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Day Two Completes In Treviso

Szymon Kural

DAY TWO OF the Dynamic Billard Italian Open played out today (Saturday) at the Best Western Premium BHR Treviso Hotel. With 230 players and 20 tables, there are plenty of matches to get through and as a consequence the Italian Open is extended to four days, concluding on Monday evening with the live televised semi-finals and final.

There are 32 players remaining on the winner’s side of the bracket including Poland’s Szymon Kural who earlier this week triumphed in the WPA Predator World U19 Championship. The 18-year-old from Krakow went undefeated through that tournament, and after a brief pit stop in home town Krakow, hit the road bound for Treviso.

So far, he has three wins from three matches and defeated French No.1 Alex Montpelier 9-6 in the main arena to book his spot in the winners’ qualification round where he will face Alex Kazakis (Greece) at midday on Sunday.

Commented Kural; “It feels fine, nice, because again, I played very well. I beat a very good player and Alex also played very well. His break though, didn’t work so good and my break was a bit better so overall I’m happy and looking forward to playing Alex Kazakis tomorrow.

“I’m tired but I’ll fight till the end and we’ll see how that works. I will do my best as always and I will try to play my best pool. I’m feeling quite confident because four days ago I won the best title of my life – the World Junior Championship – so I’m confident and I’ll have a lot of fun,” he added.

Another Pole, Wiktor Zielinski, is still on course to usurp the No.1 spot from Francisco Sanchez Ruiz as he too finds himself in the winners’ qualification draw where he will face Tomasz Kaplan. Other big guns still undefeated include Mario He, Eklent Kaci, Niels Feijen, Ronni Regli, Dennis Grabe and veteran Ralf Souquet.

Jonas Souto

On the losers’ side of the draw, the final featured match was a cracker between another former WPA World Junior Champion in Spain’s Jonas Souto and experienced Romanian Babken Melkonyan. The Bucharest man played at a high level as he led throughout but struggled as the finishing line approached.

Souto’s break wasn’t working to any great effect and it was Melkonyan who reached the hill first at 8-6, having led 4-1 in the early stages.  A snooker from Souto saw Melkonyan escape but scratch in the process. With ball-in-hand, the Spaniard made hard work of it but soon found himself level at 8-8. Breaking for the match, Souto found something and delivered his best of the match and from there he ran out for a tight victory.

He said afterwards, “I don’t know how I won that! It was strange in the beginning as I didn’t make a miss and I was 4-1 down as he didn’t miss a ball. He was playing perfect and I managed to comeback under pressure and he missed a little bit more but he played unbelievable. I tried my best all the time and I won 9-8 but it was a difficult, tough match. I think I was breaking well but just didn’t get the rolls but in the last rack I had the luck and made the run out.

“At this Euro Tour, if you lose in the first or second rounds, you need a lot of energy for all those matches because there’s five or six of them to get through but I’ll give it my best and if I do, I do. And if not then it’s onto the next one,” he added.

Play continues tomorrow (Sunday) with the remainder of Losers’ Round Three, followed by two more Losers’ Side rounds, then the last 32 qualification matches on both sides of the bracket. Play commences at 9.00am.

As well as the prize money, there are Tour ranking points on offer as well as world ranking points, so there is everything to play for. All Euro Tour tournaments are 9-ball and players compete in a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 32 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are races to 9 racks with alternate break.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com as well as selected matches on Facebook Live on the EPBF page. In addition, the semi-finals and final, played out on Monday night, will be live or highlights on the following television stations across Europe;

SportKlub HD – Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia,
Bosnia Herzegovina, Greece
Eyecons – Netherlands)
SportKlub – Poland
ORF – Austria
B1B Box – Bulgaria

Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Sanchez-Ruiz Is Predator World 8-Ball Champion

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz

Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz continued a remarkable year by winning the Predator World 8-Ball Championship, defeating Wiktor Zielinski 10-6 in the final at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan.

A packed crowd saw the Spaniard, who has earned an army of new fans this week, add a first World Championship to the Derby City Classic, three EuroTours, World Cup and US Open he has won this year. He ascended to the top of the World rankings this year too, a position further cemented after this event.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed a year which, with the addition of a World title to his résumé, must be considered as one of the greatest of any player in the sport’s history.

“It has been an amazing year for me, especially this tournament, because I never won a World Championship,” said Sanchez-Ruiz, whose trophy and gold medal comes with a $60,000 winners’ prize.

“I have won a Junior World championship but not this kind of event. Last year I won my biggest title and now I became World Champion, I cannot believe it. My goal is to keep working and be better and better every day but to win a World Championship is a dream for everyone.

“I want to continue playing like this. I could feel in every single moment here that all the Puerto Rican’s were supporting me and I think that is why I came back. In the beginning I didn’t play super good but I made a couple of good racks which gave me extra confidence.

“After I won the Derby, everything changed in my mind, that was very important for me this year. It has been amazing, but now I am looking for the Mosconi Cup. I won a lot of tournaments but the most important thing was the first big one.”

The Spaniard got off to a perfect start in the final when Zielinski’s dry break left a nice layout for Sanchez-Ruiz, who took a 1-0 lead. The Pole leveled with Sanchez-Ruiz wasn’t able to execute a difficult bank for the 7, and he didn’t give up control of the table as he quickly reached 3-1. A dry break brought ‘FSR’ back to the table to make it 3-2. Zielinski wasn’t in his chair for long, however, and less than 40 minutes into the final was already halfway to the title at 5-2.

Sanchez-Ruiz was just as quick to join Zielinski on 5, taking advantage when his opponent missed the 11 to take out three racks and level the match. The Spaniard was in stroke and confident, and had the crowd behind him. He took the lead at 6-5 and didn’t look likely to surrender the table any time soon.

