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Ko Wins Thriller Over Filler, Crowned Predator World 10-Ball Champion

Ko Ping Chung (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Four years ago, a 19-year-old Ping-Chung Ko was eliminated in the semifinals of the World Pool and Billiards Association’s World 10-Ball Championship and watched from stands as his older brother, Pin-Yi Ko, claimed the tile over Carlo Biado.
 
“I was happy for my brother, but I think if I would have been the winner that may have been better,” the younger Ko said with a laugh through a translator.
 
The roles were reversed Friday night, as the younger Ko used a combination of brilliant shot-making and some late match mistakes by opponent Joshua Filler to claim the Predator World 10-ball Championship at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The win is the first major victory for Ko, who has come close in big events in recent years but hasn’t been able to close out until this week in Las Vegas. Last year, Ko finished second at the International 9-Ball Open and had top-10 finishes at the China Open and World 9-Ball Championship.
 
“The last couple of years, Joshua has played really well and I just wanted to challenge him,” Ko said. “I didn’t know if I could beat him but I just wanted to try my best.”
 
Filler jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage in the finals, using two breaks and runs and a dry break from Ko. After the two players traded breaks and runs in the next two games, and Ko took a restroom break immediately following Filler’s pocketing of the 10-ball. The elder Ko followed along with his little brother, more to be there as a security blanket than to coach or offer advice.
 
“He didn’t really say anything to me,’ said Ping-Chung Ko. “Just having him walk with me relaxed me.”
 
The timeout paid dividends for Ko, who used missed shots by his opponent in the seventh and ninth racks to pull to within 5-4. Momentum really shifted in Ko’s favor in the crucial 10th game. Without a clear shot on the 1-ball, the German attempted a safety and left a long open shot instead. Ko pocketed the ball and ran out the rack to tie the score, then mixed in a break-and-run to take the lead. Filler tied the score at six each and had an opportunity to regain the lead in the 11th game when Ko misplayed a safety on the 5-ball, but couldn’t capitalize – missing a somewhat routine combination shot on the 9 and 10 balls.
 
“Both matches today, I played pretty solid at the start of the match but I couldn’t get a good lead,” Filler said. “I didn’t have a chance to get three games ahead. Then I missed some balls.”
 
Ko was clutch in the closing stages, executing a sharp cut on the 3-ball and bank on the 4-ball to run out the 15th game and regain the lead, 8-7. When Filler broke dry in the next game, Ko used a challenging one-rail kick shot to pocket the 3-ball and run out the rack and climb onto the hill, 9-7.
 
Needing one more win for the championship, Ko broke in the 18th game and authoritatively banked the 1-ball into the side pocket – as Filler sat in his chair simply nodding in appreciation.
 
“That’s really when I felt like I could win this,” he said.
 
As he stroked his way through the final balls, a packed crowd sensed the victory – including a dozen family and fans who had traveled from Chinese Taipei. After landing the 5-ball and sending the cue ball two rails down table for the game winning 9 and 10 balls, the elder Ko let out a sigh of relief.
 
“I was nervous until he made the last two balls,” he said.
 
Filler was plagued with mistakes throughout the day. He reached the finals by surviving a handful of uncharacteristic unforced errors throughout the match, defeating the elder Ko, 10-8.
 
The reigning WPA World 9-ball champion looked like he could be giving the assembled crowd an early dismissal, jumping out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of three victorious safety exchanges. Filler was cruising through the fourth rack as well but missed a makeable cross-side bank shot on the 3-ball into the side pocket. Ko took full advantage, clearing the table and adding three breaks and runs in route to winning five of the next six games to capture the lead, 5-4. Filler broke and ran out in the 10th game, tying the score at five apiece before the two competitors took a brief intermission.
 
Everything that went right with Ko’s break before the intermission was nowhere to be found in the second half – failing to pocket a ball off of the opening shot three times. After Ko inched ahead once more time, 6-5, after a victorious safety exchange, Filler broke and ran twice and took advantage of back-to-back dry breaks from his opponent to charge ahead, 9-6.
 
“I was criticizing and questioning myself, and that’s why I didn’t do well on the breaks,” Ko said through his translator.
 
