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Redemption For Kazakis As He Wins Dafabet World Pool Masters

FINAL
Alex Kazakis 9–0 Shane van Boening

Semi-finals
Alex Kazakis 7-6 Eklent Kaci
Joshua Filler 6-7 Shane van Boening

Alex Kazakis banished painful memories of losing the last Dafabet World Pool Masters final as he whitewashed Shane van Boening 9-0 to lift the 2021 title at Europa Sports Park in Gibraltar, the biggest margin of defeat in a Masters final and the first final whitewash.

Kazakis lost position on the 9-ball against David Alcaide in the 2019 final and at hill-hill was rooted to his seat as the Spaniard banked a dramatic 9 for the title. This time, though, there was no such drama in the final – that had come in a 7-6 semi-final win over Eklent Kaci – as the Greek controlled the table and did to Van Boening what the American himself had done to so many others when he won back-to-back Masters titles in 2014 and ’15.

“I can’t really believe it,” said an emotional Kazakis. “It is amazing. Everything went my way from the start to the end of the final. The big moment was in the semi-finals; I didn’t play well, I was nervous, and I was lucky that Kaci didn’t really play that well. It was the luckiest match I ever won. To go into the final with that momentum, I had nothing to lose.

“When I finished my semi-final I went to the hotel, called my coach, and I told him, ‘I’m dogging it again’. I believe so much in myself but something inside me, I had these bad lucks and bad rolls in the Mosconi Cup last match in 2018, I have the 9 ball with Alcaide here, then also the semi-final of the World 9-Ball Championship with Joshua [Filler] where I had a chance to go to a final and I screwed up. All these things happened in about five months.

“Sometimes when I was under pressure I was thinking I was maybe going to do it again, and it has been hard. Finally the door opened. When you are always knocking the door, the most difficult part is to win the first tournament. I think now it will be much easier for me if I have the chance to win a major tournament.

“I feel lucky, I feel blessed, it is the biggest title of my career. A lot of people here told me they were routing for me, I think because I didn’t win it in 2019.”

Kazakis had struggled in his semi-final against Kaci, finally getting over the line in a gripping hill-hill thriller that made up for in drama what it lacked at times in quality. The Greek, however, had used his break well and looked much more calm and assured at the table in the early exchanges of the final and took the first two racks.

Van Boening had also come through a hill-hill semi-final, beating Mosconi Cup foe Joshua Filler. He had an opportunity in the third rack of the final after Kazakis missed the three, but the cut was tough and the American couldn’t make it. Kazakis completed the rest of the rack with the help of a nice 7/8 combo and the beaten 2019 finalist was 3-0 up.

Two years ago Kazakis got to 5-0 up before eventually succumbing 9-8 to David Alcaide, and he reached the same advantage again with a break and run. After pushing out and being put back in by Van Boening, Kazakis played a good safety which earned him the chance to move 6-0 up, and now his advantage was bigger than in the last Masters final.

The American finally got another chance in the seventh but missed the 6 ball to the top left and Kazakis cleared for a 7-0 lead, and that was soon 8.

Van Boening had one last opportunity in the last, but having jumped the 1 he missed the 2, and the night belonged to Kazakis. He let out a jubilant, relieved, celebration, high-fived with a crowd who were clearly pleased to see his redemption tale, and then jumped on the Rasson table to show his delight at winning the $25,000 title.

The next Matchroom Pool Series event is the World Pool Championship, which runs from June 6-10 at Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes. Spectators are permitted for the final day. Tickets are priced at £25 and are available at www.matchroompool.com

For all the latest news and announcements follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram.

Kaci Completes Team Europe For Partypoker Mosconi Cup

Albania’s Eklent Kaci is the fifth and final player to be selected to represent Team Europe at the partypoker Mosconi Cup, which will take place at Alexandra Palace, London, this December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Kaci has played in each of the last two Cups, impressing particularly in singles play last year, despite being on the losing team. The 21-year-old became the youngest player to ever play at the partypoker Mosconi Cup when he debuted in London two years ago.

He joins Fedor Gorst, Jayson Shaw, Joshua Filler and Albin Ouschan on Alex Lely’s team as Europe aim to strike back at a USA side who have won the last two partypoker Mosconi Cups.

“The Mosconi Cup is the biggest goal of the year, for myself and I think all of the players,” said Kaci. “It is a great event and if you have played in it, you know it. I am very happy that the captain picked me. We are a really strong team and we are ready to take the trophy back.

“London in 2018 was my first time and it was new for me to have 3,000 people there. Last year, I played well, was comfortable at the table, but there were a few small things which made us lose in the end but we know what we did wrong and we are ready to do it in the right way.

“I am more of a singles player because in Albania we don’t play partner or team tournaments like in Germany where they have Bundesliga. I have been practicing a lot, for many years by myself, I have never had a coach before, so I am trying to get into this stuff with Alex and playing in a team and doubles.”