The event had been well supported all week, and for the final even standing room was at a premium. Those in attendance were being treated to a world-class display from Sanchez-Ruiz, who had won six in a row to lead 8-5 before two kicks on the cue ball meant he scratched on the break. Zielinski cleared for 8-6 but a scratch in the side pocket allowed Sanchez-Ruiz to the hill.

Zielinski had a final chance at 9-6 down but a missed bank brought the World No.1 to the table and it wasn’t long until the 8 was down and Sanchez-Ruiz was standing to hear his national anthem beamed across the arena.

The medal ceremony awarded bronze to Jayson Shaw, beaten 10-7 by Zielinski in the semi-finals, and Mario He, who also lost 10-7. The Austrian was defeated by Sanchez-Ruiz, who had also ended the hopes of Konrad Juszczyszyn, Robbie Capito and Fedor Gorst in the knockout stages.

The Predator Pro Billiard Series will return in 2023, starting with the Kamui World Women’s 9-Ball Championship in Atlantic City, NJ from January 19-22.

Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Kural, Gnadeberg, Hong take home Predator World Junior Titles

Karl Gnadeberg, Xin Yu Hong and Szymon Kural

Szymon Kural, Karl Gnadeberg and Xin Yu Hong are celebrating being crowned World Champions after claiming gold in their respective divisions of the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan on Monday.

Poland’s Kural defeated Yuma Dorner of Germany 11-6 in the Under-19s final. That was after Gnadeberg of Estonia had won the Under-17s division, beating Lang Yi Li of Hong Kong, China 9-5 in their championship match.

Chinese Taipei’s Xin Yu Hong had the support of reigning World Women’s 10-Ball Champion Chou Chieh-Yu as she beat South Korea’s Kim Hyerim 9-4 to lift the Girls title. It was Kim’s second consecutive final defeat after she also took silver last year, when she lost to Austria’s Lina Primus, a bronze medalist this year.

Kural scored an 11-9 victory over Germany’s Dennis Laszkowski to reach the final, while Dorner was an emphatic 11-1 victor over Chinese Taipei’s Yi Hsuan Sun in his semi-final. At the age of 18, this was Kural’s last chance to win a World Junior title and he was delighted to take home the gold.

“I don’t have any words,” said Kural. “I am very excited and especially happy because last year I lost in the final but now to win in 2022 is super exciting, and I am very happy.

“My family will be really happy and I am looking forward to going back home and celebrating with my friends and family. I want to get better and better and play tournaments around the world.”

Gnadeberg took the Under-17 title with perhaps his best shot reserved for the very end of the final when he jumped the 8 to make the 6 and draw the cue back down for inch-perfect position on the 7.

“Kick wasn’t available, so I decided to bring the jump cue,” said the Estonian. “The only way I could make it was to bring a draw and I never actually did it before, but it came out perfectly and I was amazed.”

Finland’s Juri Narvola and Serbia’s Lazar Kostic took bronze in the Under-17s division, while those medals went to USA’s Bethany Tate and Austria’s 2021 World Girls Champion Lina Primus. The final was won by Hong, who defeated Kim 9-4 having earlier beaten Tate 9-2.

“I am very happy,” said Hong. “It was a warm feeling to have the whole team from Chinese Taipei supporting me. My next goal is to defend the title next year!’

In the Predator World 8-Ball Championship, Shane van Boening crashed out in the last 32 at the hands of Frenchman Alex Montpellier. The World 9-ball Champion had reached single elimination undefeated but struggled against an inspired Montpellier, who won 10-7, only to be eliminated himself in the last 16, losing 10-2 to last week’s Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open finalist Daniel Maciol.

The quarter-final line-up comprises Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, who has a chance to cap an incredible year with a world title. He’ll face Konrad Juszczyszyn in the last eight, which begins 10am on Tuesday morning. Maciol takes on Mario He, while an all-Polish quarter-final sees World 10-Ball Champion Wojciech Szewczyk up against Wiktor Zielinski.

Seven of the quarter-finalists are European, the exception being Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, who will face Jayson Shaw for a place in the semi-finals. Shaw beat Joshua Filler in a thrilling last 16 clash, having earlier beaten Jeffrey De Luna.

“It feels good to be in the quarter-finals,” said Shaw. “I was down 6-3 against De Luna but came back and played pretty well at the end. I knew against Filler that a couple of mistakes and you can lose real quick. I came with some good shots, some nice breaks and I am delighted to win.

“I’ll get a good sleep, come in tomorrow and if I can break well, 8-ball was my game growing up. I’ll have a good night’s rest and come tomorrow as prepared as I can be.”

The Predator World 8-Ball Championship concludes on Tuesday with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final all a race to 10.

Matches from the Predator World 8-Ball Championship are streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables, including matches from the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships, can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Yapp wins 9-ball and 10-ball events at $10K-added, 3rd Annual Meucci Classic

Silviana Lu and Aloysius Yapp

Silviana Lu wins Ladies 9-ball

Yep, Yapp won ‘em both. And his girlfriend, Silviana Lu won the other one. 

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic at Racks Billiards Sports Bar & Grill in Sanford, FL this past weekend (Nov. 10-13) gave Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp his third and fourth 2022 event victory, which added to his already-best (recorded with us) earnings year since we recorded his first two cash winnings in September of 2012, a week apart; a 17th place finish at the Party Poker World Cup of Pool in Quezon City in the Philippines (won by Mika Immonen) and a week+ later, a 33rd place finish at the China Open in Shanghai (won by Dennis Orcollo). 

