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Zielinski Victorious at Alfa Las Vegas Open
 Posted on Sunday, March 27 2022 @ 09:53:24 UTCby admin
10 Ball ALFA LAS VEGAS OPEN
US Pro Billiard Series

Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
3700 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas
Nevada
United States of America
www.probilliardseries.com
www.playcsipool.com/usprobilliardseries - live stream - brackets
www.caesars.com/rio-las-vegas

23 March - 2 April 2022


Wiktor Zielinski - Poland
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Zielinski Victorious at Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski received the full U.S. Pro Billiard Series experience on Saturday night.

Playing on the final day of the Alfa Las Vegas Open, he shut out Switzerland’s Dimitri Jungo 4-0 in the first set of the quarterfinals only to have Jungo defeat him by the same 4-0 score in the following frame. He survived back-to-back shootouts, first against Jungo and then against Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Mika Immonen in the semifinals. And in the finals against Aloysius Yapp, he looked like he’d miss his chance to snag the opening set only to have a fortunate roll toss it right back into his lap.

Through it all, the 21-year-old persevered, defeating Yapp in straight sets 4-3, 4-0 to win the Open at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, pocketing $30,000 and an automatic invitation into next year’s World 10-Ball Championships. Zielinski not only won, but did so in an event that was equal parts double-elimination tournament and endurance test, with a record 192 players competing over four days to crown a champion.



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Wiktor Zielinski - Poland
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After Yapp climbed onto the board in the first set with an opening rack win, Zielinski used a victorious safety exchange and a missed 2 ball from his opponent to jump out to a 2-1 advantage. Yapp snagged the next two games when he ran out the fourth rack after his opponent couldn’t pocket a ball on the break, then added a break-and-run but relinquished table control in the sixth game when he failed to pocket any balls on the break. Zielinski cleared the table to tie the match only to break dry again in the seventh game.

As Yapp worked his way through the rack, he appeared positioned to clear the table and snatch the set until he overran position on the 6 ball and played safe. Zielinski left an opening after a safety attempt of his own but watched as Yapp left the object in front of the side pocket, handing his opponent a routine shot and a 4-3 first set victory.

The second Set was all Zielinski, taking advantage of a Yapp miss, a victorious safety exchange and a break-and-run to build a commanding 3-0 lead. The young man from Singapore had one last chance to mount a comeback in the fourth rack but watched as the cue ball caromed off of another ball into the side pocket after he pocketed the 1 ball. Zielinski cleared the table then tossed his cue on the table and raised both arms in victory.


The three-time EuroTour champion earned the victory despite struggling with his break throughout the championship match, failing to pocket balls on the opening shot four times and scratching once.

Zielinski reached the finals by overcoming unforced errors and breaking struggles of his own to down a resurgent Mika Immonen in a shootout in the first semifinal match of the afternoon.

After Zielinski used a foul and scratch by Immonen in the first two games to take a 2-0 lead, the Hall of Famer tied the score by capitalizing on a dry break by his opponent in the third game then tacking on a break-and-run. As Immonen worked his way through the fifth rack, he misplayed position on the 4 ball then fouled when he failed to make contact with the ball. Zielinski cleared the table to grab a 3-2 lead then took advantage of an opening left by his opponent on a safety attempt in the following game to claim the set, 4-2.

The young man from Poland would struggle in the second set and Immonen took advantage, capitalizing on missed shots by his opponent in the first and fifth games and a dry break in the fourth rack to steal victories. Zielinski continued to battle, taking advantage of two Immonen breaks where he failed to pocket a ball to snag wins of his own. Standing at the table with a 3-2 advantage, the Hall of Famer broke and ran to send the match to an extra set shootout.

Immonen struggled in the spot shot extra frame, missing on his first and third attempts while Zielinski managed only one missed shot I three tries. The 49-year-old Immonen continued to apply pressure to his young opponent, making his fourth and final attempt and forcing Zielinski to either make his last attempt and secure the victory or miss and move on to sudden death. The young man from Poland calmly executed the shot, ending the match and sending Zielinski to the championship match to face Yapp.

Playing in the quarterfinals against Poland’s Mateusz Sniegocki, Yapp controlled the opening set from the start and cruised to a 4-1 victory. Sniegocki, a three-time winner on the EuroTour, was far from finished, taking advantage of a couple of openings and squeaking out a 4-3 win to force sudden-death shootout.