The German appeared positioned to run out the 16th game and advance to the finals but missed position on the 5-ball. Filler again had a chance to close out the match in the next rack when Ko again failed to pocket a ball on the break, but missed the 2-ball in back-to-back opportunities.
 
“Overall, I think it was just a bad day for me,” Filler said.
 
Filler initiated a safety exchange when he didn’t have a clear shot at the 1-ball after his break in the 18th game. He found an opening after Ko left the 1-ball visible down at the opposite end of the table from the cue ball. The German pocketed the ball and meticulously worked his way through the rack to earn a spot in the evening’s finals. Filler’s go-to move after pocketing the game-winner in a final round is to yell and pump his fist. Not this time, as he collapsed onto the table in relief instead.
 
“I wasn’t very lucky. Every time that Filler missed, I didn’t have a good position to shoot,” Ko said.
 
Although he’d been eliminated, baby brother Ping-Chung Ko still had an opportunity to keep the family alive with a victory in the next semifinal match against Masato Yoshioka of Japan.
 
“The only words I have for my brother is, ‘release your pressure,’” Ko said. “I don’t want to see him under any pressure.”
 
If the young Ko was feeling any kind of pressure, he certainly didn’t show it at the table. Using stifling safety play as well as pinpoint accuracy when an open shot was available, Ko won five of the first seven racks of the game and cruised to an easy 10-3 victory.
 
After Yoshiota claimed the first game of the match, Ko took advantage of a foul, scratch and a victorious safety battle to build a 4-1 advantage. His Japanese counterpart, who was the last remaining player in the event who qualified by winning a regional qualifier tournament, tacked on a break-and-run and took advantage of a Ko scratch to narrow the deficit to 5-3. However, Ko continued to hit the gas pedal – breaking and running in the ninth and 11th racks as he won the last five games of the match. 
 
“My main objective was to just get the experience internationally, but when I got to the semifinals, I felt a lot of pressure. That’s why I didn’t play in a way that I want to play,” Yoshiota said.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is a presentation of CueSports International and sponsored by Predator Group. Predator Group is an international billiard industry leader with a focus on high-performance cues and shafts as well as bringing constant innovation and game-improving equipment to billiard players worldwide. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championships are sponsored by:
 
Predator Cues: www.predatorcues.com
Diamond billiard tables: www.diamondbilliards.com
Omega Billiards: www.omegabilliards.com
Kamui Brand: www.kamuibrand.com

 

Filler’s a Killer as Predator World 10-ball Championship Down to Final Four

Japan’s Masato Yoshioka

At the young age of 21, Joshua Filler already has the kind of career that many players would dream of having.
 
The German sparkplug with the dynamic disposition at the table won the China Open in 2017, the World Pool and Billiards Association’s World 9-ball Championship in December and has a pair of EuroTour championships under his belt this year.
 
Filler inched closer to adding another major title to his resume Thursday afternoon at the Las Vegas’s Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, eliminating the previously unbeaten Jayson Shaw and Niels Feijen at the Predator World-10 Championships. He now advances to Friday’s semifinals, which will be at noon pacific time and will be streamed like on YouTube for free.
 
“Overall, I’m really, really happy with my game and with my break. Everything worked,” Filler said.
 
Shortly after the first phase of competition concluded on Wednesday night, the tournament was re-drawn and re-seeded – with players from the winner’s side matched against competitors from the one-loss side. Filler drew a fellow European in Shaw, winner of this year’s Turning Stone Classic and a runner-up at the Mezz Bucharest Open and Ginky Memorial.
 
Filler struggled with his break early and Shaw jumped out to a 4-2 lead in a race-to-10. The young German used two victorious safety exchanges as well as two breaks-and-runs in the middle of the match to claim his first lead, 6-5. Shaw tied the match in the next rack when Filler overran position on the 6-ball and missed, but Filler would use a successful jump shot on the 3-ball to run out the rack in the 15th game to regain the lead. Shaw again tied the match in the following frame with a break-and-run but Filler took the lead for good in the 17th game, using a tight cut shot on the 1-ball run out the rack and climb onto the hill, 9-8. The German finished off the match in the following game when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break. 
 
