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Wiktor Victorious Again at Alfa Las Vegas Open
 Posted on Monday, February 27 2023 @ 10:20:42 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
www.caesars.com/rio-las-vegas

22 - 25 February 2023


Wiktor Zielinski - Poland
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Wiktor Victorious Again at Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Heading into this year’s Alfa Las Vegas Open, Wiktor Zielinski said the fact that he won last year’s event wasn’t even registering in his mind.

“To be honest, I didn’t even think about it,” said the 22-year-old from Poland. “I just wanted to play my best and see what happened.”

What happened was he took opportunities when they arrived and battled through tough layouts and breaking woes when they didn’t, as Zielinski won his second consecutive Alfa Las Vegas Open, defeating Sanjin Pehlivanovic in straight sets in the finals Sunday at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Zielinski, who picked up $25,000 for the victory, needed to survive a shootout against Duong Quoc Hoang in the semifinals to reach the finals and repeat as champion.

“I wanted so bad to win this one,” said the Pole. “Hopefully, I showed my best game.”

He certainly showed perseverance, battling back from a lack of open shots in crucial situations.

After splitting the first two games of the opening set of the semifinals, Hoang reclaimed the lead with a break-and-run but allowed Zielinski to tie the match when he missed the 1 ball. The 36-year-old from Vietnam reclaimed the lead with a one rail kick in on the one ball and had a chance to increase his lead but misplayed position on the 4 ball then left an opening on a safety attempt. The Pole tied the match, then took his first lead of the set after his opponent fouled but Hoang evened the score again when his opponent missed a jump shot on the 3 ball in the following rack. The Pole recovered and sealed the first set victory when he won a safety exchange in the deciding game, 4-3.



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After Hoang jumped out to a 2-0 advantage and sailed to a 4-1 second set win, the two players split the first four games of the deciding set before Zielinski finally got a ball to fall on the break – two, to be exact – then ran out and take the lead. His opponent used a push after his break followed by a safety to tie the match 3-3 and force a shootout.

Even in the extra frame, Zielinski struggled to catch a break.

After pocketing the first two spot shots while his opponent missed the first two, he had a chance to close out the match. Zielinski made the match-winning shot then watched as the cue ball scratched in the opposite corner pocket. He recovered in the next inning, rolling in the game-winner to set up a matchup with Pehlivanovic.

Both players solved their breaking issues early in the championship match, with Zielinski building a 2-0 advantage with back-to-back breaks and runs before failing to pocket a ball on the break in the third game. The 21-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina cleared the table to climb onto the scoreboard then added a break-and-run of his own to tie the score. He had a chance to take the lead but missed a makeable combination shot on the 1 and 8 balls. Zielinski cleared the table but his opponent tied the match in the next game when the Pole scratched while attempting a safety. Now at the table with the break and a chance to win the set, Pehlivanovic failed to pocket a ball on the break and his opponent used a safety on the 1 ball to find and opening and run out to secure a 4-3 victory.

After splitting the first two racks of the second set, the match was all Zielinski, who went from not being able to buy a break to catching multiple good rolls down the stretch – including a missed 7 ball in the third game and a misplayed safety in the fourth game by Pehlivanovic to help build a 3-1 advantage. Zielinski got one more piece of good fortune in the fifth game when his opponent missed a bank shot of the 2 ball into the side pocket which left a wide open table. After pocketing the 9 ball and leaving a mostly straight in 10 ball for the game winner, the Pole raised a fist and looked to the sky in triumph.

“I knew that it was going to be tough,” said Zielinski. “Sanjin is a world class player. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. I played almost perfect in the first set and the second one I was a bit more lax.”

Monday will see the conclusion of the women’s Alfa Las Vegas Open with two semifinal matches beginning at noon followed by the championship at 4 p.m. local time. Sunday night saw defending champion Kelly Fisher reach the quarterfinals with a shootout victory over reigning Puerto Rico Open champion Wei Tzu-Chien only to fall in three sets Silviana Lu of Indonesia. Lu will face Seo Seoa, who defeated reigning World Women’s 9-Ball champion Chieh-Yu Chou in straight sets, 4-3, 4-3. The second semifinal will involve Bulgaria’s Kristina Zlateva matching up against Meng-Hsia Hung of Australia, who staged an epic shootout with Turkey’s Eylul Kibaroglu in the quarterfinals, needing seven innings in the extra frame to win, 7-6.









Defending Champion Zielinski Still Alive at Alfa Las Vegas Open



Wiktor Zielinski - Poland
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Defending Champion Zielinski Still Alive at Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


One year ago, Wiktor Zielinski became the first player from Poland to break through at a large-scale event, defeating Aloysius Yapp to win the Alfa Las Vegas Open.

Heading into the final day of this year’s Open, Zielinski’s hopes to repeat as champion remain firmly in tact, as the Pole defeated 2020 champion Jung-Lin Chang in straight sets Saturday night at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The Pole will now face Vietnam’s Duong Quoc Hoang, who came from behind to beat Shane Van Boening.