When Yapp and Sniegocki locked up to determine who would advance to the semifinals, it practically looked two guys in practicing free throws at the end of a basketball game. Neither one missed, as 10 ball after 10 ball continued to tumble into the corner pocket. They remained deadlocked after the opening innings, then remained tied after the first round of sudden death, then the third, and then the fifth. Finally, in the 11th frame of the set, Yapp successfully pocketed his ball and watched as his opponent blinked, handing the young man from Singapore the win.

As he advanced to the semifinals, Yapp had to be wondering who he may have upset in Warsaw to receive the draw he did. Waiting for him was Wojciech Szewczyk, a 27-year-old who twice won the European Pool Championships as a junior.

The Pole jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage in the first set thanks to a victorious safety exchange and a missed 4 ball by his opponent in the second rack. Yapp climbed onto the board in the third game after his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break but lost control of the table in the next game when he lost a safety exchange with Szewczyk, who cleared the table to take a commanding 3-1 lead. Yapp tied the score with back-to-back victorious safety exchanges on the 1 ball but forfeited the table again when he failed to pocket a ball on the break. Szewczyk appeared positioned to clear the table but missed a cut shot on the 6 ball, handing Yapp the table and the victory, 4-3.

After Yapp won the first rack of the second set he scratched on the break in the next game, handing the table back to his opponent who tapped in a combination shot on the 10 ball to tie the score. Szewczyk added another rack after his opponent scratched after pocketing the 6 ball but misplayed a safety on the 1 ball in the next game that allowed Yapp to carom the cue ball from the 1 ball into the 10 ball and tie the score. Standing at the table with a chance to regain the lead, Yapp failed to pocket a ball on the break once again and watched as his opponent walked to the table and once again fired in a combination shot on the 10 ball to regain the lead. Yapp had chance to tie the match after Szewczyk failed to pocket a ball on the break but misplayed position on the 6 ball, then lost a safety exchange on the ball which allowed his opponent to win the set and send the match to a shootout.

Shockingly, the player who had pocketed 11 consecutive spot shots in the previous match, missed his first attempt. Then he missed his third. Thankfully for him, Szewczyk was struggling as well, missing three straight shots down the stretch to hand Yapp the victory, 3-2.

Matches can be watched on Billiard TV and World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women's Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open brackets on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.
The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.


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Immonen Stays Alive to Reach Final Day of Alfa Las Vegas Open







Mika Immonen - Finland
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Immonen Stays Alive to Reach Final Day of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Early on, it appeared Mika Immonen couldn’t do anything wrong in his round-of-32 match against Chia-Chen Hsieh.

Then in the second half of the match, it seemed like he couldn’t do anything right.

But when the match reached the crucial phase, he was perfect.

Regardless of how it looked on that stat sheet, what matters is that the 49-year-old Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer punched his ticket to the final day round of 16 at the Alfa Las Vegas Open. Immonen battled back from a mistake-prone second set against Hsieh to win in a shootout, 2-0. He will now face Marc Bijsterbosch Saturday morning at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

After suffering a third-round loss in a shootout to Wojciech Szewczyk on the winner’s side, Immonen rallied to qualify for the 64-player single-elimination phase with a shootout victory against Michael Schneider then took out Spain’s Jonas Souto in straight sets in the first round of single-elimination play. He then matched up with Hsieh, who took advantage of a missed 7 ball by his opponent to climb onto the scoreboard first. The two-time U.S. Open 9-Ball champion followed up the error with a victorious safety exchange, a successful combination shot on the 10 ball and a break-and-run to take the next three games. Hsieh added another rack after his opponent left an opportunity following a safety, but couldn’t get any closer as his opponent closed out the set, 4-2.

The second set was all Hsieh, who took advantage of two missed shots by his opponent then added a break-and-run to build a 3-0 advantage on his way to an easy 4-1 victory to force a shootout. Although Hsieh exhibited stellar shot making down the stretch in the second set, his ball pocketing was anything but during the deciding spot shot shootout as he missed three consecutive shots. Meanwhile, Immonen had suddenly found his stroke again, executing back-to-back cut shots to secure the win and advance to Saturday.

