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Big Names Fall In Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open

Alex Kazakis

Alex Kazakis, Ko Ping Han and Chang Yu-Lung were among the big names knocked out of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open on the second day of play at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, while the likes of Kelly Fisher, Margaret Fefilova and Chia Hua Chen are already into the last 16 of the Women’s event.

A goliath match up between Ko Pin-Yi and Alex Kazakis would usually be reserved for the closing stages of any tournament, but here it was a match in the second round on the losers’ side of the draw. Ko had been beaten by Denis Grabe on the opening day but a 4-1, 4-0 win over another Estonian, Gert Gnadeberg, got the two-time World Champion up and running.

A shootout defeat to Jonas Souto Comino in the first winners’ round earlier in the day had sent Kazakis to the one-loss side and, like Ko, he now needed three wins to qualify for the straight-knockout last 32.

Ko looked certain to take the first set 4-1 but missed a straight 3 by going rail first in attempt to gain position on the 4. However, another chance presented itself and was taken in the sixth rack as Ko took the set 4-2.

The first two racks of set two were shared and it was Kazakis who had a clear opening in the third, only to miss the 1 to the side when a simple 2/10 was waiting. Ko took the gift but Kazakis was level again at 2-2 one rack later. The Greek was then able to lead for the first time when Ko missed the 9, but the Taiwanese leveled at 3-3 to move a rack away from victory.

Kazakis needed to hope for a chance as Ko broke on the hill, and he got one immediately as Ko struggled to find power with his break, leaving Kazakis a layout from which he took a clear path to the shootout.

In the tie break, neither player so much as clipped a jaw in their four regulation innings, forcing sudden death where it was Kazakis who blinked first. Ko had already taken a 5-4 shootout lead when the Greek missed his fifth shot to be eliminated from the tournament. Ko’s next opponent will be Tyler Styer.

However, Ko’s brother Ping Han is out of the event after suffering a shootout defeat to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Batista. The home player took the first set 4-3 before Ko fired back, only to lose 3-2 in the shootout. Another local favorite, USA’s Puerto Rico-born Tony Robles, awaits Batista in the next round.

With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.

In the Women’s Open, eight of the last 16 are now known. Kelly Fisher defeated Kristina Tkach by shootout to reach the single-elimination stage, while Canada Open champion ‘Amber’ Chen was winner over Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi. Pia Filler, Allison Fisher and Margaret Fefilova make it four Europeans already through.

The other four players to reach the last 16 undefeated are all from Asia, with Filipino speed-shooter Chezka Centeno and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wan-Ling and Tzu-Chien Wei joining compatriot Chen in the last 16 draw.

The Open event moves to single elimination with 32 players remaining. Winners’ qualification matches commence at 10am local time with Fedor Gorst, Carlo Biado and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz among those with two chances to qualify. Wiktor Zielinski, Roberto Gomez and Yukio Akagariyama are some of the experienced players who will have to win two matches on the losers’ side of the draw if they are to make it.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Thursday with six more matches 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 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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Fisher Fights Through As Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open Begins

Kelly Fisher

Four-time Predator Pro Billiard Series champion Kelly Fisher had to come from 3-2 down to eventually win the second set against 12-year-old American Savannah Easton and move to the winners’ qualification stage of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open.

At the impressively set-up Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, 192 pro players from 44 countries opened the 2022 Caribbean CueSports International Expo on Tuesday. With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.

In the Open event, Fedor Gorst, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Darren Appleton won twice to reach winners’ qualification, the latter defeating Chang Jung-Lin 4-0, 4-1.

After beating Elise Qiu on a shootout at the start of the day, Fisher faced Easton on the TV table in her hunt for an unprecedented fifth Predator Pro Billiard Series title. Easton has been making waves this year, most recently taking fifth in the WPBA’s Sledgehammer Open in Bristol, TN last month.

The 12-year-old had seen off Emilyn Callado in straight sets in the opening round and earned a huge ovation from the Puerto Rican crowd for her efforts against Fisher, who was almost taken to shootout by the youngster nicknamed ‘Roadrunner’.