So, the Meucci Classic was nowhere near his first rodeo. By the same token, Yapp’s presence outside of a fairly consistent group of world-travelling pool professionals had him flying under a lot of the US pool-playing radar until he showed up in the finals of the 2021 US Open 9-Ball Championships in Atlantic City and battled in the finals (unsuccessfully) against Carlo Biado. He became a much more consistently-present figure for the rest of the year, with appearances in (among others) the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships (9th), the International 9-Ball Open (17th), the International Open’s Big Foot 10-Ball (3rd behind Joshua Filler and Mika Immonen) and a win on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series in Battle Creek, Michigan.

He’s cashed in 19 events this year, winning four of them, runner-up in two and 3rd in three. He won this year’s Michigan Open and the Sandcastle Open before heading to the eastern shores of Virginia where he finished 9th at this year’s International Open 9-Ball tournament and was 3rd for the second time at the Big Foot 10-Ball event; this time, behind the juggernaut known as Fedor Gorst and Joshua Filler. He shuffled off to Sanford, FL last weekend, where he went undefeated through seven opponents, downing Austria’s Max Lechner twice; double hill in the hot seat match and 9-5 in the finals of the $4,000-added, 121-entrant 9-Ball tournament.

Left in the good-company dust (among others) were Austria’s Wiktor Zielinski, Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski, Germany’s Moritz Neuhausen, Finland’s Mika Immonen, Austria’s Mario He, Greece’s Alex Kazakis and Estonia’s Denis Grabe. Lithuania’s Pijus Labutis finished the tournament with the distinction of having won the most consecutive matches, 10 of them on the loss side, before he was stopped by Lechner in the semifinals. Leading the American charge for the title was BJ Ussery, Jr., who finished 4th; an outstanding finish for the South/mid-Atlantic competitor. Also in the US lineup were local stalwarts Anthony Meglino, Donny Mills, Mike Delawder, Raymond Linares, Bobby Garza and 1992’s US Open 9-Ball Champion, Tommy Kennedy.

The 3rd Annual Meucci Classic’s $5,000-added, 63-entrant 10-Ball Tournament was a different story. Same ending, just a different story. The 10-Ball battles preceded and overlapped the 9-Ball battles, so Yapp availed himself of the six-opponent practice opportunity, with an extra ball in the game, and went undefeated. He got by Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn and two Americans, George Saunders and Alan Rolon Rosado, to advance to the 16-player, single-elimination phase of the event. Yapp was joined in the winners’ side advancement by Wiktor Zielinski, Bosnia/Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovich, Dmitri Loukatos, Taipei’s Jung Lin Chan and Jeffrey DeLuna. BJ Ussery, Jr., who’d go on to finish fourth in the 9-Ball competition, advanced, as did Donny Mills. Joining them from the loss side were Adam Wheeler, Max Lechner, Pijus Labutis (who would not get the most consecutive win prize in this event), Jani Uski, Mika Immonen, Mario He, David Singleton and Denis Grabe.

Ussery would engage in the only double hill battle of the single-elimination’s first round, against Jani Uski, and it would knock him out of the 10-Ball competition. Three of the four quarterfinal matches went double hill; Immonen over Uski, Yapp over Labutis, and Grabe over Lechner. Zielinski downed Pehlivanovic 11-5.

Zielinski ‘iced’ the Iceman, allowing him only a single rack in one of the semifinal matches, while Yapp was a little busier, eliminating Grabe 11-7. Yapp claimed the 10-Ball title with a stingy 11-3 victory over Zielinski.

Indonesia’s Silviana Lu goes undefeated, winning 81% of her 37 games to claim Ladies title

In this, her first year as a cash-winning player in our AZBilliards database, Indonesia’s Silviana Lu has cashed in only two events. She finished in a tie for 5th place at the Asian Pool Federation’s 9-Ball Open, Women’s Division in August. A month later, she finished in the tie for 9th place at the WPBA’s Michigan Open. Her boyfriend, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp finished in the tie for 17th in the former event and won the latter.

She has recorded her first event victory with us as a result of going undefeated through a field of 27 entrants in the $1,000-added Ladies 9-Ball event. And she did so by defeating her six opponents with an 81% game-winning average (30-7), shutting out half of them and not allowing any of them to chalk up more than three against her; Nicolle Cuellar, who has Florida-area tour victories and cash finishes going back 10 years to the former Flamingo Tour.

Note to competitors looking to take advantage of the increased amount of money being offered at Scotch Doubles events across the country: In addition to the Fillers (Joshua and Pia) and the Fedor Gorst/Kristina Tkach pairing, you might want to watch out for the Yapp/Lu partnership.

Lu’s trip to the winners’ circle went through Marge Soash (0), Cuellar (3), Palmoa Santana (1) and Jessica Human (1) to arrive at the hot seat match versus Jennifer Berzinski to whom she gave up two racks to claim the seat. Adriana Villar, who lost her opening match to Cuellar and won eight on the loss side (shutting out three and surviving a double hill match against Helene Caukin), challenged Lu in the finals. Lu shut her out to claim the event title.

In addition to the 218 participants in the three events (with some duplication), tour representatives thanked title sponsor Meucci Cues, the ownership and staff at Rack’s for their hospitality, Outsville, JB Cases, Carlos Sanchez productions, Fort Worth Billiards Superstore and Clutch Shot Billiards Apparel.

