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Joshua Filler New World Number 1

Joshua Filler

Following the World Pool Championship (9-Ball), the WPA has updated its men’s rankings list which is available at <www.wpapool.com/ranking/>

The WPA rankings are the world’s official list. The points are compiled from WPA sanctioned events that carry ranking points. Only tournaments that are open to all eligible players can be considered so that all players have the opportunity to earn points.

As can be seen from the updated list, Joshua Filler of Germany is the new number 1, replacing previous holder, Ko, Ping Chung of Taiwan. It was unfortunate for Ko that he was unable to participate and maybe retain his number 1 spot, but because of travel restrictions he was unable to attend. Many countries were affected by travel bans thereby preventing players from earning valuable points.

WPA points are very valuable for players as they can often determine sponsorship opportunities for players, as well as funding assistance from some national governments or national Olympic Committees. This type of funding often covers travel expenses such as air ticket and hotels for players, perhaps an annual allowance, plus it can earn bonuses for players who win world championships or medals. WPA points are the only points that can be considered for player selection to Multi Sport Events such as the World Games which will be played in Birmingham, Alabama July 2022, or for Olympic Games if our sport should ever be included on the Olympic Program.

Roy’s Basement with April Larson, Pia Filler and a pair of ghosts

 

Over the past week or so, Roy’s Basement in Maryland has been playing host to the Fillers; Joshua and his wife, Pia. On a nightly basis, Joshua has been stepping to the table in the basement and playing almost continuous pool games against the ‘ghost,’ with Ariel Roy Francisco and Pia Filler doing commentary on a live stream broadcast on the Roy’s Basement Facebook page. Viewers are checking in on a chat screen to choose which ‘ghost’ game they want to see Josh Filler play, and then, after deciding whether Filler or the ghost is going to win the chosen game, are pledging to donate money if they turn out to be right. Viewers are literally lining up in the virtual chat lobby to participate.
“They want to see the best pool player in the world play the ghost with them controlling what games he plays,” said Francisco. “It’s also a chance to win Josh’s ‘junky’ stick; the one he used to win the World 9-Ball and the US Open 9-Ball.”
“He surprised us,” Francisco added of Filler’s quality of play during these ghost matches, “and surprised himself, too. Nobody knew. The more he plays, the better he gets.”
The ghost games, being what they are (watching one person shoot), are not drawing anywhere near the virtual crowds that an earlier match, a couple of weeks ago, drew, when Filler and James Aranas played a match in the basement and a record Roy’s Basement viewing crowd of 7,600 was on-hand to watch. That said, though, the player versus ‘ghost’ matches are drawing respectable, albeit virtual crowds to the Facebook page, and ever-ready to take advantage of an opportunity, Francisco has announced plans for a double screen, double player set of ghost matches between April Larson, playing in the basement of her home in Minnesota, while Pia Filler plays her ghost from Roy’s basement.
From their separate locations, April and Pia will square off against their ‘ghost,’ in an attempt to reach 50 wins, with a winner determined by which of the two reached that 50 plateau, having played the least amount of games. It won’t end when one of them reaches 50. It’ll end when they’ve both chalked up 50 wins. The winner will be the player who’s given up the fewest games to the ghost.
Early ‘money’ was appearing on April Larson’s side of the ledger, but as she headed for home this weekend, after visiting a relative, she was quick to point out that Pia Filler is a lot more than just Joshua Filler’s wife.
“I think everybody is underestimating her,” said Larson. “She’s no slouch. Roy’s not stupid. He’s not just going to put anybody up.”
“I’m going to have to play really well to beat her,” she added.
Larson has been on a bit of a hiatus from her school work these days. She switched her Lindenwood University classes from actual to accelerated virtual (on-line) in December and is out of school now until August, giving her time to pursue this, and presumably, other activities. According to Larson, while she has certainly played games against the ‘ghost’ before, doing so in a way that’s preparing her for a formalized contest is a new kind of challenge.
“I’ve played the ghost, but not religiously,” she said. “Now that I’ve been playing by the actual rules, I’ve discovered the actual number of times that I run out and it’s been humbling.”
“When you’re playing the ghost,” she added, “you have to take all the shots, regardless of your comfort level. If you’re playing regular 9-ball, you can play safe or try to hide somebody, but with the ghost, the shots you normally duck, you have to make.”
For her part, Pia Filler is looking to step out of the accidental shadow that’s been cast by her husband’s emergence as a world class player, one of the best in the world (he’s presently #2 in WPA rankings behind Taipei’s Ko Ping-Chung). She points out that she and her future husband met as seven-year-olds, competing in German youth championships.
“We knew that one day, we both wanted to become professionals,” she said. “He’s been the most successful and won the most titles, but I think we’re kind of special; always together, always working as a team. We’ve known each other so long. We’re each other’s coach and do everything together.”
As for the upcoming match. . . .
“I haven’t just been watching Joshua,” she explained. “I’m spending a lot of time practicing with him, as well. We’re both working very hard.”
“I’m feeling pretty confident and looking forward to Sunday,” she added.
So, tune in. Sunday afternoon, 1 p.m EDT. Go to Facebook, find the Roy’s Basement page and click on the ‘Live” screen. Join the chat and learn how you can donate to keep the streams going during this time of forced isolation.