Having won the first set 4-2, Fisher took a 2-0 lead in the second. However, the American youngster, who will take part in the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships starting Friday, cut that lead in half after making the 5 with the bridge. Easton then leveled the set at 2-2 after a safety battle with just the 9 and 10 remaining and a long 8 opened up the fifth game of the set for the junior, who took a 3-2 lead.

A dry break from the hill allowed Fisher to play a safety which Easton couldn’t escape but ball in hand was returned by the Brit when she completely missed the 7. However, Easton left a long 9 in the jaw and Fisher was finally level again at hill-hill in the second set.

The final rack brought more drama as Easton battled for the shootout but the pressure showed as she overcut the 10. Both players had another chance to close out the set but it was Fisher who got over the line to advance to winners qualification tomorrow.

“What a great player, she has nerves of steel and definitely one to watch for the future,” said Fisher. “She should have had me there, it should have been a shootout. I was all over the place but she missed some crucial balls at the end.

“What a great future she knows she must have, she is a great player and we are going to see her in the future. I, personally, don’t want to play her again; she put me under pressure, she got me, could have had me, and I don’t want to play her again until she’s 18!”

“I was this close, I was so close,” said Easton. “In the first set when I was 2-2 I thought I might be able to beat her, and in the second set when it was 3-2 and I took that break, I was so excited but I tried to hold it in as much as I could. It was so fun, I couldn’t believe it.”

Fisher will now face Kristina Tkach for a place in the last 16. Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan will take on Chia Hua Chen after ‘Amber’ beat World Women’s 10-Ball Champion Chieh Yu-Chou in the opening round. Pia Filler, Tzu-Chien Wei, Kristina Zlateva, Jasmin Ouschan and Allison Fisher are among the other players still unbeaten in the women’s event.

In the men’s tournament, local favorite Alan Rolon was well-supported as he Wu Kun Lin by shootout and then Alex Montpellier to earn a day off and set up a winners’ qualification match against Badar Alawadhi on Thursday morning.

A strong field spelt early casualties as the likes of Ko Ping-Han, Aloysius Yapp and Ko Pin-Yi all lost in the first round and now face a long road to reach the last 32 and single elimination.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Wednesday with six more matches 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 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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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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Pia Filler Wins Maiden Ladies Euro Tour Title

Pia Filler

Germany’s Pia Filler is the 2022 Predator Slovenian Open champion following a 7-5 victory over fellow countrywoman Ina Kaplan in Lasko, Slovenia. Filler had come close before, losing the final last time out in Bulgaria but today was her day as she showed resolve and determination to close out a match that could have gone either way.

“It just feels incredible!” she said. “It’s the best feeling to win a tournament. It’s my first Euro Tour title and I’ve been working so hard and it’s always nice when you see that the work that you put in pays off.

“I got close last year and played a good season this year so I always knew that I was at the point where I was capable of winning the tournament but I’d just never done it.”

Earlier, Filler had revenged her final defeat in Petrich to Eyllul Kibaroglu, beating her 7-2 in their semi-final match while Kaplan beat countrywoman Melanie Sussenguth by 7-5 to make the final.

There was a lot of back-and-forth in the opening rack which ultimately went to Kaplan but Filler took the second to level things before a tidy out from Kaplan restored her lead.

A dry break from Filler in the fourth game yielded no balls but it was also illegal so Kaplan, with the 1 ball blocked, handed the table back to her opponent. A safety from Kaplan forced Filler to jump and but with the table looking nice and open, Kaplan overran going from 4 to 5 and her safety attempt left the 5-ball on. Filler did well to clear the remaining five balls to level once again.

Filler edged the next to take the lead for the first time. Despite a good break in the next, she couldn’t get it going and the opportunity fell to Kaplan. She composed herself well to run out and draw level at 3-3. Filler though, restored her lead in the next.

That soon became 5-3 as Filler, sensing that her time had come, stepped up for a focused run out. Kaplan wasn’t done though as she picked up the pace in the next with a fine break and run. A tight snooker from Filler in the next put Kaplan in a heap of trouble and she scratched with her escape attempt. Further snookers with ball-in-hand won Filler the rack on the three-foul rule and open up a two-rack lead and put her on the hill.