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International 9-Ball down to final four; Gorst/Zielinski, Shaw/Ko Pin Yi to play semifinals at 4 & 6

Wiktor Zielinski

JIC quarter and semifinals feature a Tate family gathering

It’s come down to Russia’s Fedor Gorst, Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski. Scotland’s Jason Shaw and Taipei’s Ko Pin Yi. In matches that began today (Friday, Nov. 4) at around noon and lasted until about five minutes ago, the International 9-Ball Open’s field of 128, in single-elimination fashion, came down to its final four.

The final eight began squaring off immediately following the conclusion of a banquet and ceremonies which inducted Dennis Orcollo and Professional Billiard Instructor Association’s Jerry Briesath into the Billiard Congress of America’s Hall of Fame. While Briesath was present at the ceremony, addressing the crowd and accepting the award for his accomplishments as an instructor for many years. Dennis Orcollo, due to ongoing visa problems, accepted the award via a Zoom call from the Philippines, which, though it had its moments of humorous glitches went smoothly. Orcollo was introduced from a podium at the banquet and when the moment was turned over to him, he sat smiling on the screen for a number of minutes before the connection and cues translated across the thousands of miles from the Philippines and Norfolk, VA was accomplished.

Four of the eight 9-Ball quarterfinalists and a number of the Junior competitors went right from the tables in the banquet hall to the tables in the arena of the Sheraton Norfolk/Waterside in Norfolk, VA. Germany’s Joshua Filler and Wictor Zielinski took center stage in the Accu-stats feature arena, while Fedor Gorst and Austrian Albin Ouschan moved to one of the adjacent areas nearby. 

The Junior International Championships matches – the semifinals of the 18 & Under Girls division and the quarterfinals of the 18 & Under Boys division got underway in another adjacent area at the edge of the center arena (more on this later).

Zielinski and Filler played before an appreciative and noisy crowd which had something to applaud at least once in all 16 games that made up their race-to-10. Zielinski edged out in front near the end to win it 10-6 and be the first quarterfinalist to advance. As Gorst and Ouschan continued their struggle, with Gorst getting ahead early and staying there to win it 10-3, Shaw and Spain’s Jonas Souto practiced in the Accu-Stat feature arena. Shortly after they got  underway, Mario He and Ko Pin Yi squared off at a table in an adjacent area.

As Gorst had done to Ouschan, Shaw did likewise to Souto, by the same 10-3 score, becoming the third quarterfinalist to advance. And as Zielinski had done to Filler, Ko Pin Yi became the final piece to the International Open 9-Ball’s semifinal puzzle, eliminating Mario He, by the same 10-6 score.

The semifinals and finals of the 9-ball Open will play out on the Accu-State feature arena tomorrow (Sat., Nov. 5), beginning with Gorst and Zielinski at 4 p.m. Shaw and Ko Pin Yi will meet at 6 p.m. The finals are scheduled for 8 p.m.

Noelle Tate

Three siblings battle for sure slot in the finals, a chance at getting there and 3rd place in JIC

As the two sisters, 12-year-old Noelle and 15-year-old Bethany Tate began their semifinal match in the 18 & Under Girls division of the Junior International Championships, they were keenly aware of their 17-year-old brother, Joey, who was playing versus Payne McBride in the quarterfinals of the 18 & Under Boys division. They had to be, because they were playing at adjacent tables, forcing them to more or less constantly pay attention to what was happening at the next table to avoid poking someone with a stick; didn’t happen often, although checking to be sure that it didn’t happen, did happen often.

They went off at more or less the same time, while Filler and Zielinski were playing their quarterfinal 9-ball Open match. Applause emanating from the feature arena crowd had a way of coinciding with some good shooting going on in the junior matches. There was no mistaking which girl was which; the older Bethany, more than just a few inches taller than her relatively diminuitive younger sibling, Noelle. It was not a distinction that played out on the table.

One might have been fooled early, watching Bethany chalk up the first-game win, but it became clear when Noelle won the next two that this was not going to be easy for either of them. It was a pool game, but one that featured as something of a sideshow, sibling rivalry, age differentiation and that particular distaste for losing which has a way of playing out more emotionally at a younger age. 

Bethany came back to tie the score at 2-2. They would go on to tie five times at each numerical progression; 1-1 through 5-5. As it happened, the ‘table’ offered each of them numerous opportunities to win using a combination that included the 9-ball. Bethany ended up doing it twice; once tying the match at 4-4 and again, at 5-5.

Meanwhile, brother Joey was behind in his match versus Payne McBride; a fact that there’s no doubt they were noticing, though they never, not once, let it be known, as they maintained their focus at their own table.

Bethany won games 2, 3, 5, 8 & 10. Noelle took games 1, 4, 6, 7 & 9. By the time they reached the 10th game, they had picked up their pace. Games 9 & 10 were played at a very rapid pace, with both girls taking and making bank shots and any other shots necessary to reach the finish line, quickly. Bethany was a little too quick in Game 11 to assess the lie of the last two balls; very close to each other, Bethany dropped the 8-ball well enough, but her shot pushed the 9-ball into a tough target range. She missed the 9-ball and Noelle sunk it to reach the hill first.

Still working at a rapid pace, Bethany was on her way through the 12th rack looking to force a double-hill, deciding game and made two successive (quick) bank shots to get the first shot at the 9-ball. It rattled in the hole and for all intents and purposes, it was over. Noelle did not shoot at the 9-ball, because Bethany saw the ‘writing on the wall’ and stepped in to give her a hug, effectively ending it. 

Noelle had finished in 6th place in the JIC’s season-ending standings, based on performance in eight events. On her way to the finals in the 18 & Under Girls Championship, scheduled for noon tomorrow (Sat. Nov. 5), she had been defeated only once, by Courtney Hairfield, who’d finished in 7th place in the standings. On the loss side, Noelle had defeated Kennedy Meyman (#5), Precilia Kinsley (#3) and her own sister, Bethany, who had finished the JIC season as the division’s #1-ranked competitor.