Less Than One Month Until The Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Ko Ping-Chung (JP Parmentier)

Last year, Ping-Chung Ko claimed his first World Championship with a dramatic win in the finals over Joshua Filler. This was part of his incredible 2019, which earned him the WPA #1 ranking he has today.
 
In less than one month at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, he’ll have a chance to repeat. The $100,000 added tournament features 64 players in an impressively skilled field. Part of that is due to the appeal of 10-Ball, something Ko appreciates.
 
“I like 10-ball because it is more difficult to break. Although just one ball more it brings more diversity and visibility to enrich the game,” said Ko. “You need more concentration and more thorough consideration to finish each rack. I enjoy the feelings of playing 10-ball.”
 
Admission is free for the five-day competition and the event will be streamed live for no charge on Cuesports International’s YouTube channel. Last year’s event was the first Category 1 WPA sanctioned world championship held in the United States since 1997.
 
Players already confirmed and announced include Ko, former World 9-Ball Champion Joshua Filler, Billiard’s Digest player of the decade Shane Van Boening, Kremlin Cup winner Tyler Styer, 2017 World Games 9-Ball Champion Carlo Biado and reigning Mosconi Cup MVP Skyler Woodward.
 
More announcements will be made as we continue to finalize what is one of the most competitive fields of the year.
 
The Championship takes place over two stages. The first involves all players competing in a race to 8 matches in a double-elimination format until only 16 competitors remain. The surviving players then play in a single-elimination format during the second half of the event, with the race now increased to 10 games. The final phase features re-drawing of the brackets where competitors from the winner’s side take on players from the one-loss side.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is presented by CueSports International and sponsored by Predator Group, the world’s premier cue makers and billiards accessory manufacturer. The event is being hosted at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino and broadcasted live on YouTube by CSI Media, a subsidiary of CueSports International. For more information, visit www.world10ball.com.
 
The Predator World 10-ball Championship is sponsored by:
Predator Cues: www.predatorcues.com
CueSports International: https://www.playcsipool.com/
Diamond billiard tables: www.diamondbilliards.com
Omega Billiards: www.omegabilliards.com
Kamui Brand: www.kamuibrand.com

The Predator Group is proud to celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary in 2019

Thanks to an amazing team of passionate individuals, the company has revolutionized how the game of pocket billiards is played since the introduction of the original 314 low-deflection shaft in 1994. A quarter of a century after this ground-breaking technology was introduced, this United States-based company has grown to become the largest and most innovation-driven manufacturer in pool and billiards worldwide. 
 
HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED 
Out of all the billiards shafts, cues and components that Predator Group has been associated with over the last 25 years, none may be more important than the tip that was on Allan McCarty’s cue in the early 1990s. A frequent player who had dabbled in developing inventions, McCarty was leading his opponent during a billiards match when his tip loosened and popped off of the ferrule. He switched out that shaft for his reserve and immediately struggled to make balls. McCarty lost the match, walking away from the experience lighter in the wallet and questioning how these two seemingly identical shafts could play so differently. McCarty teamed up with Steve Titus, a self-made engineer he’d met at a tournament a couple of years before. Together, the two constructed a mechanical arm for testing billiard cues named Iron Willie. This helped them to develop a product which would deliver more consistency and accuracy. They toiled away in their Clawson, Michigan shop for about a year and a half, ultimately creating a six-piece spliced wooden shaft. That desire to design and develop a superior performing product led to Predator’s initial product creation – a multi-splice shaft introduced as the original 314 shaft in 1994. Predator’s cutting-edge shaft technology reduced the error factor called “cue ball deflection”, where the mass of the shaft pushes the cue ball off the aiming line when using English or side spin. Put simply, this new technology made it easier to pocket balls using English and helped players progress faster. What started as two guys fighting to educate the industry on their research findings now has evolved into the industry trendsetter in pool and billiards technology. The company has grown into the largest billiard cue manufacturer worldwide – thanks largely to the people who work for and with the company. “There’s all the cue makers and then there’s us,” said McCarty. “They’re selling design, we’re selling performance with design.” “When we received our first cue and shaft combination way back in 1998, we knew immediately that Predator was an innovative and technology-advanced cue manufacturer,” said Sid Kreis of Seybert’s Billiard Supply, one of Predator’s leading distributors. 
 