The pair exchanged safeties as the blue 2 seemed to have a mind of its own. Kaplan finally potted it and held herself together to clear the table and keep the match alive. A great break from Filler, her best of the match, saw two balls drop and the 1-ball available. With the winning line in sight, Filler held herself together superbly to run out and claim her first ever Predator Ladies Euro Tour title.

Filler added, “The first one is always the toughest and this time I felt great; I won all my matches quite clearly so I felt confident and that today was going to be my day.

“I want to win every possible tournament I play in but instead of looking at my results, I’m more looking at my development of my game and my improvement as that’s much more important because if I keep on working hard the results will come.”

Kaplan commented, “We both made some mistakes and it was back-and-forth for both of us. The break didn’t work out at all for both of us. But in the end, Pia got good breaks and she played really good so it’s OK to lose, kind of!”

All Predator Euro Tour Women tournaments are 9-ball and the field contest a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 16
competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are a race to 7 racks with alternate break.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Predator Slovenian Open – Semi Final Line Up Is Set

Pia Filler

From 37 players, the Predator Slovenian Open is now down to the final four as three further rounds were completed today (Sunday). The tournament reconvenes on Monday morning with the two semi-finals set to start at 10.00 with the final starting at 12.00 midday.

Eyllul Kibaroglu, the No.1 ranked player on tour, is still in with a shout of winning back-to-back Euro Tour titles as she leads the field going into day three. A winner last time out in Petrich, Bulgaria, where she beat Pia Filler 7-4 for the title, Kibaroglu will be up against the rising young German talent once again.

Kibaroglu, like Filler, is undefeated in the event this far and today she enjoyed wins over young Norwegian, Nina Torvund by 7-2 and then took a 7-4 victory over Hannan Memic (BIH) in the quarter-finals.

Filler, who is looking for her maiden Euro Tour title, beat a brace of youngsters today to cement her spot in the final four. First, she despatched Alara Ghaffari (TNC) who had grabbed a silver and a pair of bronze medals at the recent European Junior Championships. Then she beat Austria’s talented Lena Primus by 7-2 in the last eight.

The second semi-final is an all-German affair, giving that nation three of the four semi-final players. Melanie Sussenguth, currently ranked No.11, will face Ina Kaplan (No.14) for a place in the final. Kaplan, who won on the Ladies’ Euro Tour in Austria in June, went to the one-loss side earlier in the tournament following a defeat to Chantal Stadler in the winners’ qualification round.

She bounced back though with wins over Anna Riegler (AUT), Bojana Sarac of Serbia and then local hero Ana Gradisnik in her quarter-final match. Sussenguth, who has already made her best finish of the year here in Slovenia will be hoping to carry today’s form into tomorrow.

She beat Poland’s Monika Zabek by 7-5 and then followed that up with a 7-3 win over Kristina Zlateva of Bulgaria. Both matches are played simultaneously at 10.00 with Eyllul Kibaroglu v Pia Filler a Facebook Live presentation. Melanie Sussenguth against Ina Kaplan will be available to Kozoom subscribers.

All Predator Euro Tour Women tournaments are 9-ball and the field contest a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 16 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are a race to 7 racks with alternate break.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Predator Slovenian Open – Day One Complete In Lasko

Eylul Kibaroglu

Thirty-four matches were completed in Lasko on Saturday as the opening day’s play at the Predator Slovenian Open on the Euro Tour Women completed. Of the starting 37 players, nine players have departed the competition, eight players are undefeated and through to the last 16 single elimination knock-out stage, and the remainder are scrapping it out on the one-loss side.

Eyllul Kibaroglu (Turkey) who is currently ranked No.1 and was victorious in Bulgaria at the last ET event, made it through to the last sixteen stage with two wins. It wasn’t without a scare though as she fell behind in her opening match against Germany’s Karen Michl before prevailing 7-6. She then followed that up with another squeaker, again 7-6 against promising youngster Alara Ghaffari of Turkish North Cyprus.