Qualifying for the final 16 is one more milestone for the former World 9-Ball champion during a run of consistent and strong play over the last six months. After a top-five finish at the International Open in November, the Hall of Famer opened 2022 with a fourth-place finish at the Turning Stone Classic and a sixth-place performance in the Derby City Classic’s 9-ball division.

Meanwhile, on Thursday night, Carlo Biado was sent to the one-loss side of the bracket by another Hall of Famer attempting to jumpstart his career again – England’s Darren Appleton. Twenty-four hours later, after surviving a shootout against Avinash Pandey to reach the single-elimination phase, the reigning U.S. Open Pool champion was the one playing the role of spoiler as he sent reigning World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis packing in straight sets, 4-3, 4-2.

The Filipino built an early 2-0 advantage in the first set but left an opening in the third rack when he missed the 5 ball, allowing Kazakis to clear the table and narrow the deficit to 2-1. The Greek then failed to pocket a ball on the break in the fourth game, allowing Biado to clear the table and climb onto the hill, 3-1. Kazakis was far from finished, taking advantage of a victorious safety exchange and a Biado foul to tie the match, 3-3. Standing at the table with a chance to steal the first set, the Greek broke the balls and watched as the cue ball was kicked into the side pocket, handing his opponent the table and the match-winning rack.

It would be a common problem for Kazakis throughout the match, as he scratched on the break again in the second game of the second set after taking a 1-0 advantage then failed to pocket a ball on the break in the fourth rack after regaining the lead, 2-1. Biado tied the set, cleared the table in the fourth game to push his lead to 3-2, then closed out the set when his opponent again scratched while attempting a safety on the 1 ball.

The tournament shifted from double-elimination to the single-elimination second phase as afternoon transitioned into evening, leaving competitors battling for one of the 64 spots available in the knockout phase. One of those who failed to qualify for the single-elimination phase was American Skyler Woodward, who built an early 3-0 lead in his first set match again Roman Hybler of the Czech Republic only to watch his opponent win four consecutive games to snatch the frame, 4-3. Hybler continued to take advantage of open opportunities in the next frame, using two victorious safety exchanges and a missed 9 ball by his opponent to build a 3-0 lead. Woodward cut the lead to 3-2 thanks to a misplayed safety in the fifth rack, but the Kentuckian failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth game, handing Hybler the table and the match, 4-2.

Also eliminated from competition was five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball champion Shane Van Boening, who defeated Alex Pagulayan in a round-of-64 shootout, 4-2, only to fall in the next round to Yu-Lung Chang in a shootout, 4-2.

Competition resumes today at 10 a.m. local time with eight round-of-16 matches scheduled while the event’s four quarterfinal pairings are slated to begin at noon. The Open’s first semifinal match-up will follow at 2 p.m., the second is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and the tournament will conclude at 7 p.m. with the finals.

Matches can be watched on Billiard TV and World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women's Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.


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Appleton Advances While Shaw Stunned on Day Two of Alfa Las Vegas Open







Darren Appleton - Great Britain
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Appleton Advances While Shaw Stunned on Day Two of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Of all of the vacation and convention destinations in the world, Las Vegas usually isn’t particularly kind to most of its visitors.

After all, most of the city’s legendary and luxurious casinos certainly aren’t able to stay open because visitors keep breaking them with big jackpots. “The house always wins,” as the saying goes.

But the city has been particularly unlucky as of late for Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton, who was winless in his two previous visits to Vegas, posting back-to-back two-and-outs before heading home.

Competing in the fourth annual Alfa Las Vegas Open this weekend, it appears his luck might be starting to change. Appleton survived back-to-back shootouts – including a sudden-death thriller against reigning United States Open Pool champion Carlo Biado – to remain unbeaten in the four-day, 192-player tournament being held at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

After an opening round bye and a 4-3 sudden death win against Duong Quoc Hoang, Appleton reached the third round where he faced off against Biado, who drew first blood when his opponent scratched on the break in the opening rack. The Hall of Famer tied the score when the Filipino failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next rack, then rattled off three more wins to seal the set, 4-1.

