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Al Shaheen Guts Out Wins to Stay Alive at Predator World 10-Ball Championship
 Posted on Wednesday, March 30 2022 @ 12:07:58 UTCby admin
10 Ball 2022 PREDATOR WORLD 10-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
3700 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas
Nevada
United States of America
www.probilliardseries.com - brackets and live scoring
www.playcsipool.com/usprobilliardseries - live stream
www.caesars.com/rio-las-vegas

28 March - 1 April 2022


Omar Al Shaheen - Kuwait
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Kuwait's Al Shaheen Guts Out Wins to Stay Alive at Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Omar Al Shaheen’s Wednesday had more twists and turns than a bag of gummi worms.

Just when he looked out of it, he’d bounce back just in time to pull off a win. Just when he appeared a lock to close out a match, the Kuwaiti who finished second to Albin Ouschan at last year’s World Pool Championships stumbled, stammered and allowed his opponent back into the match.

Despite the extra drama, Al Shaheen pulled off a come-from-behind as well as a nearly-blew-it win to advance in the World 10-Ball Championships at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, defeating Roberto Gomez and Ping-Chung Ko in hill-hill battles on the one-loss side. The Kuwaiti will now play Chris Reinhold Thursday at noon.

Facing Gomez in an 11 a.m. local time match, the two competitors split the first 10 games thanks to a handful of safety exchanges paired with an occasional missed shot. After Gomez tacked on two victories to build a 7-5 advantage and move to within a game of advancing, Al Shaheen broke and ran to cut the lead to a game then used a victorious safety battle to gut out another win and tie the score. As two competitors again traded safeties in the deciding 15th rack, Gomez committed a foul and gave his opponent a wide-open table, which the Kuwaiti took full advantage of by pocketing the remaining balls and sneaking out with an 8-7 win.



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Playing against Ko later in the evening, the 2019 World 10-Ball champion turned a missed shot by his opponent into an early 3-1 lead until a missed shot of his own. Suddenly it was Al Shaheen who could do no wrong, mixing in shot making and safety play to win five straight racks and build a 6-3 advantage. Ko would use a missed 8 ball by his opponent to steal a win but Al Shaheen returned serve with a win of his own to climb onto the hill, 7-4. Much like Al Shaheen in his previous match, Ko refused to go away quietly, breaking and running to cut the deficit to 7-5, then taking advantage of a 7 ball which Al Shaheen left on the corner pocket’s shelf to cut the lead to 7-6.
After a lengthy safety exchange in the 14th game, Al Shaheen left another opening for his opponent when he committed a foul by failing to touch a rail with a ball while attempting a safety. Ko cleared the table again to tie the score at 7-7 and send the match to a deciding 15th game in which Al Shaheen had the break. The Kuwaiti pocketed a ball on the opening shot and left the cue ball and 1 ball aligned perfectly for a textbook run out, which Al Shaheen completed to escape near-collapse, 8-7.

While the pool population continues to learn about Al Shaheen and his game, spectators have been familiar with Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Darren Appleton for nearly two decades. Wednesday afternoon, Appleton defeated John Schmidt, 8-4, to advance to the final 32, part of a continued recent resurgence by the Englishman that’s seen him place in the top 10 of last month’s Wisconsin Open as well as earn a runner-up finish in last year’s World Cup of Pool.

The two competitors battled missed shots and open opportunities throughout the match as they split the first eight games evenly. Appleton claimed the ninth rack to take a 5-4 lead and his opponent left a window of opportunity in the next game when he kicked at the 2 ball, allowing the Hall of Famer to pocket the ball then use a safety on the 3 ball to close out the rack and increase his lead to two games. He added another win when Schmidt failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 11th rack then used another safety exchange after the break to close out the match.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Eric Roberts of Tennessee and Yukio Akagariyama pulled two of the biggest upsets of the tournament Wednesday afternoon. Roberts defeated former World 9-Ball Champion Niels Feijen, 8-4, and Akagariyama took down reigning Ohio Open champion Mario He, 8-5. So, it only made sense that the two of them meet up in the next round.