The number two ranked player, Ana Gradisnik who is carrying home hopes, made it through on the winners’ side after a torrid two months in competition. Gradisnik easily got the better of Emília Bystrianska (Serbia) and then followed that up with a gritty 7-6 win over No.10 ranked player Kristina Zlateva of Bulgaria.

Commented Gradisnik, “It was really difficult as I was losing four zero and I was playing pretty bad and gave it all away. I took a time-out and it kind of got easier because I told myself that I’ve got nothing to lose and I can relax a little bit and if I make a mistake, it doesn’t matter anymore.

Ana Gradisnik

“Then I just went ball-by-ball and in the end, I just managed to win. It feels good to get through as at the last Euro Tour I did very badly and at the recent World Championships I also went two-and-out so mentally I was really down but after winning the first match here I gained confidence from that and I’m just trying to trust my technique and whatever happens happens,” she added.

The eight players on the winners’ side, which also includes the likes of Pia Filler, Sabrina Hammer, Melanie Sussenguth and Bojana Sarac will sit out two more qualifying rounds on the one-loss side before their opponents are set. Play commences at 9.00 on Sunday morning with the last 16 matches scheduled to start at 13.30 in the afternoon.

The quarter-finals get underway at 18.30 on Sunday, with the semi-finals and finals take place on Monday morning.

All Predator Euro Tour Women tournaments are 9-ball and the field contest a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 16 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are a race to 7 racks with alternate break.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Predator Slovenian Open – Kibaroglu Looking To Maintain Her Top Spot

Eylul Kibaroglu

The Predator Euro Tour Women is back in Lasko, Slovenia as 37 players from across Europe ready themselves to do battle in the fifth event of a six-tournament season. In total, 17 countries are represented and the lady to beat this week is No.1 ranked player Eyllul Kibaroglu of Turkey, a winner last time out in Petrich, Bulgaria where she took her maiden Predator Euro Tour title.

The Turkish star, who celebrated her 34th birthday yesterday, had a little too much for Germany’s Pia Filler in Bulgaria as she ran out a 7-4 winner in the final. That propelled her to No.1 in the standing following a run of form that saw her ascend the rankings.

Six players are within 300 ranking points of Kibaroglu, including Slovenia’s Ana Gradisnik who is just 50 points behind, so a high finish here in Lasko is essential for the Turkish girl. Gradisnik heads a contingent of three players representing the host nation, so they will all be hoping to still be competing on Monday in the closing stages.

We caught up with Ine Helvik (Norway), a veteran of the Tour, having played in its earlier incarnation as well as being a part of its latter revival.

“I’ve been playing the tour in two parts really. I played in the first one in the beginning of the 2000s and then myself and Ina Kaplan started this tour going now many years ago and I’ve been playing almost every tournament.

“I still enjoy it and I always want to win my matches and to perform as best as I can. I would like to win but some of these girls do nothing but play pool and I have a day-time job and stuff so it’s not that easy but I always go into a match with the aim to win it.

“Looking at the players here, Eyllul Kibaroglu has become very stable. She’s always been good and a very good shot-maker but the last year or two she’s been more stable and she performs on that level almost all the time.

“No.2 Ana Gradisnik likes playing at home as she has her family here and has all the support of the locals who are very good at coming out and supporting her. Of course, there’s always pressure playing on home ground but she enjoys it. The pandemic did Pia Filler very well as she could focus only on playing pool and practice and that shows. Put the hours in and you get the reward.

“Of the younger players, we have my Norwegian team mate Nina Torvund. She’s going to be really good in a couple of years. She’s now getting all the tournaments in and practicing and she’s definitely a future top European player. Also, Bojana Sarac and Hanna Memic are both playing really well. There’s definitely a future here!” she added.

The ranking is calculated on a rolling six event series with each player dropping the event which yielded them the least points. Once an event is concluded, the first event from the six is dropped to be replaced by points from the current tournament.

Play gets underway at 9.00am local time tomorrow. All Predator Euro Tour Women tournaments are 9-ball and the field contest a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 16 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are a race to 7 racks with alternate break.