The following frame was practically a photo negative, as Biado capitalized on two openings left by his opponent to an early 2-0 lead before Appleton narrowed the deficit with a successful combination shot on the 10 ball in the third game. Appleton appeared to tie the set at two games each when he pocketed the 10 ball again on a combination shot, but he failed to call the 10 ball to be pocketed. What looked like a tied set resulted in Appleton essentially playing a safety on himself when the 10 ball was re-spotted, with the cue ball’s path to the 1 ball now blocked After Appleton scratched during a safety exchange, Biado cleared the table and then added another rack to close out the set, 4-1.

After each player missed a ball in the first two innings of the shootout, both competitors executed back-to-back shots to send the set into sudden death. With the cue ball now moved back a diamond, Appleton again made back-to-back shots while Biado missed his attempt in the seventh inning to hand his opponent the victory.

Appleton will now face Pin-Yi Ko in the next round, who needed a shootout of his own to defeat Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski.

Hours earlier, Appleton’s friend and reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw wasn’t as fortunate.

Facing Dimitri Jungo of Switzerland, the two competitors battled throughout the first set, with the Jungo taking an early 2-0 advantage after his opponent left openings in back-to-back games. Shaw snagged a pair of games to tie the score thanks to a successful combination shot on the 10 ball in the third rack and a Jungo miss in the next game, but handed the table back to his opponent when he scratched in the fifth game. Jungo had an opportunity to close out the set but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth game, as Shaw won back-to-back racks to seal the victory, 4-3.

The Scotsman climbed onto the scoreboard first in the second set when his opponent scratched, but Jungo would claim the next two games thanks to an unforced error by his opponent and a successful carom shot on the 10 ball in the third rack. Shaw tied the score in the fourth game after his opponent missed the 10 ball, but a missed 3 ball in the following game would relinquish the table to Jungo for the remainder of the set, as he cleared the table and then broke-and-ran to secure the set, 4-2, and send the match to a sudden death shootout.

After both competitors pocketed their opening shot of the extra frame, Shaw missed on his second attempt. Meanwhile, Jungo remained perfect throughout the deciding set, successfully executing four straight shots to pull off the upset.

In other notable matches that took place, Poland’s Wojciech Szewczyk fought back from an opening round 4-1 loss to Mika Immonen to claim the second set, 4-2, and beat the Hall of Famer in a shootout, 3-1. Spain’s Jonas Souto, who upset Shane Van Boening the day before, continued his hot play with a straight sets victory against Daniel Schneider, 4-1, 4-3. Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski defeated fellow countryman Konrad Juszczyszyn in straight sets, 4-1, 4-1 and Alex Montpellier took down Ping Han Ko in a shootout, 3-2.

Play resumes Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. local time with notable matches including Corey Deuel facing Juszczyszyn, Shane Wolford meeting Oscar Dominguez and Hunter Lombardo meeting Chris Reinhold in one-loss side matches.

Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and also on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women's Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.


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Van Boening and Woodward Suffer Rare Upsets on First Day of Las Vegas Open







Jonas Sauto - Spain
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Van Boening and Woodward Suffer Rare Upsets on First Day of Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


There may not be a more decorated 10-ball player in the United States than Shane Van Boening.

With four United States Open 10-Ball championships, a handful of Super Billiards Expo 10-ball titles and two Derby City Classic BigFoot 10-Ball trophies, Van Boening has practically forged a hall of fame career on this discipline alone.

As a result, it’s not very often that he finds himself situated on the one-loss side of the bracket after the first day of play is completed. But there are exceptions – and Wednesday was one of those cases, as the 38-year-old struggled to get the feel of the table and lost to Spain’s Jonas Sauto in the second round of the Alfa Las Vegas Open at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

After Souto opened the first set by claiming the opening rack after a missed combination shot by his opponent, Van Boening took advantage of missed shots by the Spaniard in three consecutive games as the South Dakotan won four straight to cruise to an easy, 4-1 win. The Souto jumped out to a 2-0 advantage in the next frame as the South Dakotan missed shots in back-to-back games. Van Boening jumped on the scoreboard in the third game when Souto attempted to break up a locked 8 and 9 balls but instead left an opening, but he relinquished the table when he failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next game. Souto used a combination shot on the 10 ball to climb onto the hill, 3-1, but Van Boening tied the match thanks to a missed shot by his opponent in the sixth game and a successful combination shot on the 10 ball of his own in the next rack.