THE QUEST FOR INNOVATION 
It would have been easy to sit back and be satisfied with creating the billiard cue shaft which revolutionized the industry. “However, the goal is to always challenge the standards of the industry – then design a completely new standard.” said President Karim Belhaj, who rose from company intern in 1997 to owning the company today. “Every time we made it to the top, we thought “how do we better ourselves?” In a company that was created by pool players, it didn’t take long for the team to realize there was more to playing proficient pool than simply minimizing deflection. Predator released the first BK break cue in 2001, equipped with a balanced weight design as well as a tip and ferrule developed to transfer maximum energy. Four years later, a reengineered break cue called the BK2 would hit the market with an improved grip, phenolic and carbon fiber tip plate and improved shaft design. A dozen years after the original 314 shafts became available to consumers, Predator introduced the second generation of low-deflection shaft technology – featuring a lighter and improved 10-piece spliced construction, which resulted in better wood grain consistency throughout. Four years ago, the company debuted the third generation of these revolutionary shafts, featuring a lower front-end mass, V-Tek front end construction as well as the eight-layer Victory tip. “We design every single shaft based on what the player needs to improve his or her game,” said Belhaj. Since the turn of the century, Predator’s engineers have been working on methods to build a cue shaft from composite technology. As materials improved and processes perfected, the years of trial and errors resulted in the debut of Predator REVO shaft in 2016. Made from aerospace grade carbon fiber, this latest innovation offers reduced deflection at high and low speeds coupled with unmatched durability. When Predator’s Chief Engineer Paul Costain had his first prototypes of REVO ready for field testing a few years ago, it was essential for him to see the players’ feedback: “I remember very well the first time I saw people testing the Predator REVO – at first they were skeptical. So, to see their face when they hit the first few shots was quite enjoyable – I could see instantly they could feel the difference… and then of course they didn’t want to give the shaft back!” 
 
Following this success, the carbon composite BK Rush break cue was released in 2017 – the most powerful and most accurate break cue ever designed. As the technology and innovation improved, so too has the playing experience for beginning and amateur players. With cue ball deflection significantly decreased compared to the equipment of decades ago, the competitors of today can pocket balls more accurately while utilizing English and sidespin with much more ease. “Due to the Predator equipment, the pockets for amateurs seem bigger than normal because you can play more precisely,” said Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Ralf Souquet, who has won every major title in the sport using a 314 shaft. Today, Predator’s extensive family of products connects with different players – from the road hustler to the World Champion, there is a Predator cue for everyone. We not only specialize in performance but also in design. From the entry-level Roadline “Sneaky Pete” to the 25th Anniversary limited edition cues, there is an artistic and fashionable style to match 
the various preferences of players. Whether a player is looking for a classic or intricate look, Predator has a design which can connect with the individual and provide a unique style, coupled with unmatched construction and technology. “Predator helps players be the best version of themselves,” said Karim Belhaj. 
 