All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com

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Philippines Are Predator World Teams Champions

Rubilen Amit, Carlo Biado and Johann Chua

Philippines defeated Great Britain 3-0 in the final in Klagenfurt, Austria to be crowned 2022 Predator World Teams Champions, eight years after finishing runners-up the last time the event was staged.

The team of Rubilen Amit, Carlo Biado and Johann Chua won 4-3, 4-3, 4-1 against the British trio of Kelly Fisher, Jayson Shaw and Darren Appleton. Both Biado and Amit were part of the silver-medal winning team of 2014, when they lost to China in the final.

Philippines had reached this year’s final with a shootout victory over Germany, who fought back from 2-0 down to force the decider. Britain’s semi-final was against Chinese Taipei, who were defeated 3-1 with Shaw in practically good form for his nation.

The final was much closer than the scoreline might suggest; the first two sets – women’s singles and a men’s match contested by Shaw and Biado – both finished 4-3, before the victory was completed by Amit and Chua in a 4-1 mixed-doubles win over Fisher and Appleton.

“It feels amazing to be champions,” said Amit. “We’re, we’re very, very happy, and very and relieved. Finally, no more matches, we can rest and just enjoy it and enjoy Austria and Klagenfurt!

“Last time we placed 2nd and now we are finally the champions. I am very happy that I have Johann and Carlo as my teammates because they are awesome, they are very good players.”

Biado added: “Finally we made it. My job was to win in this event and with my team, and I want to thank them because we all played well. We have to celebrate now!”

The final’s first set went the way of Amit, but it would have been easier had she not missed the 7 at 3-2 up. Fisher made it with a great shot to the corner and then took a difficult 9 to the middle before rolling in the 10 to make it 3-3.

The Brit had the break but after she missed a 3-ball jump, control passed to Amit, who produced a solid run out to take the first set of the final.
Shaw had been imperious in the semi-final, beating Wu Kun Lin 4-0 and Chang Jung-Lin 4-1. He fired himself to a 2-0 set lead in no time against Biado, before the reigning US Open champion escaped a safety with a 1-ball bank to open the table and pull it back to 2-1.

A kick shot on the 3 opened up the next rack for Biado, who drew level at 2-2. He had the break next but with a chance to lead for the first time, snookered himself on the 7 and a hopeful double bank failed, allowing Shaw to steal the point.

Shaw came up dry on the hill. Biado made the 1 and went safe on the 2, but when Shaw’s reply went wrong, Biado was able to join his opponent on the hill.

The Filipino was put back in after a push out and what followed was a high-quality safety battle. A great kick from Shaw made the 2, but there was no shot on the 3. After a visit from Biado, Shaw made another great shot – a 3/8 carom – only to be left still without a shot on the 3. Biado’s failed jump finally gave Shaw an opening but there was still work to do and he caught the 10 coming back for position on the 9. Eagle Eye played safe but Biado produced a great bank down the length of the table to take Philippines within a set of the title.

Clearly, the team didn’t want to wait for their crowning moment. The doubles pair of Chua and Amit were quickly 2-0 ahead against Appleton and Fisher. Britain were up against it but produced a calm clearance to cut their deficit in half. The fourth rack went to Philippines, and after Appleton lost the cue ball and Fisher then missed the 5, the title belonged to the Philippines, and the winning 10 ball to Johann Chua.

“I am so happy and so proud,” said Chua. “It is my first medal from a World Championship, and I am so thankful and so happy to make it with this team. We knew our opponents are really tough, but we came here to enjoy it.”

In yesterday’s Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship semi final, Kelly Fisher had suffered a 9-4 defeat to eventual champion Chou Chieh-Yu. The opening set of the Chinese Taipei vs Great Britain semi-final threw up a repeat of that semi-final, and Fisher was able to exert a small amount of revenge with a 4-2 win.

Jayson Shaw was next up in men’s singles, facing Wu Kun Lin. The Scot is a ruthless operator and had his Eagle Eyes set on title, and wasting no time in dispatching Wu 4-0 as he produced a masterclass performance.

