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

Ko Pin-Yi (IDM Pool Tour)

Zielinski takes top prize in 16-entrant Kamui Invitational

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Golds For Austria, Northern Cyprus, Poland & Sweden

Mustafa Alnar, Oliwia Zalewska, Henrik Larsson and Mario He

Into day eight of the 2021 Dynamic Billiards European Championships in Antalya, Turkey and the destination of four gold medals was determined in an intensive evening’s 8 ball play at the Venezia Palace Hotel. Mario He seized the gold in the men’s, Oliwia Zalewska took the women’s, Henrik Larsson the Wheelchair division while Mustafa Alnar won another junior gold for Northern Cyprus, this time in the Men’s U23 event.

In the 98 player Men’s division, 28 years old Mario He blocked Fedor Gorst’s path to his third gold  medal of the championship in a high-quality final which the Austrian prevailed 8-5. There wasn’t much to separate them in terms of play except a couple of dry breaks from Gorst in the critical stages of the match.

He had led through the opening stages before Gorst levelled it at 4-4 and then ran from the break for a 5-4 lead. However, that was to be his last score-worthy contribution to the game as a couple of unproductive break shots from the Russian gave He all the opportunity he needed to close the match out.

It was He’s second 8 ball gold medal, the first coming in 2012 in Luxembourg but he had to dig deep to prevail following an arduous schedule of late.

He said, “The first gold was better as I was 18 and it was the biggest tournament that I’d ever won but still this year I played really good. I had three hill-hill matches which I just escaped on the good side to win the match.

“It was a really long day and a really tough day and I had some tough opponents. I was playing good, got some rolls and everything was perfect and I’m now looking forward.

“I’ve been in the US for two months so had big jet lag but I had so many tournaments there, it was tough to stay motivated. The two days off were good at the start of this championships and I played OK in the 10 ball but I just felt a bit burned out. In the 8 ball though I played well and everything went my way. I’m really happy to have won this gold medal,” he added.

Medals – Men

Gold –          Mario He (AUT)
Silver –        Fedor Gorst (RUS)
Bronze –        Joshua Filler (GER)
Roberto Bartol (SRB)

In the ladies’ division, Poland’s Oliwia Zalewska won her second individual gold medal to add to her straight pool gold from the 2013 event in Slovenia. She defeated Belarussian Margarita Fefilova 6-2 in the championship match.

It was another championship win for the talented Pole following her victory in the same venue ten days earlier in the Predator Antalya Open on the Ladies Euro Tour.

The Polish lady went undefeated through the championship, winning two critical hill-hill matches against eventual semi-finalist Nina Torvund and then her semi-final win over Spain’s straight pool silver medallist Amalia Matas.

Runner-up Margaret Fefilova was bounced to the one-loss side at the hands of Kristina Tkach but rallied well, taking down Monika Zabek, Ana Gradisnik and 10 ball champion Eylull Kibaroglu en route to the semi-finals where she beat Nina Torvund.

Oliwia said, “Actually winning the Euro Tour event gave me wings and I believed in myself more but this is the second story. I felt so tired after a lot of matches in the Euro Tour that I couldn’t find myself in the opening matches but finally the 8 ball came in for me and I found my style.

“I’ve been preparing for these for so many years and the switch between 9 ball and 8 ball is not so much. I’m feeling totally delighted about the gold medal on the Euro Tour and the gold medal today but it’s still not the end and I’m really looking forward to the 9 ball!”

Those two wins in Antalya will make Zalewska a formidable force when the 9 ball championship commences on Tuesday morning.

Medals – Ladies

Gold –          Oliwia Zalewska (POL)
Silver –        Margareta Fefilova (BLR)
Bronze –        Amalia Matas (ESP)
Nina Torvund (NOR)

In the Wheelchair division, it was two golds out of two for Sweden’s Henrik Larsson as he came back from a seemingly impossible position to take his fourth 8 ball gold medal and set himself on course for a clean sweep with the 9 ball yet to come.

His opponent was record-breaking Finnish shooter Jouni Tahti who found himself 4-0 up in the race-to-five final. With alternate break he had every chance to close the match out but giving up opportunities, Larsson slowly clawed his way back into the match before taking the decider for an extraordinary victory.

Commented Larsson, “Winning all three; it’s only been done by Jouni before so that would be fantastic to be part of that crew.

“It was crazy. He totally had the game in his hands with a 4-0 lead and then he started to give me chances and I took them and all of a sudden, we were hill hill. The only thing harder than pool is dying and I think he had to experience a little bit of that today!” he added.

Medals – Wheelchair

Gold –          Henrik Larsson (SWE)
Silver –        Jouni Tahti (FIN)
Bronze –        Danny Luton (GBR)
Matej Brajkovic (SLO)

Finally, in the Men’s Under 23 division it was Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Alnar who took the gold medal to add to the ones he has already won in previous Under 17 and Under19 age categories. He defeated Germany’s Luca Menn 8-2 in the final.

With 20 runners, the standard was high with bronze medallist Aleksa Pecelj a runner at the previous Euro Tour event ten days ago. It’s fair to say that Alnar looks to be a major prospect for senior honours in the future.

He was naturally delighted with the win; “A big thanks to everyone! I’m really so happy for this is, my first Under23 title. Next up is the 9 ball tomorrow so be prepared as I’m coming for you!”

Medals – Men’s U23

Gold –          Mustafa Alnar (NCYP)
Silver –        Luca Menn (GER)
Bronze –        Aleksa Pecelj (SRB)
Ibrahim Vatansever (TUR)

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com

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