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Big Names Fall In Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open

Alex Kazakis

Alex Kazakis, Ko Ping Han and Chang Yu-Lung were among the big names knocked out of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open on the second day of play at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan, while the likes of Kelly Fisher, Margaret Fefilova and Chia Hua Chen are already into the last 16 of the Women’s event.

A goliath match up between Ko Pin-Yi and Alex Kazakis would usually be reserved for the closing stages of any tournament, but here it was a match in the second round on the losers’ side of the draw. Ko had been beaten by Denis Grabe on the opening day but a 4-1, 4-0 win over another Estonian, Gert Gnadeberg, got the two-time World Champion up and running.

A shootout defeat to Jonas Souto Comino in the first winners’ round earlier in the day had sent Kazakis to the one-loss side and, like Ko, he now needed three wins to qualify for the straight-knockout last 32.

Ko looked certain to take the first set 4-1 but missed a straight 3 by going rail first in attempt to gain position on the 4. However, another chance presented itself and was taken in the sixth rack as Ko took the set 4-2.

The first two racks of set two were shared and it was Kazakis who had a clear opening in the third, only to miss the 1 to the side when a simple 2/10 was waiting. Ko took the gift but Kazakis was level again at 2-2 one rack later. The Greek was then able to lead for the first time when Ko missed the 9, but the Taiwanese leveled at 3-3 to move a rack away from victory.

Kazakis needed to hope for a chance as Ko broke on the hill, and he got one immediately as Ko struggled to find power with his break, leaving Kazakis a layout from which he took a clear path to the shootout.

In the tie break, neither player so much as clipped a jaw in their four regulation innings, forcing sudden death where it was Kazakis who blinked first. Ko had already taken a 5-4 shootout lead when the Greek missed his fifth shot to be eliminated from the tournament. Ko’s next opponent will be Tyler Styer.

However, Ko’s brother Ping Han is out of the event after suffering a shootout defeat to Puerto Rico’s Miguel Batista. The home player took the first set 4-3 before Ko fired back, only to lose 3-2 in the shootout. Another local favorite, USA’s Puerto Rico-born Tony Robles, awaits Batista in the next round.

With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.

In the Women’s Open, eight of the last 16 are now known. Kelly Fisher defeated Kristina Tkach by shootout to reach the single-elimination stage, while Canada Open champion ‘Amber’ Chen was winner over Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi. Pia Filler, Allison Fisher and Margaret Fefilova make it four Europeans already through.

The other four players to reach the last 16 undefeated are all from Asia, with Filipino speed-shooter Chezka Centeno and Chinese Taipei’s Wang Wan-Ling and Tzu-Chien Wei joining compatriot Chen in the last 16 draw.

The Open event moves to single elimination with 32 players remaining. Winners’ qualification matches commence at 10am local time with Fedor Gorst, Carlo Biado and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz among those with two chances to qualify. Wiktor Zielinski, Roberto Gomez and Yukio Akagariyama are some of the experienced players who will have to win two matches on the losers’ side of the draw if they are to make it.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Thursday with six more matches streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Fisher Fights Through As Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open Begins

Kelly Fisher

Four-time Predator Pro Billiard Series champion Kelly Fisher had to come from 3-2 down to eventually win the second set against 12-year-old American Savannah Easton and move to the winners’ qualification stage of the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open.

At the impressively set-up Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan, 192 pro players from 44 countries opened the 2022 Caribbean CueSports International Expo on Tuesday. With $100,000 in the prize pot of the 128-player Open, and $75,000 for the 64-player Women’s event, the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and will be followed in Puerto Rico by the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and Predator World 8-Ball Championship.

In the Open event, Fedor Gorst, Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz and Darren Appleton won twice to reach winners’ qualification, the latter defeating Chang Jung-Lin 4-0, 4-1.

After beating Elise Qiu on a shootout at the start of the day, Fisher faced Easton on the TV table in her hunt for an unprecedented fifth Predator Pro Billiard Series title. Easton has been making waves this year, most recently taking fifth in the WPBA’s Sledgehammer Open in Bristol, TN last month.

The 12-year-old had seen off Emilyn Callado in straight sets in the opening round and earned a huge ovation from the Puerto Rican crowd for her efforts against Fisher, who was almost taken to shootout by the youngster nicknamed ‘Roadrunner’.

