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Osipov wins record-breaking season opener on the Predator Tour

Ross Lacy, Erick Carrasco, Rene Villalobos and Alex Osipov

Ko-Pin Chung and Jorge Rodriguez share Open/Pro title
For the second year in a row, the New York-based Predator Tour set a season-opening debut, playing host this year to 118 amateur competitors on the weekend of January 16-17. The $1,000-added Amateur event, along with an Open/Pro event that drew 16 entrants was hosted by Steinway Billiards in Astoria (Queens), NY. Alex Osipov went undefeated through the Amateur field to claim that title, while Jorge Rodriguez and Ko-Pin Chung shared the Open/Pro title.
The Open/Pro event featured World Champion Ko-Pin Yi and his brother, Ko-Pin Chung, who battled against each other in a winners' side semifinal while Jorge Rodriguez and Max Dudanets squared off in the other one. Yi defeated his brother, 7-3 to face Rodriguez, who'd sent Dudanets to the loss side 7-2. Rodriguez claimed the hot seat 7-5 over Yi.
Chung and Dudanets moved to the loss side to encounter what was left of a more familiar crowd of Predator competitors. Chung drew Zion Zvi, who'd eliminated Andrew Seroshean 7-3 and Sean "Alaska" Morgan 7-4. Dudanets picked up Nelson Oliveira, who'd gotten by Mike Yednak 7-5 and Fedor Gorst, double hill. Oliviera advanced with a 7-2 win over Dudanets to meet Chung, who'd defeated Zvi 7-4. Chung eliminated Oliveira in the quarterfinal match 7-2, and locked up in a double hill fight with his brother in the semifinals, which proved to be the final match of the night. Chung prevailed to claim/share the Open/Pro title with Rodriguez.
In the Amateur event, after five matches, Alex Osipov and Eric Carrasco proved to be the last two winners standing among the field of 118. In the winners' side semifinal, Osipov defeated Ross Lacy 7-4, as Carrasco was busy sending Rene Villalobos to the losers' bracket 7-5. Osipov claimed the hot seat 9-6 over Carrasco and waited on what turned out to be the return of Lacy.
Moving to the loss side, Villalobos and Lacy found themselves embroiled in two tough battles immediately; Villalobos against Emit Yulco, who'd defeated Brad McDuffie and Lucas Fracasso, both 7-5, and Lacy against Riyadh Benghalem, who'd gotten by Rhys Chen 7-3 and Manny Stamatakis (owner of Steinway Billiards) 7-4. Villalobos survived a double hill match against Yulco, as Lacy came within a game of double hill before prevailing 7-5 against Benghalem. Lacy took the quarterfinal match 8-5 over Villalobos, and then downed Carrasco in the semifinals 10-6. 
Lacy proved to be a little more resilient in his rematch against Osipov. He forced a case game, which was won by Osipov to claim the Amateur title.
Miguel Laboy picked up a win in a Second Chance tournament, defeating Abel Rosario in the finals. Lucas Fracasso (who finished 7/8 in the main event Amateur tournament) won a third chance tournament, defeating Gene Hunt
Tour director Tony Robles thanked Manny Stamatakis and his staff at Steinway Billiards, as well as sponsors Predator Cues, National Amateur Pool League, Ozone Billiards, Delta-13 racks, Gotham City Technologies,, The DeVito Team, Billiards Press, AZ Billiards, Billiards Digest, and Pool & Billiard Magazine. He also thanked William Finnegan, Mandy Wu, and Irene Kim for their assistance with the tournament, as well as his wife, Gail Robles.

Yednak wins 3rd Annual Ginky Memorial Amateur tournament

Michael Yednak

Having been mentored by George "Ginky" Sansouci, Michael Yednak had just a little more invested emotionally in the Ginkster's 3rd Annual Memorial Tournament than most. He'd signed on to the previous two. The first, he said, was just too emotional for him. He was unprepared to compete, and unable to advance to any of the money rounds. Last year, he finished in the tie for 25th place. This year, he went undefeated through a field of 128 to capture the title and finally bring it home.
"I wish he'd been here to see it," said Yednak. "He taught me so much, but it took a couple of years for me to put all the pieces together."
"There are a lot of important tournaments," he added, "but this one was personal; one that I felt like I had to win. I just wanted to make him proud of me."
The amateur side of the Memorial tournament (as well as the Open, which was ongoing when the amateur finished, early on Labor Day) was hosted by Steinway Billiards, with selected matches streamed live by and NYCGrind. Yednak's quest to make Ginky proud had to go through Koka Davladze, twice.
They met first in the hot seat match. Yednak had sent Phil Davis to the left bracket 7-2, as Davladze was busy surviving a double hill match against Ross Lacy. In the battle for the hot seat, it was Yednak surviving the double hill struggle, sending Davladze to the semifinals.
Davis moved to the loss side and ran into Juan Guzman, who'd gotten by Laszlo Kovack and Tony Liang, both 7-3. Lacy picked up Scott Simonetti, who'd defeated Rhio Anne Flores 7-4 and just did get by Kelly Wong 8-7. It was Davis and Simonetti advancing to the quarterfinals, once Davis had eliminated Guzman 7-3 and Simonetti had defeated Lacy 7-5.
Davis stopped Simonetti 7-5, but was then defeated by Davladze in the semifinals 7-3. Right from the start, the extended-race to 11 was tight; Yednak and Davladze trading racks back and forth to a 7-7 tie. Davladze edged out in front 8-7, sunk four balls on the subsequent break and ran out to force the extension to 11 games.  However, someone (no one noticed who) changed the score to 8-8, instead of 9-7. The players knew what was going on, because Davladze racked to shoot again (had Yednak reached nine, it would have been over). It took a moment for someone to notice the score, but it was corrected quickly. That 16th rack proved to be Davladze's last, as Yednak completed his undefeated run with four straight to finish 11-7 and bring home the top prize.
"I got pretty lucky," he said, afterwards. "When I played badly, other players didn't punish me,  and I played well at the right times."
"That's one of the things that Ginky taught me; about getting through the bad matches," he added. "He always used to say, 'Talent will get you only so far, and then you have to practice.' Practice is what made the difference with me this year. All I did was practice."