It turned out to be a match where both struggled to find their top games throughout the match until the end, with Roberts gutting out an 8-7 victory. The two young competitors took turns trading missed balls and chances throughout the match as neither held a lead of more than one game throughout. With Roberts clinging to an 7-6 advantage, Akagariyama broke and ran to tie the match at seven games apiece. Roberts, who had been struggling with shot making throughout the match, saved his best for last, breaking and methodically running the balls off of the table to secure an 8-7 victory.

In other matches of note, Shane Van Boening remained undefeated by defeating Roland Garcia in a hill-hill match and Skyler Woodward was eliminated from the tournament by Max Eberle, 8-7. Pijus Labutis eliminated reigning World Pool Champion Albin Ouschan, 8-2, and Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski took down Jesus Atencio, 8-4.

Competition resumes today at 10 a.m. local times with notable matches including Alex Kazakis meeting Francisco Sanchez Ruiz, Pin-Yi Ko squaring off with Sharik Sayed and Jung-Lin Chang facing Alex Pagulayan.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is 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 Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship 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 events.


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Pehlivanovic Upsets Ko on Day Two of Predator World 10-Ball Championship






Sanjin Pehlivanovic - Bosnia
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Pehlivanovic Upsets Ko on Day Two of Predator World 10-Ball Championship

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Pehlivanovic Upsets Ko on Day Two of Predator World 10-Ball Championship

When it comes to the game of 10-ball, Sanjin Pehlivanovic has been a force to be reckoned with recently – especially in Europe.

Earlier this month, the 20-year-old Bosnian won the 10-ball division of this year’s European Championships and finished second to former World 9-Ball champion Fedor Gorst in the 10-ball division of the Midwest Open in Ohio. Last year, Pehlivanovic finished in the top of the Predator Austria Open while making his presence felt on the EuroTour, finishing in the top 10 of both the Lasko and Sankt Johann in Pongau Opens.

Tuesday, during the second day of play at Predator’s World 10-Ball Championships, the young Bosnian’s showed the versatility and perseverance which has helped him earn the junior European Pool Championship eight times, as Pehlivanovic gutted out a hill-hill victory against 2019 World 10-Ball Champion Ping-Chung Ko at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Bosnian will now face Qatar’s Ali Al Obaidii today at 10 a.m. local time while Ko moves over to the one-loss side to face Ernesto Dominguez.

The two competitors played nip-and-tuck throughout the first half of the match, with neither player holding more than a one-game advantage. With the scored tied 5-5, Pehlivanovic broke and ran to climb ahead by a game, then returned to the table in the next game when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break. When the Bosnian misplayed a safety on the 4 ball, it appeared Ko was positioned to tie the match but left the object ball in the jaws of the corner pocket. Pehlivanovic used a tight cut shot on the 5 ball and a straight in draw shot on the 6 ball to clear the table, open up the first two-game lead of the match and pull to within a single rack of victory.

Except that Ko wasn’t in the mood to go quietly, using a safety exchange on the 5 ball in the next rack to pull to within a single game again at 7-6 then took advantage of a missed 5 ball by his opponent in the next rack to tie the score. When Pehlivanovic missed a combination shot on the 7 ball in the 15th and deciding game, it appeared that Ko was going to escape with a victory until he mangled cue ball position for the 6 ball, leaving a sharp cut shot into the side pocket. The young man from Chinese Taipei missed, handing the Bosnian a routine run out and an 8-7 victory.

While Pehlivanovic, who is still five months away from legally being able to drink in the United States, gave spectators a glimpse of the future, 73-year-old Jose Parica was showing that he still had plenty of game left as he battled Oscar Dominguez down to the wire before falling, 8-6.