PREDATOR’S COMMITMENT TO GROW THE SPORT 
Ever since Titus and McCarty started working on the original shafts, Predator has been striving to connect people to the game as well as give back to the billiards industry. When the company was in its infancy, McCarty made sure the product was in the hands of not only nationally known professional players but those dominant at the regional level as well – recognizing word-of-mouth exposure would be essential to the product’s growth. As Predator slowly grew to become a worldwide company, the manufacturer’s commitment to providing professionals with the tools needed for success has not changed. Today, countless players all over the world rely on the company’s cues in tournament competition – including World Champions and BCA Hall of Famers. As a result, players using Predator cues have won more titles than all of the other cue brands combined. As a company which constantly strives to improve its equipment and the players’ experience, this working relationship also allows Predator’s designers to receive valuable feedback on its products from some of the best professionals competing today. “I remember one year every European Mosconi cup player played with Predator. That’s mental,” said Hall of Famer and longtime brand ambassador Darren Appleton. “They have helped me massively in my career and God knows what I would not have been able to achieve without them.” “Predator brings the equipment and I bring the skills, so together we can achieve greatness,” said women’s professional, Jasmin Ouschan, who started using the company’s equipment as a junior. Predator is also proud to support John Schmidt and his quest to beat the longest-standing record in the sport, Willie Mosconi’s 526-ball run. John achieved his dream by an astounding 100 balls, running 626 without a miss, which already placed the formerly nicknamed “Mr. 400” in a class of his own: “I was using a P3 Red with a REVO 12.4 shaft – fantastic cue. Everybody loves their cue, that sounds forced but it’s really the best cue I’ve ever played with”, said John “Mr. 626” Schmidt. 
 
Predator’s support of the industry also extends to professional and amateur tournaments throughout the world, as well as in the United States. The company has been a longtime title sponsor of the Mosconi Cup, Matchroom events, the Euro Tour for both men and women, Tony Robles’ Predator Pro-am Tour in the northeastern United States, the World Pool and Billiards Association’s Players Championship, and many other events. “Predator has been a big part of the industry so far and will be even more so in the future,” said Emily Frazer, Chief Operating Officer for Matchroom Multisport, producer of the Mosconi Cup. “Predator has been in business for 25 years and Matchroom has shared a relationship with them for the majority of that. We only hope to continue and strengthen that partnership as we push together our passion and goal of taking our sport to the next level.” 
 
This past year, the company again expanded its position within the professional billiards industry with the debut of the Predator World 10-ball Championships which brought back a World WPA event in the United States for the first time in over 20 years. The event had been dormant since 2015 as it struggled to find available sponsors and prize funds, but Predator saw the event as a unique opportunity to help grow the number of professional events worldwide while celebrating the company’s silver anniversary. Partnering with Cue Sports International, the inaugural tournament was played this past July in conjunction with the BCA Pool League’s national and world championships in Las Vegas. This event, which was won by Ping-Chung Ko, showcases the best professional players in the world and helps in the company’s mission of building a bridge between the recreational pool player and the game’s elite. As WPA President Ian Anderson said, “We are very proud to be associated with Predator and to have them as a partner in the promotion and development of pool and billiards.” Predator continues to focus on the future by making the world a better place, one pool game at a time. 
 
For more information, watch the “Predator Cues – 25th Anniversary Innovation and Inspiration” video:
 
 
Special thanks to Keith Paradise, Senior Editor at Billiards Digest, for his contribution in writing this Press Release. 
 
ABOUT PREDATOR GROUP Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., USA, Predator Group’s vision is to inspire and innovate in the billiard world. Predator, Poison and Uni-Loc are Predator Group brands that focus on performance pool cues, billiard accessories and precision components. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit www.predatorcues.com, www.poisonbilliards.com and www.uni-loc.com
 

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

From the Many to the Few at U.S. Open

Joshua Filler (Photo courtesy of Erwin Dionisio)

There are now only four undefeated players at  the Open. Today Ping-Chung Ko will take on Jayson Shaw and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz will face Eklant Kaci to bring the untarnished down to two.
 
On the one-loss side, the story of the day was the play of Joshua Filler. Filler had wins over Reymart Lim, Alex Pagulayan and Shane Van Boening on Thursday. Those wins were enough to earn Filler a spot alongside Ralf Souquet on the Mosconi Cup Team EUROPE. Friday will see Filler doing battle with Corey Deuel to stay alive in the event. Also fighting for their tournament life will be  J.H. Dang taking on Nayouki Oi of Japan, Jung-Lin Chang  facing Billy Thorpe, while Jeff De Luna will go heads up against Thorsten Hohmann.
 
Those are the only players left with a chance to grab the crown. To see all of the  results from the week so far just go to our live scoring page and you can see the entire history of the event thus far. And now is the time to get that Accu-Stats stream. All of the best matches will be shown live there.
 

2015 Steinway Classic – Finals – Ko Ping Chung vs Chang Yu Lung

2015 Steinway Classic – Ko Ping Chung vs Jayson Shaw