Having won the first set 4-2, Fisher took a 2-0 lead in the second. However, the American youngster, who will take part in the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships starting Friday, cut that lead in half after making the 5 with the bridge. Easton then leveled the set at 2-2 after a safety battle with just the 9 and 10 remaining and a long 8 opened up the fifth game of the set for the junior, who took a 3-2 lead.

A dry break from the hill allowed Fisher to play a safety which Easton couldn’t escape but ball in hand was returned by the Brit when she completely missed the 7. However, Easton left a long 9 in the jaw and Fisher was finally level again at hill-hill in the second set.

The final rack brought more drama as Easton battled for the shootout but the pressure showed as she overcut the 10. Both players had another chance to close out the set but it was Fisher who got over the line to advance to winners qualification tomorrow.

“What a great player, she has nerves of steel and definitely one to watch for the future,” said Fisher. “She should have had me there, it should have been a shootout. I was all over the place but she missed some crucial balls at the end.

“What a great future she knows she must have, she is a great player and we are going to see her in the future. I, personally, don’t want to play her again; she put me under pressure, she got me, could have had me, and I don’t want to play her again until she’s 18!”

“I was this close, I was so close,” said Easton. “In the first set when I was 2-2 I thought I might be able to beat her, and in the second set when it was 3-2 and I took that break, I was so excited but I tried to hold it in as much as I could. It was so fun, I couldn’t believe it.”

Fisher will now face Kristina Tkach for a place in the last 16. Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan will take on Chia Hua Chen after ‘Amber’ beat World Women’s 10-Ball Champion Chieh Yu-Chou in the opening round. Pia Filler, Tzu-Chien Wei, Kristina Zlateva, Jasmin Ouschan and Allison Fisher are among the other players still unbeaten in the women’s event.

In the men’s tournament, local favorite Alan Rolon was well-supported as he Wu Kun Lin by shootout and then Alex Montpellier to earn a day off and set up a winners’ qualification match against Badar Alawadhi on Thursday morning.

A strong field spelt early casualties as the likes of Ko Ping-Han, Aloysius Yapp and Ko Pin-Yi all lost in the first round and now face a long road to reach the last 32 and single elimination.

The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open continues from 10am AST on Wednesday with six more matches streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV,  the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter.

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Blockbuster Final Day Set For Predator World Teams Championship

Chang Jung-Lin

Great Britain will face Chinese Taipei and Germany will take on Philippines in an all-star line-up for the semi-finals of the Predator World Teams Championship in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Friday’s quarter-finals saw Great Britain beat Japan 3-0, Chinese Taipei knock out hosts Austria 3-1, Germany overcome Spain 3-1, and Philippines defeat Poland, also by 3 sets to 1.

It means Sunday’s semi-final line-up is littered with World Champions, and three more will be crowned by the end of the weekend, as well as another in the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship.

Austria took center stage on the main feature table with a home crowd behind them. However, they lost the first set as ‘Rita’ Chieh-Yu Chou won 4-3 over Jasmin Ouschan; both players had earlier in the day qualified for the semi-finals of the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship, which take place on Saturday.

Mario He levelled for his country with a 4-1 singles win against Wu Kun Lin, but siblings Jasmin and Albin Ouschan then suffered a 4-0 reversal to Chou and Chang Jung-Lin, before Chang completed the win with another 4-0, this time against He.

“In the women’s singles I didn’t play very well but in the doubles Chang Jung-Lin gave me a lot of power, he made me feel very comfortable,” said Chou.

Chang added: “I played well today but so did Rita. We have to support each othjer, trust each other and enjoy the match. On Sunday we hope to play better.”

Great Britian’s progression to the semi-finals, where they will meet Chinese Taipei, was completed in straight sets. Kelly Fisher won a hill-hill women’s singles tie against Yuki Hiraguchi 4-3, and Jayson Shaw dispatched Masato Yoshioka 4-1 in the men’s singles match. Victory was completed with a 4-2 mixed doubles win for Fisher and Darren Appleton over Hiraguchi and Toru Kuribayashi.

For Fisher, she believes the experience of playing alongside two elite-level team-mates, who also happen to be close friends, is helping elevate her individual game too.

“We have known each other for years and we all get on so well,” said Fisher, who plays in the semi-finals of the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship on Saturday.

