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Trajceski and Klein split top prizes on Tri-State Tour stop in Clifton, NJ

(l to r): Matthew Klein and Llija Trajceski

Llija Trajceski, in his payout debut on the Tri-State Tour on the weekend of January 20-21, finished second. A week later, on Sunday, January 28, he moved a half-step closer to winning his first Tri-State Tour title. The ‘half-step’ was defined by his position in the hot seat when he and Matthew Klein opted out of a final match, allowing Trajceski to claim the official event title of a $1,000-added event that drew 29 entrants to Clifton Billiards in Clifton, NJ.

Klein was awarded an opening round bye in this event and was sent to the loss side in a double hill battle against Mac Jankov in the event’s second round. Jankov joined him at the conclusion of the following round when he was defeated 6-1 by Vijay Patel, who advanced to a winners’ side semifinal against Teddy Lapadula. Trajceski, in the meantime, faced Irene Kim in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Trajceski, who’d been defeated in a winners’ side semifinal the week before, advanced to the hot seat match 7-2 over Kim in this one. He was met by Patel, who sent LaPadula to the loss side 6-1. Trajceski got into his first Tri-State hot seat with a 6-1 victory over Patel.

Meanwhile, on the loss side, Klein was at work on a seven-match, loss-side winning streak that would take him to the finals, though no further. With two notches on his loss-side belt, Klein drew a re-match against Jankov, winning it 6-1. He went on to defeat Frank Sieczka 6-2 and drew LaPadula, coming over from the winners’ side semifinal. Kim matched up with Allison LaFleur, who’d defeated Shweta Zaveri 6-2 and Qian Chen 7-4 to reach her.

Klein advanced to the quarterfinals 6-3 over LaPadula. The ladies Kim and LaFleur locked up in a double hill fight that eventually sent Kim to join Klein. Klein took the quarterfinal match over Kim 7-4, and then chalked up what proved to be his last win with a 6-3 defeat of Patel in the semifinals.

Trajceski and Klein opted out of the final match. Trajceski went home with his first, albeit with an asterisk, Tri-State title.

Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at Clifton Billiards, as well as sponsors John Bender Custom Cues, Ozone Billiards, Sterling Billiards, Kamui, Digicue, Billiards Digest, Human Kinetics, Blue Book Publishing, Phil Capelle Publications, and Joe Romer Trophies. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 18, will be a double-points, 10-ball event, hosted by Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.

Shlemperis chalks up his second straight, from-the-loss-side win, this time on Tri-State Tour

Dave Shlemperis and Lionel Oliver

Dave Shlemperis backed up a seven-on-the-loss-side win on the Predator Tour on the weekend of February 11-12, with another come-from-the-loss-side win on the Tri-State Tour, on Sunday, February 19. He spent a lot less time on the loss side of the Tri-State bracket, having been defeated by Lionel Oliver in the battle for the hot seat, and needing only the one loss-side win to return, challenge and defeat Oliver in the finals. The $625-added event drew 30 entrants to the Cue Bar in Bayside (Queens), NY.
 
Following victories over Ray Feliciano, and Luis Jimenez, Shlemperis advanced to a winners' side semifinal against Kevin Shin. Oliver, in the meantime, squared off against Vijay Patel. Shlemperis downed Shin 6-4, as Oliver sent Patel west 5-3. Oliver claimed the hot seat 7-2 over Shlemperis and waited for him to get back.
 
On the loss side, Shin picked up Luis Jimenez, who'd gotten by Carl Yusuf Khan 6-1, and Jaydev Zaveri 6-3. Patel drew Andrew Cicoria, who'd eliminated Bob Toomey 5-1, and Jim Gutierrez 4-2. The loss-side combatants in the battle to determine the tie for 5th place defeated the newcomers from the winners' side semifinals. Jimenez ended Shin's day 6-3, while Cicoria was busy sending Patel home 5-3.
 
Jimenez won the quarterfinal match that followed, 6-3 over Cicoria. He put up a fight against Shlemperis in the semifinals, but Shlemperis took the final game and got himself a second shot against Oliver. Like Jimenez before him, Oliver put up a fight to claim the title, but it wasn't enough. Shlemperis pulled ahead to win it by two 8-6 and claim his second title in as many weeks.
 
Tour representatives thanked the ownership and staff at the Cue Bar, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Sterling-Gaming, Kamui Tips, Ron Vitello, Phil Capelle, BlueBook Publishing, Human Kinetics, and Bloodworth Ball Cleaners. The next stop on the Tri-State Tour, scheduled for Sunday, February 26, will be a C/D, Double Points, 8-ball event, hosted by Steinway Billiards, in Astoria (Queens), NY.