and brands.