“I was so nervous,” said Noelle, minutes after the match, “because normally, she beats me.”

Though aware that projecting how things might turn out in any ‘road ahead’ tournament setting was not generally a good idea, she did harbor some feelings about what wasn’t going to happen.

“I was not really thinking of being in the finals,” she said of tomorrow’s match versus The Pink Dagger, aka Sofia Mast, who finished as the division’s #2 competitor at the end of the season and sat next to Precilia Kinsley’s mother during the match between the Tate sisters and joined in the conversation about it afterwards. Asked how she had acquired the skills necessary to keep her own nervousness at bay during her match, Noelle smiled.

“It’s just a game, and you try to just have fun,” she said. “I have to keep thinking that.”

Meanwhile, the two Tate sisters were able to turn their attention to their brother Joey, who, last time they looked, was a few racks behind in his quarterfinal match. Though McBride reached the hill first, Tate caught up and won the final rack. He moved on within a matter of minutes to face Garrett Vaughan in the semifinals, winning it 7-4. So once again, as they did last year, Joey Tate and Landon Hollingsworth will square off in the finals of the JIC’s 18 & Under Boys Championship (2 p.m., today). He’ll get the opportunity to root for Noelle in the 18 & Under Girls final at noon and later, looking for the finals win this time, he’ll have his two sisters rooting for him from the viewing seats.  

All of Saturday’s action will take place on the featured table and fans will be able to watch the junior matches free on Facebook and YouTube. Fans hoping to catch the semi-finals and finals of the main event will have to do so with  the Accu-Stats PPV coverage. They can also follow all of the action online with real-time scoring and online brackets all week long.

PPV Coverage
One Pocket Stage One Online Brackets
One Pocket Stage Two Online Brackets
Big Foot 10-Ball Brackets
9-Ball Brackets
Real Time Scoring

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International Open Advances 16 to Single Elimination Phase

JIC series begins its 18 & Under Boys and Girls Championships 

The winners’ side final 8 has been set for the beginning of the single elimination phase of the International Open’s 9-Ball tournament tomorrow (Fri., Nov. 4). As this report is being compiled (10 p.m., Thursday night), the eight competitors who will advance to the final 16 from the loss side are still competing. If Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz emerges victorious from his match against Bader Alawahdi, the final 16 in the event will contain seven of the top eight finishers (half the field) from the recently-concluded Big Foot 10-Ball Challenge, including Fedor Gorst, who won it and runner-up Joshua Filler.

Also advancing from the winners’ side into the final 16 will be Albin Ouschan, Wictor Zielinski, Jayson Shaw, Konrad Juszczyszyn, Roberto Gomez, and Alex Kazakis.

Already advancing from the loss side are Aloysius Yapp, who (very) recently defeated Jesus Atencio 10-8 and Mario He, who downed Sky Woodward 10-4. Still to be decided were matches between Robbie Capito/Ko Pin Yi, Jonas Souto/Noayuki Oi, Jani Uski/Moritz Neuhausen, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz/Bader Alawahdi, Ping Chung Ko/Mieszko Fortunski and David Alcaide/Abdullah Alyousef

JIC underway; Boys will play winners’ side final four and 7/8 matches, Girls to play hot seat and quarterfinals

A total of 16 boys (18 & Under) and 8 girls (18 & Under) came to Norfolk to compete in the final events of the 2022 Junior International Championship series. In the course of the eight-event season, which began in January, the competitors amassed points which, at the end of the eighth stop on the series, yielded a ‘top players’ list, which led to invitations to the Championship events for the 18 & Under Boys and Girls. 

Both of those events got underway today, Thursday, Nov. 3. At the end of the day, there were six boys and four girls left. The top two girls in the year-long rankings – Bethany Tate #1 and Sofia Mast #2 – will square off tomorrow afternoon (Friday, Nov. 4; 2 p.m.) in the 18 & Under Girls hot seat match. At noon, Precilia Kinsley and Noelle Tate will square off in the quarterfinals, to be followed by the semifinals at 7 p.m., pitting whoever did not claim the hot seat and the winner of the quarterfinals. The finals are scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5 at noon.

At 10 a.m., tomorrow morning (Friday), the #2 and #3-ranked competitors from the 18 & Under Boys division – Landon Hollingsworth and Payne McBride will meet in one of the winners’ side semifinals. In the other one, #13 Garrett Vaughan and #15 Justin Maywin will meet. On the loss side, also at 10 a.m., playing in the two 7/8 matches, the #1-ranked Joey Tate will meet the #14-ranked Logan Whitaker.

Of the remaining six, three of them (Worth, McBride & Tate) competed in the International Open’s 9-Ball Tournament, with Brent Worth drawing what was arguably the toughest draw. He faced Hall of Fame German Ralf Souquet in the opening round and then, on the loss side, faced and lost to former junior competitor Chris Reinhold. McBride lost a winners’ side match to one of the semifinalists in last week’s American 14.1 Straight Pool Championship, Mieszko Fortunski and fell to Alecsa Pecelj on the loss side. Tate lost to Abdullah Alyousef on the winners’ side and Sullivan Clark on the loss side.

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Switzerland downs Poland in 17th American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Dimitri Jungo

Jungo wins roller coast final vs. Zielinski/Tkach defeats Corr in Women’s event.

You had to be there.