Filler advanced to the quarterfinals where he met Niels Feijen, a man who needed a bit of luck in order to survive his round of 16 matchup.
 
Feijen battled Wojciech Szewczyk of Poland to a 9-9 deadlock. Szewczyk was at the table in the deciding game and appeared positioned to run out the rack and claim the match, but overdrew the cue ball attempting to land position for the 5-ball – instead positioning the ball slightly behind the 9-ball on the rail. Frustrated with himself, he dropped his cue stick and walked away in disgust, then initiated a safety exchange with Feijen – who pocketed the ball with a jump shot and ran out.
 
Filler built an early 4-1 lead in the semifinals, using two breaks and runs and a dry break from his opponent. Feijen rallied in the middle of the match, using a Filler foul and two breaks and runs to cut the margin to 6-5. Feijen had an opportunity to knot up the score at six games each but was unable to secure position on the 9-ball. Filler cleared the rack and tacked on an additional break-and-run to push his lead back to 8-5.
 
The German wasn’t out of the woods yet, however, as Feijen used a safety exchange and a missed kick shot by Filler to cut the lead to down to one. Again, Feijen had a chance to tie the score and committed an unforced error – this time missing a 6-ball. In the 16th game. Filler cleared the table then tacked on one final run out to secure the victory.
 
“I felt very strong. Sometimes I was nervous when he came back,” Filler said. “I was 5-2 up and then he battled back every time that I was up. He made it very tough for me.”
 
Filler will face Pin-Yi Ko in Friday’s semifinals, who took advantage of a handful of victorious safety exchanges to pull ahead of Jung-Lin Chang and win, 10-8, in the quarterfinals.
 
Ko, who won the last World 10-ball title when it was staged in 2015, used a break and run as well as a pair of safety exchanges to build an early 4-1 advantage then pushed the lead to 8-4 when Cheng left openings after safeties in the 10th and 11th racks. At the table with a 9-6 advantage, Ko appeared ready to close out the match but left the 8-ball in the corner pocket’s jaws. His Chinese Taipei counterpart cleared the table then broke and ran to narrow the deficit to one game, but Ko added and break-and-run of his own in the 18th game to seal the victory.
 
Thursday was also a very fruitful one for Pin-Yi Ko’s little brother, Ping-Chung Ko, who survived Marc Bijsterbosch, 10-7, in the quarterfinals then used pinpoint execution of safeties to easily defeat Alex Pagulayan, 10-4. The Filipino, who advanced to the quarterfinals by battling back from a 7-3 deficit to defeat Ralf Souquet, opened the match winning three of the first five racks but couldn’t overcome Ko’s safety play. Ko tied the score at three games each then proceeded to win seven of the last eight games to secure the victory.
 
The match momentarily halted when the hotel’s fire alarm activated. With the emergency lights flashing like a nightclub, Pagulayan and Ko opted to continue playing.
 
“We don’t care about that. At home, we play with chickens running around,” Pagulayan said to a referee. “Same thing in China.”
 
With both Ko brothers onto the semifinals, this year’s event mirrors the 2015 World 10-ball Championship in which the elder Ko won and his younger brother reached the semifinals.
 
Junior Ko will take on Masato Yoshioka of Japan in the second semifinal match Friday, who overcame some early struggles to put away Tyler Styer, 10-7.
 
Styer, who reached the quarterfinals with a come-from-behind victory against Billy Thorpe, took an early 4-0 lead thanks to two unforced errors by his opponent paired with two breaks and runs. The momentum shifted towards Yoshioka during the fifth game, as he won six of the next seven racks while the American struggled with working through some difficult racks. Styer had an opportunity to tie the score at six games each in the 12th game but overran position for the 8-ball – leaving the cue ball pinned to the 10-ball.
 
“I just had some really finnicky, tricky outs to try and get through in the middle of the match and I just couldn’t get out,” Styer said after the match. “Those rolled over to the end and I just didn’t play my best.”
 