“They have so much testosterone between them, it’s no wonder they are champions. I think they might be helping me because they are gearing me up, they are really supportive and some of the shot selection, how men think compared to women, it is really amazing when you spend that time with them.

“I love teams, I wish we had more team events. We are here to win, and with the testosterone and ego you can see that, but win or lose we get on great and whatever happens we will give it 110%”

Sunday’s second semi-final will see Germany face Philippines after both teams registered 3-1 semi-final wins. Pia Filler got things started for Germany with a 4-2 win over Amalia Matas and Thorsten Hohmann continued the momentum by beating Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, also 4-2. Matas and David Alcaide kept Spain in it with an emphatic 4-0 success over husband and wife pairing Joshua and Pia Filler, but Joshua put that behind him and turned the scoreline around on Sanchez-Ruiz to avoid the shootout and send Spain to the last four.

Philippines are also guaranteed a medal after they defeated Poland 3-1. Rubilen Amit scored a 4-1 success over Oliwia Zalewska in the women’s singles set, but men’s World 10-Ball Champion Wojciech Szewczyk beat Carlo Biado 4-2 to level for Poland.

Szewczyk’s racks were the last won by Poland, however, as first Zaleska and Tomasz Kaplan and then Szewczyk suffered 4-0 defeats, to Amit and Johann Chua in doubles and Chua in singles.

“We are very happy that we are into the semi finals now,” said Amit. “I am glad that the boys played very well and we didn’t have to go through another shootout, because my heart couldn’t bare another shootout.”

Chua added: “Tomorrow we will practice, rest well and on Sunday we will come for you guys!”

The semi-finals and final all take place on Sunday, beginning at 9am local time. Matches will be streamed live and free on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel, watchbilliard.tv and on Kozoom.com.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship can be seen here: https://probilliardseries.com/event/1677/.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Teams Championship is at https://probilliardseries.com/event/1678/.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Winning Start For Ouschan In Predator Women’s World 10-Ball Championship

Jasmin Ouschan

Jasmin Ouschan, organizing two WPA World Championship events in her hometown, reverted to her familiar playing role and won through the first round of the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship with a confident 7-2 win over Kristina Grim at Sportpark Klagenfurt on Tuesday.

Three-time Pro Billiard Series champion Kelly Fisher was a 7-1 winner against Seo Seoa, while the current Women’s 10-Ball Championship – who won her title when the event was last staged in 2013 – also got off to a winning start, registering a 7-0 victory against Yi Yun Su.

Ouschan has been heavily involved in the organization of these events but more recently has switched her focus to preparations for competing, and she had plenty of support as she got her tournament underway against Grim.

Ouschan took the first rack after Grim gave herself a tough cut on the 10, which she hit too thin. The match was levelled when a dry break and subsequent foul from Ouschan allowed Grim back in with ball in hand. The Slovakian, who has previously represented Germany, couldn’t capitalize on her own break, however, and hit a tough 9 too full and Ouschan’s lead was restored at 2-1. The following two racks also went against the breaker, but Ouschan made it 4-2 from her own break.

That lead was extended further after Grim left an opening from a 1-ball safety. Ouschan completed another run out on her own break to reach the hill 6-2 up, and her progression to the next round was confirmed the next rack when the hometown hero cleared after Grim missed a long 1 under shot-clock pressure.

“The first match is always a big question mark, how it will feel,” said Ouschan. “But it went well and I’m totally happy with the set up in general, the whole team did great and of course I am proud to have such an event in my hometown.”

The World Women’s 10-Ball Championship was last held in 2013, when the Philipinnes’ Rubilen Amit won the title for a second time, beating Kelly Fisher in the final to add to her 2009 success. Amit has had a long time to wait to defend her title but made a perfect start with a 7-0 win over Yi Yun Su of Chinese Taipei.

Elsewhere, three-time Pro Billiard Series champion Kelly Fisher eased into the winners’ side of the brackets with a 7-1 win over Korea’s Seo Seoa, and there was a win for Austria’s 17-year-old rising star Lena Primus, who defeated Laura Saarinen 7-6.

Before the start of the World Teams Championship, players and officials paid tribute to Molrudee Kasemchaiyanan, who sadly died on Tuesday. Kasemchaiyanan fell ill after representing New Zealand at The World Games in July and was remembered by her billiard family with a minute of silence in Klagenfurt. Kelly Fisher paid tribute, saying: “She was a sweetheart who did a lot for the billiard world and was very passionate about the game, and was part of our billiard family. She is going to be missed very much.”