As it’s been for a number of years, the annual American Straight Pool Championships, held this past week (Oct. 24-29) at Q-Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA were not just about who beat who, by how much. Or the specifics of about how the male and female fields whittled down from 56 men and 15 women to Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo, who won the Men’s event and Russia’s Kristina Tkach, who won the Women’s event; each, right after it was over, holding their 17th annual traditional clock and collecting their envelopes with $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

It was, too, about the gathering of world-class competitors, kicking back in the highly-congenial atmosphere of this country’s largest pool room, regaling each other with stories of past exploits, current battles in their individual matches and where they’re headed next. It’s a pool player knocked out of the competition early, preparing for this week’s International Open, about 20 miles away, by practicing one type of shot (a corner-to-corner, stop shot) for hours. Or a female competitor describing the dancing skills of two female friends in a long-ago moment after an event that had an entire table of people in stitches. It’s about the photos of all the US Open Champions crowned in the room, the commendations from 50+ years of pool players, and of course, scores aside, the quality of play.

“The quality of play this year was just unbelievable,” founder and Chairman of the American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships, Peter Burrows told a packed arena at the conclusion of the Men’s event. “It’s why we come here every year.”

“(Jungo and Zeilinski) had a number of exquisite safety battles tonight that were really remarkable,” he added of the final match.

In his first time competing in these straight pool championships, Jungo revealed that it was only the second time that he had played the game competitively all year. He recalled being here in the US in 2001; a year he referenced as ‘9-11.’

“And now,” he said, shortly after claiming the Men’s title, “here I am, 18 years later.”

Though hesitant to single out one particular discipline as his ‘favorite,’ he admitted to an affection for straight pool that has lasted for a long time. He admits to playing it a lot more by himself than in competition.

“I like it,” he said. “When I play it alone, I can challenge myself.”

In the more-than-just-winning-or-losing department, he was impressed with the milieu associated with Q Master Billiards. He admitted to being enchanted by it and used a somewhat dated expression to describe it.

“I like the ‘groove’ here,” he said. “It’s like. . . pool, where it’s born. I feel like it’s home. The way they treat the people here is very special.”

“I was very comfortable here,” he added of the week he’d spent at the tables, moments after that week was over, “and I’m feeling good.”

As well he might have, having just won a tournament that at its start a week ago, had other competitors ‘pegged’ for the win; among the others – Jayson Shaw, Fedor Gorst, the surging-in-Europe Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, final European member of the 2022 Mosconi Cup Team, David Alcaide, Josh Filler and Filipino Lee Van Corteza, who would finish the Round Robin Phase of the event with the highest point differential (504) of the eight groups of seven players each. Jungo would finish third overall in that department at 460, behind Van Corteza and Josh Filler (498).

Jungo finished #1 in his seven-man group, downing Jasmin Ouschan, Corey Deuel, Bob Madenjian, Ed Culhane and countryman Michael Schneider (who would later introduce himself as the “other one from Switzerland.”) Jungo’s loss came at the stick of Darren Appleton.

Poland’s Wictor Zielinski, in the meantime, was #1 in his group, as well, downing his own list of top-ranked pros – Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, Denis Grabe, Bart Czapla and the USA’s Pascal Dufresne, who, when he done competing, became a statistician for the event, seated behind a computer, using a 14:Straight Pool program he had written to input analytic data about each match he was able to witness. Zielinski’s loss in the Round Robin phase was to Finland’s Jani Uski.

All four of the event’s semifinalists – Jungo, Zielinski, Mario He and Mieszko Fortunski – were #1 in their Round Robin groups. They, along with the other four top competitors to come out of the Round Robin phase – Josh Filler, John Morra, Francisco Candela and Lee Van Corteza were awarded opening round byes as second- and third-place competitors (16 of them) squared off in the opening round of the single elimination phase of the event, racing to 150. Gone at the conclusion of that opening round were (among others) Jayson Shaw, Darren Appleton and Albin Ouschan. In the final 16 round, Lee Van Corteza, Ralf Souquet, Sanchez-Ruiz (downed by Zielinski), The Lion (Alex Pagulayan) and Carlo Biado (defeated by Jungo) were gone as well.

The quarterfinal matches saw Jungo eliminate Morra, Mario He defeat Lebanon’s Bader Alawadhi, Mieszko Fortunski get by David Alcaide in the closest match of the tournament 150-148, and Zielinski wave goodbye to Joshua Filler (not literally) in the most lopsided match of the single elimination phase, 150-38.

The racing-to-175 semifinals, which guaranteed that one of the finalists would be from Poland, saw Zielinski down Fortunski 175-55. Jungo joined him after defeating Austria’s Mario He 175-85.

As noted by Burrows earlier, the final match was a bit of a roller coaster ride. If you weren’t aware that fouls can send scores moving in the opposite direction, you might have been surprised if you stepped away when the score was tied at 55-55 and returned to find out it had backed up to 54-53 in favor of Jungo.

“(Zielinski) got out to a lead early,” noted Jungo. “but I made it to 67 (ahead by 14), and then, we had those safety battles in the middle; four or five of them.”

Zielinski kept fighting back and took the lead back at the 131-130 stage of the game, at which point, the scores went backwards again, to 129-128. Jungo re-established the lead and expanded it to 147-136. With 28 balls to go, he got them all. At 162-136, right after his break had left 14 on the table, with only 13 to go, Jungo ran the table to claim the title.

Kristina Tkach

After protracted absence since 2019, Ireland’s Karen Corr makes it to Women’s final

Ireland’s Karen Corr has been making her presence known on the women’s circuit since her somewhat unofficial return from an unofficial absence since 2019. She’d appeared on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour this year, finished 3rd at the WPBA’s Michigan Open (tied with Allison Fisher) and made an appearance at last week’s Sledgehammer Open, the 1st memorial tournament for Helena Thornfeldt. She ‘chose’ to record her highest return-finish in Virginia Beach at an event not without its favored competitors. Some were looking ahead almost from the start to a rematch between Tkach and the event’s defending champion, Kelly Fisher, who had matched up twice against each other at the Sledgehammer Open; Tkach taking the first in a winners’ side semifinal and Kelly, the second in the final.