Nothing seemed to go right for Styer down the stretch, who left an open shot for his opponent on the 4-ball in the 14th game after failing to pocket the ball with a jump shot, then attempted a safety on the 1-ball in the 16th game and wound up pocketing the ball instead.
 
After the semifinals are completed the championship match is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. Pacific time.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is a presentation of CueSports International and sponsored by Predator Group. Predator Group is an international billiard industry leader with a focus on high-performance cues and shafts as well as bringing constant innovation and game-improving equipment to billiard players worldwide. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championships are sponsored by:
 
Predator Cues: www.predatorcues.com
Diamond billiard tables: www.diamondbilliards.com
Omega Billiards: www.omegabilliards.com
Kamui Brand: www.kamuibrand.com
 

Upsets and Tight Finishes as Predator World 10-Ball Championship Narrows Down to Final 16

Shane Van Boening (JP Parmentier)

Heading into the third and final day of Predator World 10-ball Championship’s first phase, it appeared American Shane Van Boening and reigning World Pool and Billiards Association 9-ball champion Joshua Filler could be heading towards an afternoon showdown.
 
With both competitors working their ways through the one-loss side of the bracket, Filler had to survive Fedor Gorst of Russia while it appeared Van Boening had drawn the easier of the competitors: Gerson Martinez of Peru. With Van Boening leading Martinez 4-1 and Filler comfortably ahead of Gorst, 6-2, the duel between the prolific American and the rising, young German seemed inevitable.
 
That was until the wheels came off for Van Boening.
 
Plagued by a series of uncharacteristic misses along with an ineffective break, Van Boening watched as Martinez came from behind and won, 8-6, in front of a stunned crowd that had gathered to watch. The Van Boening loss was part of a topsy-turvy day of pool at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino as the tournament field narrowed down to the final 16 players.
 
“I didn’t feel comfortable. That’s all I can say,” said Van Boening. “Probably too tired. It’s been a long trip in Vegas.”
 
The South Dakotan struck early, capitalizing on a foul and scratch on the break by his opponent to build an early lead. Van Boening was at the table and appeared in position to increase his 5-3 lead but missed two makeable shots on the 4-ball not, but twice. Martinez tied the match at five games each then added a break and run to take the lead.
 
Meanwhile, Van Boening’s break refused to cooperate, failing to secure a shot on the 1-ball after his opening shot in the last three games that he broke – including what ultimately became the final rack of the match. After a brief safety exchange on the 1-ball, Van Boening attempted a one-rail kick in of the ball and left it in the pocket’s jaws. Taking deep breaths and playing cautiously, the Peruvian worked his way through the clinching rack for the victory.
 
Two hours later, the upset-mindEd Martinez was promptly eliminated from the tournament by Filler, 8-2.
 
Fellow American Skylar Woodward would meet a fate similar to Van Boening’s later in the afternoon.
 
Woodward began his day fending off a late charge by Naoyuki Oi of Japan, who erased a 6-3 deficit to force a deciding game that he ultimately lost, 8-7. Oi fought back to even with well-placed safeties and a break-and-run. The two battled to a 7-7 deadlock and Oi was at the table in the deciding game but missed a long shot on the 2-ball. Woodward would clear the table but not before making things interesting, as he missed position on the 8-ball. The rising star from Kentucky executed a flawless bank shot on the object ball to help clinch the game and the match.
 
Facing Li-Wen Lo on the same table, Woodward found a different result. He quickly found himself down 6-1 as he struggled with safety play while he opponent worked his way through racks. The reigning Derby City Classic Master of the Table tacked on a pair of racks to cut the deficit to 7-3 and appeared positioned to narrow the gap more in the 11th game but misplaced the cue ball for positioning on the 5-ball, losing the game and the match, 8-3.
 
The good news for United States pool fans is that Billy Thorpe and Tyler Styer are alive and doing well.
 
The undefeated Thorpe built an early 4-1 advantage and held on to defeat Marc Bijsterbosch of the Netherlands, 8-5. Trailing 5-2, Bijsterbosch used a dry break and a missed shot by his opponent to cut the deficit to 6-4. Thorpe tacked on a break and run to push his advantage back to three games and appeared to have the match locked up but left the 10-ball sitting in the jaws of the corner pocket. Thorpe broke and ran in the next game to clinch a spot in Thursday’s final 16. 
 