Captain Lely said: “Our dilemma was between Niels Feijen and Kaci. Kaci has played the previous two editions, he hasn’t tasted the success yet. Niels is a very experienced player, a four-time MVP. So it was a choice between the seniority of Niels and the sheer talent of Eklent Kaci.

“What was key for Karl and myself was to be able to see Eklent grow as a team player and to be accustomed to being a team member. He doesn’t miss a ball; it wasn’t about that.

“Skill-wise, he is in the top three players I have seen and I have worked with in terms of delivery of the cue. There aren’t many people who shoot straighter than Eklent does. He has a big billiard brain on his shoulders, especially for his age. He has delivered, he has performed in the singles matches, so it is just about working on the team play. At the table it is about having communication and a protocol beforehand, knowing who plays what shot, who is making a decision. Away from the table it is about being able to discuss and give feedback and receive feedback.”

USA Captain Jeremy Jones announced his final player earlier this week, selecting rookie Chris Robinson to join Shane van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Justin Bergman and Billy Thorpe.

Matchroom Pool are hopeful and determined that the partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place this year and are in constant detailed discussions with the relevant organisations and personnel to stay up to date. Our highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event however we are working hard to explore every avenue to making this work and will continue to do so, if it is possible.

Follow Matchroom Pool on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

Rookie Robinson Completes Team USA For Partypoker Mosconi Cup

Chris Robinson will make his Team USA debut at this year’s partypoker Mosconi Cup after being selected by Jeremy Jones as his fifth and final player to travel to London to defend the title against Team Europe this December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

The 22-year-old from California enjoyed a fifth-place finish at the Diamond Las Vegas Open before the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to professional tournaments in March. Robinson has since impressed Captain Jones and Vice-Captain Joey Gray in training camps ahead of this year’s partypoker Mosconi Cup.

Robinson will join Shane van Boening, Skyler Woodward, Justin Bergman and Billy Thorpe on the team, with America looking to make it a partypoker Mosconi Cup three-peat having first regained the title after an eight-year drought in London in 2018 before successfully defending it in Las Vegas last Thanksgiving.

“I am so happy,” said Robinson. “I will be working my tail off from now until December. I felt like I left my best game on the table when I was training with JJ and that is the best you can do. I think I have evolved as a player and probably improved more over the last few months than I have in quite a while.

“When I got the call I was driving from a pool hall to where I was staying. I was kind of expecting it to be one of those calls the same as the two calls I’ve had in the past two years, where I still have stuff to work on and next year would be the year I’m shooting at. When Jeremy said I’d made it, I didn’t really know how to react. I don’t think it has 100 percent hit me yet.

“My career goal was to win a Mosconi Cup. This is setting into reality but just because I made it, we haven’t won yet, so I need to do my part, keep getting better, and it’s all part of the process.”

Captain Jones added: “There are many positives with Chris. He is a guy I have seen heading in the right direction, he is a grinder, plays hard, practises hard, trains hard and has a great frame of mind for this type of setting. He is also a player who I think is going to reap the rewards of being around the rest of the team.

“I think he will relish in the Mosconi Cup and really perform well in December. It felt that he was going to make a Mosconi Cup team at one time or another; I wasn’t so sure it was going to be this year but got to spend a little more time with him and love his attitude, love his goals and I think he is a player who will reap the rewards of being around those other four champions.”

The final player to join Team Europe will be announced on Thursday.

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup is set to take place at Alexandra Palace, London from December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Matchroom Pool are still hopeful and determined that the partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place this year and are in constant detailed discussions with the relevant organisations and personnel to stay up to date. Our highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event however we are working hard to explore every avenue to making this work and will continue to do so, if it is possible.

Follow Matchroom Pool on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

Thorpe Is Fourth For Team USA

Billy Thorpe (JP Parmentier/Matchroom Multi Sport)

Billy Thorpe will make his fourth consecutive appearance on Team USA having been selected as the penultimate player to join Jeremy Jones’ team at this year’s partypoker Mosconi Cup.

The Ohio man, famed for this excellent banking ability, made his Mosconi bow in 2017 and has been a key member of the team as USA first regained and then retained the Cup over the last two years.

He joins Justin Bergman, Skyler Woodward and Shane van Boening on the team to travel to London in December, with Captain Jones and Vice Captain Joey Gray to name their fifth and final team member next week.

“It sucks the way everything went down this year, but at least we have the biggest tournament, the one we all drive for all year,” said Thorpe. “I am super stoked and excited to be able to come back out there and compete again; I can’t wait.

“With us four on the team so far, we all click together pretty well, I know we will prepare well and we are going to three-peat for sure. It doesn’t matter if you have World champions on your team or not, it matters how you guys feed off each other and help each other to get out there and bring the best out of each other.

“The more World champions they have, the better for us – it’s just going to make us play even better. I feel like we are going to come out there strong.”