Matches in the World Teams Championship are a best of five sets and teams are made up one two male and one female player. The first set is between the two female players, before teams nominate a player for mens singles. All four players must have played by the third set, which is mixed doubles. Players can then nominate a singles player of their choice for the fourth set, and if scores are tied at 2-2 then all team members participate in a best-of-four shootout.

With Austria ‘A’ among eight teams seeded through the first round, it was left to the B team to fly the flag on the feature table. However, they were up against a USA team in no mood to be gracious to their hosts. April Larson set the tone for a defiant victory, defeated Lina Primus 4-0.

The momentum was carried into the second set by Tyler Styer, who defeated Daniel Guttenberger 4-1. Guttenberger’s rack was the only one won by Austria, however, as Joey Tate teamed up with Larson to send Austria B to the losers’ side of the brackets, winning the set 4-0 against Primus and Max Lechner. That sets up a mouth-watering clash between Great Britain (Jayson Shaw, Darren Appleton and Kelly Fisher) and USA tomorrow evening.

Japan (Yuki Hiraguchi, Masato Yoshioka & Tatsu Kuribayashi) won a thrilling encounter against Serbia (Bojana Sarac, Aleksa Pecelj & Andreja Klasovic). Japan took the first two sets by close scorelines of 4-3 for Hiraguchi over Sarac and 4-2 for Yoshioka over Pecelj. Serbia fought back strongly as Sarac and Klasovic won from hill-hill in mixed doubles against Hiraguchi and Kuribayashi but Yoshioka took his team into the next round with an emphatic 4-0 win against Pecelj.

Canada won the first shootout of the event to advance at the expense of Costa Rica, and a short while later Switzerland also advanced by shootout, sending Finland to the losers’ side.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship can be seen here: https://probilliardseries.com/event/1677/. Play continues at 9am on Wednesday.

The draw and brackets for the Predator World Teams Championship is at https://probilliardseries.com/event/1678/. Play continues 4pm on Wednesday.

The event is broadcasting two tables with full live coverage and commentary every day. One will be available on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel and another will be at watchbilliard.tv. All tables can be viewed live at Kozoom.com.

Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.

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Fisher Golden in Women’s Pool Finals

Kelly Fisher 9-5 Chieh-Yu Chou

Great Britain’s Kelly Fisher arrived at this week’s World Games in Birmingham wanting to feel the event’s full experience – staying in the athlete’s village with competitors from other countries and rubbing elbows with those athletes all week.

Saturday night, Fisher achieved the ultimate World Games experience: winning a gold medal. The Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer battled back from an early deficit against Chinese Taipei’s Chieh-Yu Chou with some stout safety play paired with some fortune to win her first-ever gold medal in the women’s 9-ball competition. 9-5. The medal is the second she’s won at the Games. Having earned bronze when the competition was in Colombia in 2013.

“I don’t know how to describe how I feel,” she said after the match. “It meant so much to me. It was the title that I never won. I never had a gold medal. It’s a dream come true, honestly.”

The early stage of the match belonged to Chou, who used two breaks and runs along with an unforced error by Fisher to win three straight racks to open the set. After the two competitors traded breaks and runs and Chou maintained a 4-1 lead, Fisher started to realize that her dreams of gold might soon fade if she didn’t start winning racks soon.

“At one point I’m falling down thinking I just need to get going,” she said. “I’ve not really had much of a have a go yet and it might be too late.”

It wasn’t, as the Brit whittled away at the lead and tied the match when she broke and ran twice and took advantage of a missed shot by her opponent on her way to three consecutive wins.

Fisher claimed the next two racks thanks to fortunate rolls more than effective play. After winning a safety exchange on the 2 ball, she appeared to be on her way to another win until she pushed the 4 ball left of the corner pocket. The object ball rolled to a spot where it was blocked by the 7 ball, which forced Chou to execute a kick shot which resulted in a scratch, allowing Fisher to clear the table. She had similar circumstances in the next game when she missed a shot at the 1 ball but watched as it too rolled to a safe position on the table. After a lengthy safety exchange, the Brit again found an opening and cleared the table to grab a 6-4 advantage.

After winning a safety exchange on the 1 ball after her break, Chou appeared to be in position to close out the 11thrack and close the gap until she pushed the winning 9 ball to the side of the pocket, allowing Fisher to come to the table and take a 7-4 lead with one stroke.