Not so fast. There were three round robin ‘flights’ with five players each, from which Corr, Tkach and Fisher emerged undefeated. Joining them in an opening, single-elimination round were Bethany Sykes (vs. Tkach), Dawn Hopkins (vs. Corr), Billie Billing (vs. Fisher) and Bean Hung, squaring off against Pia Filler. Racing to 80, Tkach allowed Sykes one ball, Hung gave up 23 to Filler, Fisher gave Billing 42, while Corr and Hopkins played the closest match; won by Corr 80-50.

The potential Fisher/Tkach final was still on, but not for long. In the semifinals, Tkach downed Hung 100-49, as Corr was likely surprising Kelly Fisher with a 100-36 win that put her in her first (recorded) final in two years.

Tkach has won the European straight pool championships twice, though like many others, it’s not a discipline that she gets to play that often.

“When I was very young, about 16 or 17, I played a full-year of straight pool every day,” she said, noting that her coach at the time was trying to get her to that oft-elusive first run of 100 balls, “but I was at a different level back then, too.”

“It is a game that you play maybe once a year,” she added, “but once you learn how to play it, it’s like riding a bicycle. Once you understand it, it’s really just about making balls.”

She got on the bike, made the balls and claimed the second American Women’s 14.1 Straight Pool Championship Title.

Many of the competitors who were in Virginia Beach over the past week have already moved on to Norfolk, VA, about 20 miles west of Q Master Billiards, to compete in Pat Fleming’s International Open, which began on Friday, Oct. 28 with a $10,000-added One Pocket tournament (to which many knocked out of the straight pool at Q Master Billiards migrated). The One Pocket will conclude today (Sunday, Oct. 30) and give way to the $50,000-added 9-Ball Tournament set to begin tomorrow (Monday, Oct. 31), which should make for an interesting Halloween night. Later in the week, the Junior International Championships will conclude their 2022 season with championship tournaments for the 18 & Under Boys and Girls divisions of the series.

And a final unofficial and unquoted word from Peter Burrows about the 18th Annual American 14.1 Straight Pool Tournament next year, which he has promised (with a little help from his friends) will be bigger and better with more players and more money.

“You have to be there!”

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Corr to face Tkach in 5 p.m. Women’s final at American 14.1 Straight Pool Championships

Karen Corr

Jungo will face either Miesko Fortunski or Wictor Zielinski in final Men’s match at 8 p.m.

Prior to this year, Ireland’s Karen Corr had not recorded a payout with us here at AZBilliards since 2019. When she returned in August to make an appearance on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women’s Tour, finishing 4th and a month later, at the WPBA’s Michigan Women’s Open, she finished in a tie for 3rd with Allison Fisher. Last week at the 1st Annual Sledgehammer Open at Janet Atwell’s room, Borderline Billiards in Bristol, TN, Kelly Fisher and Russia’s Kristina Tkach played a pair of matches; Tkach winning the first in a winners’ side semifinal and Fisher winning the final. When pool-watchers woke up this morning (Sat.Oct. 29), with their eyes focused to the ongoing brackets of the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships being held at Q Master Billiards in Virginia Beach, VA this week, they would have noticed that Fisher and Tkach were still a possibility for a repeat final. 

They reckoned without Karen Corr. Making her way into the event’s final 24 with a 4-1 record in the Round Robin stage, Corr moved through the single elimination phase, downing Billie Billing 80-42 and in the semifinals, Kelly Fisher, the event’s defending champion, 100-36. Tkach, who’d defeated Bethany Sykes 80-1 in the quarterfinals and Bean Hung 100-49 in her semifinal will now have the chance to meet Corr at 5 p.m. EDT, a match that could run live (via links) on the American 14:1 Straight Pool Championships’ Web site (www.americanstraightpool.com.

Waiting in the wings for an 8 p.m EDT men’s final will be Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo, who defeated Mario He 175-85. Jungo will play someone from Poland; either Mieszko Fortunski or Wictor Zielinski, who are continuing their semifinal match; a race to 175, with Zielinski ahead 29-13 at approximately 4 p.m, EDT.

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Gorst, Grabe, Kaci & Gomez Are Fargorate Ohio Open Semi-Finalists

Fedor Gorst

Fedor Gorst won a dramatic shootout against Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz to reach the semi-finals of the FargoRate Ohio Open and will take on Denis Grabe for a place in the final, where either Eklent Kaci or Roberto Gomez will await.

Gorst beat Sanchez-Ruiz 9-8 on shootout, with the Spaniard’s miss in the ninth innings the only failed spot shot from either player. Estonia’s Grabe defeated defending champion Mario He to reach the last four, while Kaci advanced with a win over Mika Immonen and Gomez knocked out Dutchman Jan van Lierop.

Both semi-finals and the final take place on Saturday at the Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio, which is also staging the CSI Ohio State Championships. The FargoRate Ohio Open champion will win $25,000 and a guaranteed invite to the 2023 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, taking place in February in Las Vegas.

Spain’s Sanchez-Ruiz is enjoying what is now the best year of his career by some distance and hadn’t lost a set until he came up against Gorst in the last eight in Ohio.

After losing the first set 4-1, Sanchez-Ruiz was quick to build a 3-0 lead in the second. However, Gorst fought back all the way to hill-hill and looked set to complete the turnaround, and the match, until he lost position on the 7 and ended with the object tied to the cue. Sanchez-Ruiz got the next opportunity at an open ball and cleared what was left to force the shootout.