After a push following the break by Van Boening in the deciding seventh game, the two men engaged in a brief safety exchange on the 1 ball. The five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball champion kicked at the ball and landed the object ball in the corner pocket but unfortunately had called the side pocket, allowing Souto to run the rack and claim the set, 4-3.

Van Boening dug himself into an early hole in the sudden death shootout when he missed his first shot. Meanwhile, the Spaniard was perfect in the extra frame, pocketing four consecutive shots to secure the victory.

Van Boening’s loss was part of a brutal opening day for American competitors, with three former Mosconi Cup members suffering early defeats, including two-time Cup Most Valuable Player Skyler Woodward losing in a 7-6 shootout to Riku Romppanen, a 14-year-old junior from Finland. After Romppanen won the opening set, 4-2, Woodward rallied to tie the match at a set apiece with a 4-2 victory of his own. Both competitors were perfect in their first six attempts in the sudden death shootout until Woodward missed his sixth attempt, leaving the door open for the teenager to pull the upset.

Romppanen will now face Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp Thursday afternoon.

Later in the evening. Van Boening’s friend and former Mosconi Cup teammate Billy Thorpe was trying to avoid a similar fate when he matched up with Filipino Roland Garcia, the plucky Filipino who finished third at this year’s Arizona Open and placed third in the Derby City Classic’s 9-ball division.

Thorpe appeared to be in control early after executing back-to-back combination shots on the 10 ball to open the match until he missed a 2 ball in the third rack, allowing Garcia to climb onto the scoreboard. The Ohio native added another victory in the fourth rack when his Garcia misplayed the 1 ball, but his opponent tied the set at 3-3 with back-to-back victories after Thorpe failed to pocket a ball on the break in the fifth game.

Standing at the table with a chance to close out the set, Garcia appeared positioned to run out the rack but instead missed the 5 ball In the corner pocket. Thorpe slid the ball into the corner pocket, then ran the rest of the rack to close out the set, 4-3.

The Filipino rebounded in a back-and-forth second set, taking advantage of two Thorpe misses to win two racks, then using a combination shot on the 10 ball in the fifth rack to climb ahead 3-2. The Filipino then capitalized on another Thorpe miss on the 5 ball in the sixth game to steal the set, 4-2, and force a shootout.

Thorpe’s shot making struggles continued in the extra frame as he missed all first three of his shots in the extra set, handing his opponent a 2-0 victory.

Competition resumes Thursday at 9:30 a.m. local time, with notable matches including an all-Poland matchup of Wiktor Zielinski taking on Konrad Juszczyszyn, Austria’s Maximillan Lechner facing reigning champion Kun-Lin Wu and World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci meeting Ping-Chung Ko. Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and also on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women's Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2. The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.


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Bigger Alfa Las Vegas Open Brings Star-Studded Field and Ko Brothers Return






Shane Van Boening - USA
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Bigger Alfa Las Vegas Open Brings Star-Studded Field and Ko Brothers Return

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Wu Kun-Lin had been close to the finish line in a handful of major events in recent years only to stumble when he reached the finish line.

So, when he reached the last day of September’s Diamond Las Vegas Open, Wu was resolute to finish the job this time. So determined, that the 22-year-old found himself walking around the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, host facility for the tournament, giving himself pep talks to try and remain composed.

“I talked to myself to get off of the pressure in the final day,” Wu said. “I felt much pressure because in the title match, both me and Omar had not won a title yet.”

Wu survived a strong performance by Estonia’s Denis Grabe in the semifinals and coasted past Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen in the championship match to post an undefeated record and win the third annual Las Vegas Open, ending his title drought and picking up $15,000.

“Sometimes I was very close to winning so the only thing that I thought of was winning a title,” said Wu. “That was my goal and I made it.”

Now Wu is back to try and repeat as champion, as the Alfa Las Vegas Open opens play today, kicking off 11 days of professional and amateur pool at the CueSports International Expo at the Rio. This year’s Expo features a new title sponsor for the professional open events – cryptocurrency Alfa – added a professional women’s tournament while expanding the men’s field from 128 players to 192 – with three of those registered being the Ko brothers, who are making their return to international competition for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic begin in 2020.