“I think that it is easy to underestimate that shot and I think that’s what I did,” said Chou through a translator after the match.

The young woman from Chinese Taipei would recover by winning another safety exchange in the following game and running out this time, cutting the lead to 7-5. She was unable to continue the momentum in the next rack as she committed two unforced errors, failing to touch a rail on an attempted safety during one trip to the table and miscuing on another, as Fisher cleared the table again to build an 8-5 lead.

With the medal now within reach, Fisher broke and pocketed a ball but did not have a clear shot at the 1 ball. After a safety exchange on both the 1 and 2 balls, the Brit found a clear path to the winning runout when Chou left her an opening, raising her cue over her head in triumph after she pocketed the match-clinching 9-ball.

“I think I had a very like good start and, overall, a good game, but Kelly is a very good player and she works hard,” said Chou. “She had a good situation today too.”

BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
Yuki Hiraguchi 9-7 Veronika Ivanovskaia

SEMI-FINALS
Kelly Fisher 9-5 Yuki Hiraguchi
Chieh-Yu Chou 9-3 Veronika Ivanovskaia 

Fisher reached the final having overcome a handful of errors down the stretch to hold off a comeback by Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi, 9-5 in the semifinals Saturday morning. Fisher will now face Chinese Taipei’s Chieh-Yu Chou in the championship match later tonight.

It was the tale of two matches for Fisher, who used two breaks and runs coupled with a scratch on the break and a dry break by her opponent to build a quick 4-0 lead, then adding three more victories after Hiraguchi climbed onto the scoreboard with a win in the fifth rack. The Brit began to sputter in the match’s late stages, leaving her opponent makeable shots while attempting to play defense, as the young girl from Japan rattled off four straight wins to trim the deficit to 7-5.

“It was my safety play. My safety play was just off,” said Fisher. “I was either over-hitting it or under-hitting it.”

Fisher was able to use a combination shot on the 9 ball in the 13th rack and a tricky break-and-run where she left herself multiple shots with involved sharp cuts to close out the match and prevail.

“Overall, I’m happy with my performance,” said Fisher. “There’s a lot of pressure out there. If you lose that, there’s no guarantee that you’re going home with a medal.”

Regardless of her performance tonight, Fisher has already secured her best performance in World Games competition, having earned bronze in Colombia at the 2013 games and failing to earn one in Poland five years ago.

While Fisher stumbled her way across the finish line in her semifinal match, her opponent Chou seemed to get better. After splitting the first six games with Germany’s Veronika Ivanovskaia, Chou capitalized on a handful of opportunities down the stretch to win six straight racks and cruise to a 9-3 decision.

Prior to the gold medal match, the German and Hiraguchi met to determine the winner of the bronze medal, with the young girl from Japan coming from behind to earn a bronze medal with a 9-7 win.

Ivanovskaia jumped out to an early 4-2 advantage until a missed 3 ball in the seventh game gave her opponent life, as Hiraguchi won five of the next six to surge ahead 7-5. The German wasn’t finished, taking advantage of a victorious safety exchange to tie the match at 7-7, but Hiraguchi used stellar shot making down the stretch to pull off the win.

The Olympic Channel is live streaming The World Games and billiards will feature on July 16 and July 17 when the finals take place. A full streaming schedule and links are at https://www.theworldgames.org/pages/twg2022streaming. The match schedule, results, and live scores are at esnooker.pl

Follow @wcbsbilliards on social media for full coverage of the billiards program from our team in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Filler Beats Van Boening At The World Games

Joshua Filler

MEN’S POOL
Joshua Filler 11-3 Shane van Boening
Carlo Biado 11-7 Albin Ouschan

Joshua Filler out-broke Shane van Boening to inflict a painful 11-3 defeat on the reigning World Champion as the German progressed to the men’s pool semi-finals at The World Games with an ominous message for the rest of the field; he’s only interested in winning gold.

The German struck an immediate blow against Van Boening when he took the first game on the American’s break. Filler was soon 3-0 up but World Champion Van Boening, who turned 39 on Thursday, took the next two.

But that was the last real success Van Boening had in the match. A missed 4-ball in the seventh allowed Filler to move 5-2 ahead and an excellent runout in the 10th made if five consecutive racks for the German.