Taking advantage of a couple of misses and adding a break-and-run, Dominguez built an early 5-2 advantage before experiencing some struggles of his own, missing a 4 ball in the eighth rack and failing to pocket a ball on the break in the following game. Parica, who was elected to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame in 2014, turned a three-rack deficit into a tie score but Dominguez regained the lead with a break-and-run in the 11th game. He appeared to be in position to add to his lead when Parica was unable to pocket a ball on the break until he scratched in the side pocket while working his way through the rack. Handed an open table, Parica was on the verge of tying the game again when he missed the game-winning 10 ball in the corner pocket and lifted his cue and staring at the ceiling in frustration. The Filipino continued to battle, using a bank on the 1 ball and a long straight-in shot on the 2 ball to run the rack and cut the lead to 7-6.

Standing at the table with the break and a chance to tie the score in the 14th game, Parica did not have a shot at the 1 ball and was forced to play a safety. After a lengthy safety exchange, the Hall of Famer left an opening which his opponent walked right through, running out the rack to secure the match.

In other notable matches, Shane Van Boening pitched an 8-0 shut-out against Jason Theron, only to have Theron move to the one-loss side of the bracket and eliminate Billy Thorpe, 8-3. BCA Hall of Famer Darren Appleton remained undefeated with an 8-4 victory over Sharik Sayed while Fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen defeated Corey Deuel, 8-4. Former International Open champion Jayson Shaw was upset in a hill-hill battle with Roman Hybler of the Czech Republic.

The third day of play begins at 10 a.m. local time with notable matches including Omar Al Shaheen of Kuwait taking on Filipino Roberto Gomez and Shaw facing Marco Teutscher on the one-loss side while Van Boening meets Roland Garcia and Lee Vann Corteza squares off with Pin-Yi Ko on the winner’s side.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is 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 Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship 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 events.


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Corteza and Woodward Post Early Wins on Predator World 10-Ball Championship Opening Day







Skyler Woodward - USA
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Corteza and Woodward Post Early Wins on Predator World 10-Ball Championship Opening Day

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Lee Vann Corteza has quietly gotten off to a rather solid start to the 2022 professional pool season – a trait that isn’t new recently for the 42-year-old.

The Filipino, who was a runner-up at the 2009 World 10-Ball Championship, has earned $31,000 in prize money this year thanks to top five finishes at the Wisconsin Open and Alfa Las Vegas Open and placed fourth in the Texas Open 10-Ball Championship. Prior to the pandemic shutdown in 2020, Corteza had already earned $26,000 in two months thanks to winning the 9-ball division and finishing second in the BigFoot division at the Derby City Classic.

Monday, on the opening day of the Predator World 10-Ball Championship, Corteza once again got off to a hot start by winning his first two matches, including an 8-4 victory against reigning World Pool champion Albin Ouschan. The Filipino overcame some early breaking struggles by capitalizing on a handful of opportunities left by his opponent to seal the victory at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Corteza will now face 2015 World 10-Ball Champion Pin-Yi Ko on Wednesday afternoon.

Using an early break-and-run along with some safety play mixed in, Corteza grabbed an early 3-1 but the Austrian took advantage of a pair of dry breaks by his opponent to tie the score at three games each. After splitting the next two games, Ouschan had the opportunity to take the lead but over-cut the 6 ball. The Filipino cleared the table to regain the lead, then tacked on another rack when his opponent fouled while attempting a jump shot. Now trailing by two games, Ouschan had an opportunity to pull within a single game but missed a 4 ball in the corner pocket.

Trailing 7-4, the Austrian had one last chance to mount a comeback in the 12th game, but instead executed a sequence which basically summed up his match. After Corteza missed the 2 ball and left it on the long rail, Ouschan cut the ball into the corner pocket, then jumped in the 3 ball only to watch the cue ball scratch into the side pocket, handing the table and the match to Corteza.

The final match of the night put a capper on a day where one competitor would jump out to an early lead only to have their opponent catch up in the second half of the match – including Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Thorsten Hohmann, who came back from a 5-2 deficit to defeat Ping-Han Ko.