Taipei needed a response and Chang Jung-Lin alongside Chou brought it with a hill-hill win in mixed doubles against Fisher and Darren Appleton. That left Chang needed a win against Shaw to force a shootout, but the Brit brought his fine form from the earlier set against Wu to deliver a 4-1 win.
Rubilen Amit’s 4-2 women’s singles win against Pia Filler gave Philippines first blood in the second semi final. Biado then came from 2-1 down to reach the hill first against Thorsten Hohmann. A masse around the 2 then saw Biado escape from a safety and make the 1, playing a lot of draw to come back and make the 2. From there he ran the rack for a 4-2 set victory and to take Philippines to the hill of the match.

But Germany fought back; first the Fillers against Amit and Johann Chua, and then Joshua Filler in singles against Chua won 4-0 to force the fifth set shootout.

In the shootout, Biado and Joshua Filler both opened with successful shots from the right. Amit and Pia Filler then both made their shots from the left. Shooting from the right, Chua found the very heart of the pocket but Hohmann missed his. That afforded Biado a chance to take Philippines to the final, and he made no mistake from the spot.

Matches from the Predator World Teams Championship can be replaying in full on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship can be seen here: https://probilliardseries.com/event/1677/.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Teams Championship is at https://probilliardseries.com/event/1678/.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Blockbuster Final Day Set For Predator World Teams Championship

Chang Jung-Lin

Great Britain will face Chinese Taipei and Germany will take on Philippines in an all-star line-up for the semi-finals of the Predator World Teams Championship in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Friday’s quarter-finals saw Great Britain beat Japan 3-0, Chinese Taipei knock out hosts Austria 3-1, Germany overcome Spain 3-1, and Philippines defeat Poland, also by 3 sets to 1.

It means Sunday’s semi-final line-up is littered with World Champions, and three more will be crowned by the end of the weekend, as well as another in the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship.

Austria took center stage on the main feature table with a home crowd behind them. However, they lost the first set as ‘Rita’ Chieh-Yu Chou won 4-3 over Jasmin Ouschan; both players had earlier in the day qualified for the semi-finals of the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship, which take place on Saturday.

Mario He levelled for his country with a 4-1 singles win against Wu Kun Lin, but siblings Jasmin and Albin Ouschan then suffered a 4-0 reversal to Chou and Chang Jung-Lin, before Chang completed the win with another 4-0, this time against He.

“In the women’s singles I didn’t play very well but in the doubles Chang Jung-Lin gave me a lot of power, he made me feel very comfortable,” said Chou.

Chang added: “I played well today but so did Rita. We have to support each othjer, trust each other and enjoy the match. On Sunday we hope to play better.”

Great Britian’s progression to the semi-finals, where they will meet Chinese Taipei, was completed in straight sets. Kelly Fisher won a hill-hill women’s singles tie against Yuki Hiraguchi 4-3, and Jayson Shaw dispatched Masato Yoshioka 4-1 in the men’s singles match. Victory was completed with a 4-2 mixed doubles win for Fisher and Darren Appleton over Hiraguchi and Toru Kuribayashi.

For Fisher, she believes the experience of playing alongside two elite-level team-mates, who also happen to be close friends, is helping elevate her individual game too.

“We have known each other for years and we all get on so well,” said Fisher, who plays in the semi-finals of the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship on Saturday.

“They have so much testosterone between them, it’s no wonder they are champions. I think they might be helping me because they are gearing me up, they are really supportive and some of the shot selection, how men think compared to women, it is really amazing when you spend that time with them.

“I love teams, I wish we had more team events. We are here to win, and with the testosterone and ego you can see that, but win or lose we get on great and whatever happens we will give it 110%”

Sunday’s second semi-final will see Germany face Philippines after both teams registered 3-1 semi-final wins. Pia Filler got things started for Germany with a 4-2 win over Amalia Matas and Thorsten Hohmann continued the momentum by beating Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, also 4-2. Matas and David Alcaide kept Spain in it with an emphatic 4-0 success over husband and wife pairing Joshua and Pia Filler, but Joshua put that behind him and turned the scoreline around on Sanchez-Ruiz to avoid the shootout and send Spain to the last four.

Philippines are also guaranteed a medal after they defeated Poland 3-1. Rubilen Amit scored a 4-1 success over Oliwia Zalewska in the women’s singles set, but men’s World 10-Ball Champion Wojciech Szewczyk beat Carlo Biado 4-2 to level for Poland.