Bijsterbosch rebounded in the next match, defeating Mario He of Austria, 8-5, to advance to Thursday.
 
Styer had a bit more work to do in order to secure one of the remaining 16 spots, defeating Raymund Faraon, 8-1; John Morra, in a hill-hill match and Maximilian Lechner, 8-4.
 
Another player who remains undefeated of the eight remaining players is Ralf Souquet, who battled and survived a hill-hill match with Alex Kazakis of Greece, 8-7. Playing in his usual deliberate and analytical style, Souquet worked his way to a 7-3 lead but Kazakis fought back with victorious safety exchanges to tie the score. The young Greek, who won the EuroTour’s Ballazo Open last year, controlled the break in the deciding game but failed to pocket a ball. Souquet worked his way through the rack to secure the win. 
 
Kazakis was sent to the one-loss side of the bracket where he was easily defeated by Filler, 8-2.
 
Speaking of Filler, the young German played some of his best pool at a time when he needed it most, besting Fedor Gorst, 8-4; then overwhelming Martinez and Kazakis by matching, 8-2 scores.
 
The eight remaining undefeated players in the event include Souquet, Thorpe, Jayson Shaw, Diamond Las Vegas Open champion Niels Feijen, Ping-Chung Ko, Masato Yoshioka, Jung-Lin Chang and Johann Chua. Competitors from the one-loss side include Filler, Styer, Bijsterbosch, Alex Pagulayan, Denis Grabe, Pin-Yi Ko, Yu-Hsuan Cheng and Wojciech Szewczyk.
 
With the first phase of the tournament completed, the remaining 16 players will now enter the single-elimination portion of the event – with the race lengths also increasing from eight games to 10. Additionally, the player seedings will be re-drawn, with the eight players from the winner’s side matched with players from the one-loss side.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is a presentation of CueSports International and sponsored by Predator Group. Predator Group is an international billiard industry leader with a focus on high-performance cues and shafts as well as bringing constant innovation and game-improving equipment to billiard players worldwide. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championships are sponsored by:
 
Predator Cues: www.predatorcues.com
Diamond billiard tables: www.diamondbilliards.com
Omega Billiards: www.omegabilliards.com
Kamui Brand: www.kamuibrand.com

Predator World 10-ball Championship Delivers Full House and Compelling Matches on First Day

Billy Thorpe – JP Parmentier

At many professional pocket billiards tournaments, the opening rounds sometimes have a bit of a perfunctory feel to them.
 
As the pros jockey early to either stay in stroke or get in stroke to avoid an early trip over to the one-loss side of the bracket, crowds are many times sparse until an event reaches the later stages.
 
This wasn’t the case when fellow Americans Billy Thorpe and Shane Van Boening squared off in the opening round of the Predator World 10-ball Championship Monday night. With the event being played right in the heart of the Billiard Congress of America Pool League championships, amateur players and fans began filling the arena more than an hour the match was scheduled to begin.
 
“I like a crowd myself,” said Thorpe. “It sparks a bit of a fire in me.”
 
The two competitors didn’t disappoint, combining for eight breaks and runs as Thorpe defeated his friend and roommate for the week, 8-4, at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The match was one of many tightly-contested pairings during the first act of this five-day, $100,000 added competition – with eight of the 32 first round matchups needing a deciding 15th game.
 
With two of the most decorated players in the United States squaring off, the matchup felt more like a quarterfinal or a semifinal match rather the beginning of the tournament. Van Boening and Thorpe split the first six games of the set, with each using two breaks-and-runs each along with effective safety play to maintain serve. The young man from Ohio edged ahead 4-3 when Van Boening left a 1-ball in the corner pocket’s jaws, then increased his lead to two games when he used a jump shot to run out in the eighth rack. The two competitors again traded breaks and runs for the next three games, with Thorpe maintaining a 6-5 lead.
 
“We broke well. I thought it might be different with the referees racking the balls with the template,” Thorpe said. “For a while I thought that it was going to be break and run the whole match.”
 