Hohmann used a pair of victorious safety exchanges to whittle away at Ko’s advantage until the two players were tied after 12 racks. The young man from Chinese Taipei had a chance to increase his lead but left the cue ball straight in line with the 6 ball along the rail with the 7 ball on the opposite side of the table. He was unable to move the cue ball to the other side of the table after pocketing the 6, then missed a sharp cut on the next shot. Hohmann cleared the table to regain the lead, then took advantage of a victorious safety exchange to snatch the set, 8-6.

Spain’s Francisco Sanchez Ruiz would experience a similar fate in the next match, building an early 5-2 advantage against Jeremy Seaman until a couple of unforced errors allowed the American to tie the match 5-5. Working his way through the rack in the 11th game, Seaman appeared positioned to take the lead but instead drew the cue ball into the side pocket while trying to secure position on the 5 ball. Sanchez Ruiz took full advantage, clearing the table then using a missed shot by Seaman and a victorious safety on the 4 ball in the 13th game to pull out an 8-5 victory.

Earlier in the day, Skyler Woodward built a 5-1 lead against Niels Feijen only to watch the former World 9-Ball Champion also claw back and tie the back 5-5. Feijen struggled to get the rolls down the stretch, failing to pocket a ball on the break in the 11th game and scratching during the 13th rack, as Woodward held off the late charge to win, 8-6.

The opening day wasn’t particularly charitable to competitors who gained automatic entry to the championship by winning U.S. Pro Billiard Series events, with Michigan Open champion Aloysius Yapp falling to Donny Mills in the opening round, 8-3, and Ohio Open winner Mario He falling to Jeremy Sossei by the same score. Both now move to the one-loss side of the bracket, with Yapp meeting Evan Lunda Tuesday evening and He taking on Melish Dagas Tuesday afternoon.

The second day of play resumes at 10 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Mika Immonen meeting Corey Deuel, Alex Kazakis facing off against Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Alex Pagulayan and Derby City Classic 9-ball champion Francisco Sanchez Ruiz matching up with 2020 Diamond Las Vegas Open champion Jung-Lin Chang.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is 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 Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship 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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Predator World 10-Ball Championship - Preview







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Predator World 10-Ball Championship - Preview

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


In a way, Eklent Kaci’s biggest victory of 2021 was the fact that he made it to Las Vegas at all.

The big Albanian had spent more time in his home country than he had hoped, missing a spring Matchroom event in England when his teammate couldn’t get a visa in time then missing a handful of additional events while waiting nearly three months for his “expedited” visa. Once he finally secured the proper credentials, Kaci was denied the opportunity to board his flight to the United States on August 29due to a reservation mix-up and was forced to skip the Diamond Las Vegas Open.

Finally, three days later, Kaci was cleared to travel and made the most of his opportunity, working his way through a field of 64 of the world’s best pocket billiards competitors and took home the World 10-Ball Championship, defeating Naoyuki Oi 10-6 for the title at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino.

“This hasn’t been the best year,” he said after the finals were completed. “But this makes it worth the trouble.”

Although 2021 won’t be one that Kaci looks back on with much fondness, it was a revolutionary year for professional pool overall with the creation of numerous new tournaments throughout the world – including the U.S. Pro Billiard Series.

When billiard equipment manufacturer Predator Group and worldwide pool league operator CueSports International announced plans to launch the Series last summer, the strategy could have been interpreted as both aggressive and unconventional. The Pro Billiard Series launched with four new competitions spread out over three months while also producing the World 10-Ball Championships. Adding intrigue was the fact that the Series would be eschewing longer race formats which have long been a staple at major events and opting instead to implement a two-set, race-to-four that concluded with a sudden-death shootout if two competitors finished tied. As an added bonus, the champion of each Pro Billiard Series event in 2021 earned automatic entry into this week’s 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championships, held again at the Rio beginning today.

“We need to make the sport more exciting,” said Predator Owner Karim Belhaj over the summer. “We’re trying to find outside sponsors while keeping people’s attention.”