Szewczyk’s racks were the last won by Poland, however, as first Zaleska and Tomasz Kaplan and then Szewczyk suffered 4-0 defeats, to Amit and Johann Chua in doubles and Chua in singles.

“We are very happy that we are into the semi finals now,” said Amit. “I am glad that the boys played very well and we didn’t have to go through another shootout, because my heart couldn’t bare another shootout.”

Chua added: “Tomorrow we will practice, rest well and on Sunday we will come for you guys!”

The semi-finals and final all take place on Sunday, beginning at 9am local time. Matches will be streamed live and free on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel, watchbilliard.tv and on Kozoom.com.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship can be seen here: https://probilliardseries.com/event/1677/.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Teams Championship is at https://probilliardseries.com/event/1678/.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Fisher, Ouschan, Chou And Wei Are Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship Semi-Finalists

Jasmin Ouschan

Kelly Fisher will meet Chieh-Yu Chou and Jasmin Ouschan will face Wei Tzu Chien in the semi-finals of the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship after the remaining 24 athletes played down to four at Sportpark Klagenfurt, Austria on Friday.

Ouschan faced three matches if she was to qualify for the semi-finals and came through them all to ensure she will feature on the final day of the event in her home city, and which she was a major driving force in the organization of.

After a defeat to Pia Filler on Thursday, Ouschan returned on Friday morning to face Bojana Sarac. The Serbian youngster didn’t allow her opponent to pull too far ahead at any time and twice fought back from behind to have the match level at 4-4. But Ouschan was able to reach the hill at 6-4 up, and though Sarac did pull another rack back, it was the Austrian who went through to the last 16 as 7-5 winner.

A re-draw took place before the last 16 began, with the tournament now playing to a single elimination format and all remaining matches a race to 9.
Ouschan’s draw pitted her against Germany’s Ina Kaplan, who earlier in the week defeated the reigning champion Rubilen Amit. Kaplan provided another tough match for the Austrian, who won 9-6, before beating Ho-Yun Chen 9-3 in her quarter final.

Awaiting Ouschan in tomorrow’s semi-finals is Wei, who conceded just three racks in three matches on Friday. First, she beat Veronique Menard 7-1, then Pia Filler was eliminated 9-2, and then on the feature table, Canada Open champion Chia Hua Chen was on the receiving end of a 9-0 demolition.

“I didn’t expect it to be like that,” said Wei after her win over Chen. “We have known each other for a really long time and she is a really good player. I am really enjoying playing the event. It has been three years without going to any international tournament because of Covid and lockdowns, so I have just tried to enjoy myself.”

The second semi-final will pit Fisher against Chieh-Yu Chou. Fisher started the day in the last 16 after coming through to single elimination undefeated. Her first match of Friday’s play was a re-run of the Germany Open final against Eylul Kibaroglu, which went to a shootout. This match wasn’t so close though, with Fisher in fine form in a 9-3 win.

Next up was Filipino Chezka Centeno, and again Fisher delivered a statement performance as she won 9-6 against a tough opponent.

“I am so happy to have won that one,” explained Fisher. “I have played Chezka so many times over the years but haven’t seen each other for three years. I know she fires on all cylinders, the only way to beat her is to keep her in her seat. I haven’t been playing at my best but today was a great day; I performed really well, used a little bit of tactics – I’m a bit older, a bit wiser – and managed to get the upper hand and keep control.”

Fisher’s semi-final opponent Chou began the day with a 7-1 win over Oliwia Zalewska to reach the last 16, when Allison Fisher was defeated 9-6. That set up a quarter-final with South Korea’s Yun Mi Lim, which Chou won 9-3 to guarantee herself a medal.

The semi-finals take place at 10am and 12noon local time on Saturday, before the showpiece final at 3pm. Matches will be streamed live and free on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel, watchbilliard.tv and on Kozoom.com.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship can be seen here: https://probilliardseries.com/event/1677/.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Teams Championship is at https://probilliardseries.com/event/1678/.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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