Up against the pressure of the scoreboard, Van Boening needed to take opportunities but a missed 6 when he desperately needed a runout was compounded when Filler cleared for a 9-2 lead.

When Filler arrived on the hill it was with his second break and run of the match. Fighting to stay in the contest, Van Boening came up dry on his break. Filler wasted no time in leaving his chair but with a roadmap to victory in sight a miscue meant he missed the 8. The crowd let out a collective gasp and Van Boening gratefully took the chance to get his third rack on the board.

But the American’s chances were slim with the alternate break format seeing Filler immediately back at the table and breaking for the match. A powerful strike took three balls from the table and left nothing that looked too difficult for the former World Champion, who this time made no mistake in completing an excellent 11-3 victory.

“It was a one-sided match because my break was really good and working and his break, most of the time he had to play push-out,” said Filler. “By 7-2 you could see he was very frustrated and not really trying any more, which was good for me and gave me more confidence.

“He played two bad safeties which helped me, because in an alternate break when that happens and my break works it is a good opportunity to win.

“I am happy with my positional play and my shot making and playing faster makes me feel better because I don’t need to think about anything else. I already know I am confident and you can see it in my game.

“I am here to win. I know we have a lot of World champions in the field but it would mean the world to me. It is just once every four years this event. I don’t want bronze, I don’t want silver, I want a gold medal.

Filler’s next opponent will be Carlo Biado, who beat Albin Ouschan 11-7 in their quarter-final clash.

“Carlo and myself played one World Championship final and I won that one, but we start from zero again tomorrow,” said Filler. “He beat Albin, and Albin is one of the most consistent players right now so it is going to be really tough, but if my break keeps going like that, it will be really tough for him.”

Biado applied the accelerator at the end of his match against 2021 World Champion Ouschan. The Austrian did lead 5-3 at one stage but much of the match was nip and tuck. However, from 8-8 Biado pulled ahead to reach the hill at 10-8 and he converted the 19th frame to advance to the semi-finals.

WOMEN’S POOL
Kelly Fisher 9-7 Brittany Bryant 

Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Kelly Fisher took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent – and, for this week, roommate – Brittany Bryant of Canada to come-from-behind and fend off the Canadian, 9-7.

After the two competitors split the first six racks, Bryant tacked on back-to-back wins to build a 5-3 advantage. Fisher won two of the next three racks to cut the deficit to 7-5 but Bryant faced a carom shot on the 9 ball in the 13th rack that would give her an 8-5 lead in a race-to-nine.

She didn’t, as Fisher cleared the table to pull to within a game, then used a safety exchange to tie the score again. The reigning women’s World 9-Ball champion Fisher took the lead for good in the 15th game when Bryant scratched on break.

Bryant had one final chance to tie the score when her opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 16th game but was unable to clear the table, instead scratching while attempting to secure position on the 8 ball.

“I felt hopeful to be in that match because neither one of us could get the table speed,” said Bryant after the match. “I’m just happy that that I was in it given how the match went. I felt lucky that Kelly wasn’t playing her best either.”

Yuki Hiraguchi 9-6 Oliwia Zalewska 6

Yuki Hiraguchi jumped out to an early 5-1 advantage, only to watch the lead evaporate thanks to a handful of unforced errors. In the end, the young girl from Japan used a couple of well-executed combination shots while taking advantage of a couple of misplayed shots by her opponent to seal a 9-6 victory and a trip to the semifinals.

After winning five of the first six games, Hiraguchi started to struggle with her ball pocketing in the match’s middle stages, including a misplayed 9 ball in the 10th, as the young Pole won four straight to tie the match 5-5. After regaining the lead on a safety exchange and using a combination shot on the 9 ball to win the 12th game and build a 7-5 lead, but missed another 9 ball in the 13th game, which her opponent pocketed to cut the deficit to 7-6. Hiraguchi then closed out the set with another successful combination shot on the 9 ball in the 14th game and a victorious safety exchange on the 5 ball in the next rack to seal the victory.

“It wasn’t my best game for sure,” said Zalewska. “I couldn’t focus in the beginning of the match and then result of that was too many mistakes.”

Hiraguchi will now face Fisher in the semifinals Saturday.

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Fisher vs Fefilova In VG 9-Ball Finals

Kelly Fisher will face Margaret Fefilova in the finals of the Women’s Poison VG 9-Ball Championship on Thursday. Both players had decisive wins on Wednesday to earn their spots in the final. 