It was only fitting that some of the most exciting young players today in professional pool brought home championships in this first season of the Series, as rising stars like Taiwan’s Kun-Lin Wu, Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp and Austria’s Mario He earned breakthrough titles. Even more impressive than the roster of champions was the quality of play, as competitors used a variety of methods to earn their championships – clutch shot making, pinpoint position play and stifling safeties.

“I believe we will one day look back on the inaugural season of the US Pro Billiard Series as a historic turning point for professional pool,” said Ozzy Reynolds, owner of CueSports International, the co-creator of the Series. “Several companies joined forces, bringing their own unique assets to the table, to build a better sport.”

The year was also a historic turning point for Wu, who had flirted with victory at big events in recent years only to come up short – finishing in third at the 2016 China Open and turning in a handful of top-10 performances at the Japan Open.

Competing at September’s Diamond Las Vegas Open, the 25-year-old notched his first win of his career, defeating Kuwait’s Omar Al Shaheen in straight sets, 4-3, 4-1. The young man from Taiwan, who posted an undefeated record during the four-day, 128-player event, eliminated Kremlin Cup champion Tyler Styer and Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz to reach the semi-finals. Facing Estonia’s Dennis Grabe with a chance to go to the finals, he watched as his opponent pocketed back-to-back pocketed 10 balls on the break to sail to an opening set 4-0 win. Wu bounced back, closing out the second set with back-to-back victories after Grabe missed a jump shot in the fifth game and then the deciding shootout to advance to the finals where he took down Al Shaheen.

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

That drought ended for Wu thanks to a break-and-run paired with two victorious safety exchanges, as he built a 3-0 advantage in the first set. The Kuwaiti battled back to tie the score but missed a combination shot in the seventh game, allowing his opponent to clear the table and take the set. In the next frame, the young man from Taiwan capitalized on a handful of missed shots by Al Shaheen, who earlier this year placed second at the World Pool Championships, to coast a 4-1 victory and earn his first victory.

Last September, Yapp grabbed the attention of the pool world when the 25-year-old reached the finals of September’s U.S. Open Pool Championships and built an 8-3 lead in the title match before ultimately falling to Carlo Biado. The young man from Singapore continued his ascension at the CSI Michigan Open, bouncing back from an early round loss to Roberto Gomez Jr. to defeat the Filipino in the championship match in straight sets, 4-0, 4-2.

Yapp, who struggled with his break throughout the day, gutted out victories against World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis of Greece and Konrad Juszczyszyn of Poland, then survived a second half scare in the semifinals against Hungary’s Oliver Szolnoki. After Yapp won the first set, the match appeared headed to a sudden death shootout as the Hungarian controlled the table with an open table layout. That was before Szolnoki missed the 3 ball, allowing Yapp to run out and advance to the finals, where he capitalized on a handful of Gomez errors to breeze to his first championship on United States soil.

At the Pro Billiard Series season finale, October’s FargoRate Ohio Open in Dayton, Mario He continued to survive but struggled to get a feel for the table being used to televise matches, with the radiant lights causing a different playing condition than he was accustomed to on the outside tables. In the finals against Gomez, the Austrian would barely need to shoot at times, pocketing back-to-back 10 balls on the break to build a quick 3-0 lead in the first set. The Austrian would during a Gomez comeback and win the frame 4-3, then take advantage of a handful of missed shots by the Filipino to pitch a 4-0 shutout and secure the championship.

All three Pro Billiard Series champions will be in competition this week along with reigning Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player Jayson Shaw, five-time U.S. Open 9-Ball Champion Shane Van Boening, 2019 World 10-Ball champion Ping-Chung Ko and his older brother, 2015 World 10-Ball champion Pin-Yi Ko. Also competing will be World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis, reigning World Pool and International Open champion Albin Ouschan and U.S. Open pool champion Biado.

Competition is scheduled to begin this afternoon and will be broadcast live on Billiard TV and World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship runs March 28-April 1 and still to come is 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 Predator World 10-Ball Championship brackets with live scores on the Predator Pro Billiard Series website.

The Predator World 10-Ball Championship 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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