And it essentially was until the 12th game when Thorpe missed a 3-ball in the corner pocket.
 
“I really thought that I hit it good but the ball hopped on me,” Thorpe said.
 
Although Thorpe had left the window open for his friend, establishing position on the 4-ball would be a challenge thanks to two object balls providing cover. Van Boening pocketed the 3-ball then failed to land the 4-ball. Using a clutch jump shot, Thorpe pocketed the ball, cleared the table then added in one final break-and-run to clinch the victory.
 
Thorpe now heads to the second round where he will face Canadian John Morra Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. local time. Van Boening moves to the one-loss side where he will face Hunter Lombardo Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
 
Also advancing to the winner’s side second round is current World Pool and Billiards Association 9-ball champion Joshua Filler of Germany, who survived a scare from Fan Yang, 8-5.
 
Playing in one of the opening matches of the tournament, Filler opened competition with a break-and-run then failed to capitalize on a Yang dry break the following game. Yang took the lead in the race-to-eight set after Filler fouled on the break. The young German used a break-and-run and a missed 2-ball to take a 3-2 lead but gave his opponent an opportunity when he missed an 8-ball in the following game. The two split the next four games before Filler used two breaks-and-runs and a Yang foul to pull away and close out the match.
 
With the competition now equally divided into 32 winners and losers, Tuesday’s schedule begins at noon local time with eight matches on the winner’s side of the bracket – including Chris Melling meeting Toru Kuribayashi on the live broadcast table. A second round of winner’s side matches will begin at 2:30 p.m. in a matchup of BCA Hall of Famers as Earl Strickland takes on Ralf Souquet. Other matches of note in this timeslot include Alex Kazakis meeting Skylar Woodward and Pin-Yi Ko matching up with Alex Pagulayan. The evening session broadcast schedule includes Fan Yang matching up against Raymund Faraon at 5 p.m. and Fedor Gorst going up against Matt Edwards at 7:30 p.m.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is a presentation of CueSports International and sponsored by Predator Group, one of the world’s premier cue makers and billiards accessory manufacturers. The event is being hosted by the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcast live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of Cue Sports International. The event is also sponsored by Diamond Billiards Products, Omega Billiards and Kamui Brand. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com
 
CueSports International (CSI) is an international billiards organization which produces the United States Open 8-ball, 10-ball, one pocket, bank pool and straight pool championships. CSI, which also operates national amateur pool leagues, has three divisions: CSI leagues, CSI events and CSI media. CSI leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, the events division produces numerous amateur and professional events and the media department creates live video billiards content. For more information about CSI, visit www.playcsipool.com or find CueSports International on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.

Casualties Mount at U.S. Open

Jayson Shaw and Ko Pin Yi Prepare to do Battle (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

Day three saw the beginning of the elimination rounds and players are beginning to find the exit. Reymart Lim sent Daryl Peach home 11-9, Donny Mills did the same to James Blackburn and Brad Shearer scraped past Tim De Ruyter 11-10.
 
Nick Malai  ruined the day for Jorge Rodriquez 11-7 while Earl Strickland stayed with his hot hand to end the run for Matt Krah and John Schmidt gave no air to Joey Cicero as he took him down 11-3.
 
The winner’s side of the charts had lots of great matches. Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz first sickened Imran Majid and then did the same to Rodney Morris 11-7. Warren Kiamco had owned the hottest stick in the room until he came up against Alex Pagulayan. Pagulayan had a tough road of it but defeated Kiamco 11-9. Darren Appleton continues his strong play and defeated Mario He 11-5 while Eklant Kaci ruined the milk for Ronnie Alcano 11-7.
 
Albin Ouschan and Joshua Filler, two EuroTour Champs, went face to face and took it to the wire with Ouschan prevailing 11-10. J.L. Chang took down Chris Melling 11-5 after Melling had beaten Justin Bergman 11-8.
 