First up on Wednesday was Fisher taking on Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi. Hiraguchi had won day two of the events round-robin stage, while Fisher had finished as a runner-up on day three, which was enough to earn her a wildcard spot in the final stage. 

Fisher was her usual dominating self in the match with Hiraguchi. The match saw players facing off in races to five racks against the ghost in a “two out of three” format. It took Fisher just six racks in both sets to eliminate Hiraguchi. The third rack in both sets was what caused Fisher problems, as she ran out in all of the other racks. Hiraguchi had three misses across both sets on shots she might have let her attention lapse on. The misses led to Fisher with back to back 5-3 wins. 

The second set of the day saw Margaret Fefilova with an even more dominating win over Turkey’s Eylul Kibaroglu. In the first set, Fefilova ran the first four racks before finally missing a 4-ball in the fifth rack. Even with that miss, Fefilova led the set 4-2 and would put it away on rack six with another break and run. 

Kibaroglu came out and took a quick 1-0 lead in the second set, but failed to finish in her next four straight racks. By that time, Fefilova held a 3-1 lead that would prove to be insurmountable. Both players ran out in rack six for a 4-2 Fefilova lead and she expanded on that lead in the next rack with a table run for another 5-2 win. 

Hiraguchi and Kibaroglu both earned $600 for their 3rd place finishes. Fisher and Fefilova will be playing for a $2000 first prize and $1200 second place prize. 

The match will expand to races to six on Thursday and will kick off at 11:00 AM Eastern Time. Fans can catch the final match online at https://www.facebook.com/CueItUpPodcast.

Hiraguchi Advances, Wei On The Outside Looking In At Poison VG 9-Ball

Action at day two of the Women’s Poison VG 9-Ball Championship is complete and the first tiebreaker has determined who was advancing from a group. 

In Friday play, group favorite Wei Tzu Chien finished with a 2-1 record, after losing a match to Indonesia’s Angeline Ticoalu. Japanese champion Yuki Hiraguchi also turned in a 2-1 record, dropping her match against Chien. The tie-breaker was not “head to head” play though. The first tiebreaker was “racks won”, and both players had ran twelve out of twenty four racks. That meant the tiebreaker went to number of balls made, and that meant that Hiraguchi moved to the single elimination stage with 169 balls made, compared to Chien’s 145 balls made. 

In worse news for Chien, her score of twelve racks ran leaves her below day one’s runner-up, Eylul Kibaroglu from Turkey, who ran fifteen racks. With only two players earning wildcards into single elimination play, Chien will have to hope that no runner-up finishers from days three or four are able to run more than twelve racks. 

Saturday play will see another all-star group of players competing in round robin play against the ghost. The early favorite has to be World Champion Kelly Fisher, but Germans Ina Kaplan and Yvonne Ullmann, as well as Japan’s Miina Tani will do everything in their power to keep Fisher from advancing. 

All of the ladies will be competing in 8 racks of 9-ball against the ghost, hoping to run more balls than their opponent. The top finisher in the four player group will earn her place in the final bracket, with two wildcards who don’t win their groups also making the final bracket. 

Play begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time and can be followed online at https://www.facebook.com/CueItUpPodcast

Zlateva Books Her Place In Woman’s VG 9-Ball Finals Brackets; Chien Competes On Friday

After one day of play at the Woman’s Poison VB 9-Ball Championship, Bulgaria’s Kristina Zlateva has booked her place in the final six player bracket. Zlateva went undefeated on Thursday, with wins over Monica Webb, Eugenia Gyftopoulos and Turkey’s Eylul Kibaroglu. Kibaroglu had wins over Webb and Gyftopoulos on Thursday and will hope to earn one of the two wildcard spots when group play is complete. 

Day two of the event on Friday will see another four players competing in round robin play, with Taipei’s Wei Tzu Chien, Japan’s Yuki Hiraguchi, Indonesia’s Angeline Ticoalu and Belarus’s Yana Halliday all in action. 

All of the ladies will be competing in 8 racks of 9-ball against the ghost, hoping to run more balls than their opponent. The top finisher in the four player group will earn her place in the final bracket, with two wildcards who don’t win their groups also making the final bracket. 

Play begins at 1:00 PM Eastern Time and can be followed online at https://www.facebook.com/CueItUpPodcast