Captain Jones added: “Billy, I was hoping would have a good performance with the training along with the 2020 he started the year with, which was some big victories and looking like it was probably going to be his best year, just like every year has been better than the one before.

“He brings a lot of personality and is probably the one guy who is always ready. Even if he comes off a tough loss, he is ready to get back out there. He has a huge heart and is one hell of a player.”

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup is set to take place at Alexandra Palace, London from December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Matchroom Pool are still hopeful and determined that the partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place this year and are in constant detailed discussions with the relevant organisations and personnel to stay up to date. Our highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event however we are working hard to explore every avenue to making this work and will continue to do so, if it is possible.

Follow Matchroom Pool on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

Ouschan Returns To Partypoker Mosconi Cup For Team Europe

Albin Ouschan has joined Team Europe for this December’s partypoker Mosconi Cup after being selected by captain Alex Lely as the fourth player to join the line-up.

The 30-year-old Austrian will be making his fourth appearance at the event and holds an individual record bettered only by Vice Captain Karl Boyes for matches won by players with more than one appearance.

Ouschan, a former World Champion and two-time World Cup of Pool winner. Was exceptional for Europe in their 2018 defeat to USA but missed out on selection last year. However, he returns this time around alongside Fedor Gorst, Jayson Shaw and Joshua Filler with one player still to be selected.

“It is an incredible feeling to be back on the team,” said Ouschan. “It is one of the nicest things when you get a call from the captain to say that you are in. This year has been tough, but I knew I probably had a better chance if there were four or five wildcards.

“It will for sure be one of the youngest European teams we have had, but if you look at the names, I think it is the strongest we have had. We have very big shooters. With Jayson and Joshua we have two incredible left-handed players and Joshua for me is the most talented player we have right now. Fedor is probably as calm as me at the table, so it is fire, fire and twice ice.”

Captain Lely added: “He looked so good two years ago and it was just for one jump shot from Skyler Woodward that he would have become MVP and would have played a decisive role for Team Europe.

“For me, he, maybe more than any other, has looked very comfortable, calm and collected in the Matchroom arena, tournament after tournament, especially in doubles play. He brings a lot of calmness to the table and we have a couple of players with Filler and Shaw who bring a lot of fire, so this allows us to combine fire with ice.

“This choice was an easy one; it is difficult to leave Albin out of the team. But the last choice is going to be hard, because that means that I am going to be leaving out one player who I would like to be in.”

Lely will name his fifth and final player in two weeks’ time. USA Captain Jeremy Jones will announce his fourth player next week.

The 2020 partypoker Mosconi Cup is set to take place at Alexandra Palace, London from December 1-4, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Matchroom Pool are still hopeful and determined that the partypoker Mosconi Cup will take place this year and are in constant detailed discussions with the relevant organisations and personnel to stay up to date. Our highest priority is the safety of everyone connected with the event however we are working hard to explore every avenue to making this work and will continue to do so, if it is possible.

Follow Matchroom Pool on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. For all the latest event news please visit www.mosconicup.com.

The 2020 International Is Not Going Away, But …

Just as the MLB, NBA, NHL, Formula 1, NASCAR and other sports have made moves to bring back their sports to their fans, the 2020 INTERNATIONAL has also made every effort to bring their event to you. The 2020 INT’L was placed in a unique position of being the first major professional pool tournament since April when the COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of all pro events. This brought unique challenges in adapting to today’s COVID-19 world. Unfortunately, with the health and safety of the contestants, vendors, hotel staff, and spectators being paramount, and with the ever-changing data coming in daily, it has been decided that the 2020 INT’L will be postponed.

New dates for the 2020 International Open will be forthcoming. This does not change our plans for the 2021 International Open which is scheduled for October, 2021.

Upon its return, the 2020 INTERNATIONAL OPEN will be a 160-player 9-BALL OPEN field with a reduced entry fee of $500 and $50,000 in added prize money.

The inaugural 32-player INTERNATIONAL ONE- POCKET INVITATIONAL will have an entry fee of $300 and $5,000 in added prize money.

In partnership with Diamond Billiard Products, we will stage the first INTERNATIONAL BIG FOOT CHALLENGE. This 16-player event will have a $500 entry fee and $8,000 in added prize money.

Ra Hanna, owner of On The Wire Creative Media, will be bringing back the Junior’s Championship. The 2020 Junior Invitational Championship will have both a Junior Men’s AND a Junior Women’s division.

Accu-Stats Video Productions will once again be providing recording and streaming from the Simonis-Aramith Arena. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

https://www.accu-stats.com
https://www.facebook.com/accustats/
https://www.youtube.com/c/AccuStatsVideoProductionsTV

For up to date information on the 2020 INTL, visit both the INTL website and Facebook page.

https://www.international9ballopen.com
https://www.facebook.com/theinternational9ballopen/