Three years ago, in the very same arena where he will be competing this week, a 23-year-old Pin-Yi Ko, used a combination of tight safety play and sound shot making to upend Germany’s Joshua Filler and earn the World 10-Ball championship – his first major championship after a handful of close finishes. Helping the young Ko battle his nerves was older brother, Ping-Chung Ko, who walked and talked with his younger sibling during timeouts. When COVID-19 began spreading in March of 2020 and lockdowns occurred, the brothers from Chinese Taipei found themselves sequestered at home for nearly two years. With restrictions lifting worldwide, these two competitors, 2020 Las Vegas Open winner Jung-Lin Chang and a handful of top-flight competitors from the Far East Asian country are now back in town and ready to compete after the long layoff.

The last time Greece’s Alex Kazakis competed in the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, nothing seemed to be easy. The Greek needed not one, not two, but four consecutive victorious extra-inning shootouts to edge Kuwait’s Bader Al Awadhi and win the inaugural Wisconsin Open last month. The reigning World Pool Masters champion returns to action this week while in the midst of a stellar start to 2022, having followed up his Wisconsin win with a sixth-place finish in the Predator Premier League Pool event in England and having won February’s Cajun Coast Classic 9-ball tournament.

Earning top honors at Premier League Pool for the second consecutive year was Austria’s Albin Ouschan, who is back in Las Vegas looking to build upon a 2021 which saw him take home three major events, including a second career World Pool Championship and the International Open. Ouschan, who has a pair of 17th place finishes at the Las Vegas Open, was so dominant in big events last year that he earned the Player of the Year award from Billiards Digest magazine.

With the competition now expanded to 192 players spectators will have a non-stop roster of top pros to watch throughout the four-day event, including five-time United States Open 9-Ball champion Shane Van Boening, reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw, former United States Open 9-Ball and World 9-Ball Champion Joshua Filler and former Mosconi Cup MVP Skyler Woodward. Also making the trip are reigning World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci, four-time Mosconi Cup competitor Billy Thorpe and reigning Kremlin Cup champion Tyler Styer. Previous Pro Billiard Series champions slated for competition include reigning Ohio Open champion Mario He and rising young superstar Aloysius Yapp of Singapore, who won last year’s Michigan Open.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open takes place March 23-26. The Alfa Las Vegas Open is followed by the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which runs March 28-April 1 and The Alfa Women's Las Vegas Open, which runs March 30-April 2.

The events coincide with the CueSports International Expo, which brings thousands of amateur pool players for the BCA Pool League World Championships as well as the USA Pool League National Championships.

Find the Alfa Las Vegas Open draw on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open is streamed for free on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
Go to Billiard TV to watch 24/7 Billiard Videos on any device
Follow @probilliardseries on Facebook, @probilliardseries on Instagram or @PBilliardSeries on Twitter to follow the next events.


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About the Predator US Pro Billiard Series, presented by CSI

This year’s field of players will be playing for a larger prize fund, as Pro Billiard Series co-creators Predator Group and CueSports International announced last month that the total added money for this year’s six events has grown to nearly a half-million dollars – including $55,200 for this year’s Alfa Las Vegas Open. Each of this year’s events will have more than $52,000 added which will upgrade these tournaments all to World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) Category 3 sanctioned events, securing the exclusive dates on the WPA calendar and allowing players to earn more WPA ranking points from each event.

The winner of each 2022 event will receive a guaranteed spot in the 2023 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held February 27 through March 3 in Las Vegas. Additionally, a minimum of the top 12 players in the Predator US Pro Billiard Series rankings who are not otherwise invited by the WPA, a WPA continental federation or a promoter wild card, will also earn spots in the 2023 Predator World 10-Ball Championship.

The Predator Pro Billiard Series is a series of open, professional events held around the world to provide more opportunities for professional and aspiring pool players to compete in high-quality events, earn more income, sharpen their skills, and earn their way into the Predator World 10-Ball Championship held in Las Vegas each year as part of the CueSports International Expo.

The Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series by CSI feature six open professional events during the calendar year. Created by league operator CueSports International together with the Predator Group, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the following year Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held during the annual CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.

These events are played on Predator Apex professional tables covered with Predator Arcadia Reserve Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.


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