John Morra killed a giant when he won out over Niels Feijen 11-8 and Thorsten Hohmann carried the day over Martin Daigle 11-8. In the most anticipated match of the day Jayson Shaw was down 10-5 to Pin-Yi Ko when his young daughter yelled out “Come on Daddy!” Well, that is some fine inspiration there and Jayson rode it to the bank to win 6 games on the trot to win the match 11-10.Another anticipated match was Billy Thorpe against Fargo #3 James Aranas. Thorpe played an aggressive, gutsy game to take down  Aranas  11-7.
 
From here the matches only get better. Follow all the action live on Accu-Stats.com and stay up to the minute with all of your favorite players right here on AZB with our real-time live scoring and brackets.
 

Winner’s Side Action Continues at the Open

Warren Kiamco (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

We are still working our way through the winner’s side of the brackets at the Open. Most of the usual suspects performed as expected but there are always upsets and exceptions. 
 
Justin Bergman got off to a great start with an 11-6 win over Dennis Hatch. John Morra dominated John Schmidt 11-1. Warren Kiamco is having a stellar week so far. He defeated Can Wang 11-1 and in three matches he has played so far his opponents have gotten only a total of 2 racks against him so his current record is 33-2. Not bad action.
 
Alex Pagulayan defeated Karen Corr and faces Kiamco in his next match so that should be a fire-burner. Dennis Orcullo ran into a wall against Mario He as He beat him 11-5 so Dennis now is on the long side of the charts. Darren Appleton stayed clean yesterday as he defeated Frankie Hernandez 11-8 in a tough back-and-forth match.
 
Corey Deuel defeated Nick Van Den Berg 11-5, something of a surprise as van den Berg had tossed Shane Van Boening aside 11-7 in his previous match. Albin Ouschan defeated Russlan Chinakhov 11-8 and next will battle Joshua Filler, the winner of this year’s China Open. Justin Bergman’s victory over Hatch was a short-lived joy as he lost to Chris Melling 11-8 in the next round. Thorsten Hohmann took down David Alcaide 11-5 and will next face Martin Daigle who has thus far beaten Earl Strickland and Tommy Kennedy.
 
Jayson Shaw has had an easy run of it thus far but his next opponent will be none other than Pin-Yi Ko
 
The action starts again at 10:30 EST today. Follow all the action with the stream at Accu-Stats.com and the live scoring and brackets here on AZB
 

2016 Steinway Classic – Ko Pin-Yi vs Ryan Hsu

 

China Open kicks off in new venue

The 2016 World 9-Ball China Open will be held on August 21th-28th in Shanghai, China. As the qualifying tournament gets underway tomorrow with qualifiers from the 21st to 23rd, there are over 70 players in the Men's division and about 50 in the Women's division, competing for 8 qualifiers in each division to the main tournament.
 
The main tournament starts August 25th and concludes on August 28th. 64 men and 48 women will compete in groups of eight in a double elimination format, with 32 men and 16 women advancing to the single elimination phase of the evnet. The single elimination phase will see the format change to race to 11 for the men and race to 9 for the women, with alternating breaks.
 
This will be the 8th China Open, which has been supported by Peoples’ Government of Tangzhen Pudong New Area throughout the years. It is the first year the tournament will be held in Pudong Tangzhen Culture & Sports Center after 7 years in Shanghai Pudong Yuanshen Stadium.
 
This event is joined by players from over 30 countries , including the world's top 16 male players and top 8 female players. The new world 9 ball champion Albin Ouschan, the youngest winner of the Amway Cup Chezka Centeno, along with top players such as Darren Appleton, Mika Immonen, Thorsten Hohmann, Ralf Souquet, Noyuki Oi, Liu Haitao, Dennis Orcollo, Pin-Yi Ko, Chen Siming, Liu Sha Sha, Kim Ga-Young, Kelly Fisher, Jasmin Ouschan, Rubilen Amit, Chihiro Kawahara and Chou Chieh-Yu will compete for total prize money of $373,600 USD. The Men's division has $208,000 USD on offer with $40,000 USD going to the eventual champion. The women's first prize increases this year $32,000 USD to $36,000 USD for this year's winner. (Before Tax)
 
(This article orginally appeared at alison-chang.com and is used with permission.)