However it was Gorst, winner of the Apex Wisconsin Open in January, who came out on top in the shootout. Neither player had so much as rattled a jaw until Sanchez-Ruiz missed after nine shots each.

Grabe lies in wait for Gorst in the first semi-final of Saturday’s play after sending home defending champ – and travel partner – He with a 4-3, 4-1 victory. “It is always tough to play against a friend,” said Grabe. “Mario is a great player, it was a crazy match, back and forth, back and forth, but I managed to win the first set and that cooled me down a little bit, and from there on I played my game and that is a good win for me.”

Having won shootouts against Wojciech Szewczyk and Wu Kun Lin earlier in the day, Kaci made easier work for himself in his quarter-final against Immonen. The Albanian won 4-2, 4-1 for his fourth victory of the day. “It feels pretty good to be in the semi-finals of the FargoRate Ohio Open,” he said. “It was a long day and I had a few shootouts, but here we are.”

Standing between Kaci and the final is ‘Superman’ Roberto Gomez. The Filipino started the day by beating young Finnish sensation Riku Rompannen in a shootout to qualify for the last 16. He then crushed Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn 4-0, 4-1 to set up a quarter-final against the Netherland’s Jan van Lierop.

Van Lierop reached the last eight via an incredible shootout against America’s last-man-standing, Justin Martin. Martin had won the first set 4-1, but van Lierop forced the spot shots with a 4-2 second set. What followed was a masterclass in shootout pool. Neither player missed a shot until the 13th innings, at which point both then failed in succession. However, at 14-14 Martin missed – again from the left side – and van Lierop didn’t give up his second chance to win the match.

Given the length of the shootout, Van Lierop had little time to prepare for his quarter final and was soon 2-0 down to Gomez. The Dutchman pulled it back to 2-1 before eventually losing the set 4-2, and despite winning the first rack of the second set, went down 4-1 as Gomez advanced to the final day.

The FargoRate Ohio Open continues from 10am ET on Saturday with both semi finals and the final streamed free on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2022-fargorate-ohio-open/

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Four Through In Ohio

Jung-Lin Chang

Alex Kazakis, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, Mario He and Seybert’s Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp are through to the last 16 of the FargoRate Ohio Open, but big names including all three Ko brothers are already heading home.

Fedor Gorst will face Mika Immonen in winners’ qualification on Friday morning but Albin Ouschan, Robbie Capito and Wiktor Zielinski have been eliminated from the event, which carries a $75,000 prize fund and is played alongside the CSI Ohio State Championships at the Roberts Center in Wilmington, Ohio.

Ouschan suffered a shootout defeat to Finnish youngster Riku Romppanen and was then eliminated 4-3, 4-0 by Eklent Kaci. Romppanen takes on Roberto Gomez tomorrow morning for a place in the last 16, while Kaci must beat Predator World 10-Ball Champion Wojciech Szewczyk to remain in the event.

Four winners’ qualification matches have already played, with the remaining four to take place at 10am on Friday. Kazakis defeated David Alcaide 4-1, 4-3 for his place in the last 16, leaving the Spaniard with one more chance to qualify.

“I am feeling really happy that I won that match,” said Kazakis. “First set everything went my way, and in the second set it went both ways. David had a chance to run out at hill-hill but he missed it and I took my chance.”

Sanchez-Ruiz won 4-3, 4-3 over America’s Justin Martin while Aloysius Yapp, a two-time winner on the Predator Pro Billiard Series, defeated Finland’s Jani Uski 4-2, 4-3. Last year’s Fargorate Ohio Open champion Mario He needed a shootout to advance at the expense of Michael Schneider. The four players already qualified for single elimination share four Pro Billiard Series titles, with only Sanchez-Ruiz yet to win a stop.

Brothers Ko Ping Han, Ko Pin-Yi and Ko Ping-Chung were all eliminated within hours of each other. Ping Han had suffered shootout defeat to Petri Makkonen on Wednesday and was again beaten from the spot on Thursday, this time by Badar Al Qrrayyan. Defeat yesterday to Jan van Lierop had left Pin-Yi on the losers’ side, where a 4-1, 4-1 win for Sharik Sayed meant that Ping-Chung was now the only member of the Ko family still in the event.

However, Ping-Chung was soon eliminated too. His tournament had opened with a shootout defeat to Robbie Capito on Wednesday. He responded with a 4-3, 4-1 win against Sanjin Pehlivanovic only to lose by shootout to New Zealand’s Sullivan Clark.

Zielinski’s tournament came to an end against Chang Jung-Lin, who won 4-2, 4-3 in the day’s final match on the TV table. Chang missed a 4 ball at 3-2 up in the second set, allowing his Polish opponent to level the match at 3-3, however when Zielinski missed the 5, Chang was back at the table and won the rack to avoid a shootout. Chang requires two more wins to reach the single elimination stage and faces Dimitri Jungo in his next match.

Among the other players coming back on the losers’ side is Konrad Juszczyszyn, who will face Aleksa Pecelj after beating Ernesto Dominguez in a lengthy shootout. Juszczyszyn took the first set 4-2 but a 4-0 shutout in the second took the match to a shootout. Neither player missed in their first four shots, before both missed their next two sudden death efforts. Another successful spot shot each took the shootout to 7-7, but Dominguez missed his next shot after Juszczyszyn had already sunk his.

The FargoRate Ohio Open continues from 10am ET on Friday with six matches streamed free on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TVYouTube channel and at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2022-fargorate-ohio-open/

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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