Ko Pin-Yi: ‘I think I deserved to win these three world titles’

Ko Pin-Yi was handed his AZB POY trophy during the Derby City Classic

AZBilliards teamed up once again with Saluc and Simonis, leaders in the market of pool balls and cloth, who crafted a fantastic trophy for both our Players of the Year 2015: Ko Pin-Yi and Ga-Young Kim.

During the 2016 edition of the Derby City Classic we sat down with our Male Player of the Year 2015, Ko Pin-Yi, to talk about last year, his three major wins (WPA World 9-Ball, WPA World 10-Ball, Matchroom’s World Cup of Pool) and the future ahead of him.

 

We want to thank Adrian Wang for translating our interview and helping us get the words of the world’s best player in english.

 

 

AZBilliards: Congratulations from everyone at AZBilliards and from our readers on being named our Player of the Year 2015.

How did you feel at the end of 2015 after all these achievements?

Ko Pin-Yi: First of all, I think it was really incredible for me to win three world titles in a year. I was really surprised but also, I think I had prepared for these events year after year for a really long time. So I’m very happy and proud of this achievement. I think I deserved to win these three world titles.

 

 

AZB: How do you prepare for a year? Do you set goals? Do you think about what you want to achieve within a particular year?

Ko Pin-Yi: Before the start of 2015, I didn’t have any world championship title. So my dream was to be the best of all the professional players for once. But now, it’s different. I have three of those titles, which is a bit of a surprise. So…for the future, for 2016, I want to maintain this kind of level and be the AZBilliards Player of the Year again!

 

 

AZB: We talked about goals for an entire year. On a smaller scale, what is your typical preparation for a tournament?

Ko Pin-Yi: I don’t have a specific preparation for a tournament. I try to act as normal as possible and not think about what will be happening. I don’t want to be too emotional ahead of a big competition, because I need to be myself during the tournament. It is the best way for me to play better when I need to.

 

 

AZB: What about downtime? In between tournaments, what do you do?

Ko Pin-Yi: Between tournaments I always play pool at least two hours a day, practicing. I also play darts, which keeps me relaxed. I go to the gym three to four times a week, for about two hours each time.

 

 

AZB: In addition to this, do you prepare mentally?

Ko Pin-Yi: I don’t really have a mental training. When I’m confused or I have questions, I go running. It takes my mind away. If I really need to talk, I go visit my former high school coach and talk to him.

 

 

AZB: What type of pool game do you like to play?

Ko Pin-Yi: I think the answer to this question is very obvious. Everybody knows I can break well, I can jump well, and when opportunities come up I will play more offense than defense. The weak part of my game is my defensive shots. I’m a much better offensive player and I enjoy it.

 

 

AZB: You’ve worked hard on your game for a long time. Where do you see yourself in the world of professional pool? A legend already?

Ko Pin-Yi: It’s kind of weird to answer this!… If I think about it, what I’ve done in 2015 was legendary. But as far as players, I’m not a legend yet. I’m one of many great players.

 

 

AZB: Our last question. Do you think your achievements of 2015 will change things for the future? How do you see 2016 and beyond?

Ko Pin-Yi: For 2016, I want to keep on doing what I’ve been doing last year. Defend my titles. But for the future, I have another dream besides pool. I want to get married, have my own family and buy my own house in Taïwan. This is the next dream for me!

 

 

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We would like to thank our partners Yves Bilquin, Nicolas Catrix and Ivan Lee with Aramith Ball and Simonis Cloth for their assistance in creating this award.

 

The trophies were handed during the latest Derby City Classic and WPBA Masters to our 2015 P.O.Y.s.

Click here to check our photo album on Facebook to see them receiving their awards!

 

 

The exclusive use of Aramith balls by most professional tours, federations and amateur leagues in championships and tournaments worldwide is an undisputed endorsement of the quality, reputation, and superior performance of Aramith balls. Unlike other phenolic blends and polyester, Aramith is only made of pure phenolic resin (98+ %) allowing the truest performance, with unequaled consistency in material, roundness, weight, hardness and playability. Aramith is also the only company assuring a strict respect of the environment, exceeding the world's most severe regulations.

 

Dennis Orcollo vs Ko Pin Yi – PPV Race to 100 Part 3