After Zielinski won the first set, 4-2, the two competitors split the first two games of the second frame until the Pole clawed ahead with a victorious safety exchange. He failed to pocket a ball on the break in the following game but forced Chang into fouling, allowing him to tack on another win and climb onto the hill. Chang, who reached the quarterfinals by defeating Albin Ouschan and Joshua Filler, cut the deficit to 3-2 when he forced Zielinski into a foul with a safety but lost the next game and the match when his opponent used the same strategy, finding an opening to run out after multiple safeties on the 2 ball.

On an adjacent table, Hoang was taking advantage of a handful of unforced errors by Van Boening to grind his way into the semifinals.

The American won the first two racks of the opening set then took advantage of a missed cut shot on the 2 ball by his opponent to build an early 3-0 advantage. Van Boening, who reached the quarterfinals with victories over Eklent Kaci and Konrad Juszczyszyn, closed out the set in the next game when he forced Hoang into a foul with a safety.

He drew first blood in the second set when his opponent missed the 1 ball but again failed to make a ball on the break, allowing Hoang to drill home a combination shot on the 10 ball. Hoang climbed ahead after Van Boening missed a soft 7 ball in the side pocket, then increased his lead when he pocketed another combination after forcing the American into committing another foul. Van Boening had a chance to pull to within a game of the lead but missed the 6 ball, allowing his opponent to sail to a 4-1 second set win.

In the deciding set, Van Boening took advantage of a Hoang miss in the opening game to take an early lead but both players continued to be plagued by breaking struggles, failing to land a ball on the opening shot. Hoang tied the score after trading safeties, gave away a chance at the lead when he scratched but recovered in the next game when Van Boening scratched on the break. With the score now knotted at two, Hoang closed out the set by taking advantage of a missed 3 ball by Van Boening in the fifth game then breaking and running.

Zielinski will have familiar company in the semifinals, with fellow countryman Daniel Maciol defeating Bader Alawadhi 4-3, 4-1 in the quarterfinals, meaning half of the event’s remaining four competitors are from Poland. Maciol will face Sanjin Pehlivanovic, who defeated Vitaliy Patsura in straight sets as well.

Semifinals are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. local time and the finals are slated to start at 4 p.m.









Filler Fights Through on Third Day of Alfa Las Vegas Open



Joshua Filler - Germany
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Filler Fights Through on Third Day of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Friday night’s match between Germany’s Joshua Filler and Filipino Jeffrey De Luna had a little bit of everything.

You had De Luna winning a game by forcing his opponent to commit three fouls in a single rack and you had Filler stealing a game back when the Filipino managed to jump over his object ball not once, but twice.

In the end, the undefeated Filler was able to capitalize on De Luna’s breaking struggles and pull out a three-set victory, advancing to the round-of-32 on the third day of play at the Alfa Las Vegas Open at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The German will now face reigning World 10-Ball champion Wojciech Szewczyk Saturday morning for a chance to reach the final 16 of the 192-player event. After Filler staked out an early 2-1 lead in the opening set, De Luna had a chance to tie the match but left the 5 ball in the corner pocket’s jaws. Now Trailing by two racks, the Filipino used a jump shot and two banks to pull to within a game and had a chance to tie but came up short trying to secure position on the 2 ball, then missed a kick shot that allowed Filler to take the opening frame, 4-2.

De Luna opened the second set by forcing that three-foul on Filler, snagged the third rack when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break then used a safety exchange to climb onto the hill. He finished off the set and tied the match when Filler missed a sharp cut on the 3 ball and left a wide-open table.

The former China Open champion used safeties to win the first three racks — including the one that forced that double missed jump shot by De Luna. The Filipino wasn’t finished, using a safety of his own and a positional error by his opponent to tack on two straight victories. He had a chance to tie the match and send it to a shootout but failed to pocket a ball on the break, handing Filler a spaced out table and the win.

On a nearby table, former World Pool champion Shane Van Boening was authoring an escape of his own, climbing back from a deficit in the third set to defeat fellow American Jeremy Seaman.

Van Boening was in total control of the first set as he blanked his opponent, 4-0, but lost momentum in the next frame, with Seaman jumping out to a commanding 3-0 advantage. The South Dakotan clawed his way back into the match, winning three straight racks to tie the set but scratched on the break in the deciding game, handing Seaman a 4-3 victory.

After splitting the first four games of the deciding match, Seaman took a 3-2 lead when his opponent missed a jump shot and left an open table. With a change to close out the match and clinch the upset, he misplayed his safety attempt into a scratch, slapping the table in disgust as he walked back to his seat. The three-time U.S. Open 10-Ball champion cleared the table to force a shootout, then pocketed four straight stop shots in the extra frame while Seaman missed his opening attempt to hand his opponent the victory.

As the men worked through the single-elimination portion of their event, the women’s division of the Alfa Las Vegas Open began play Friday afternoon in dramatic fashion, as Allison Fisher overcame some early struggles to defeat Vang Bui Xuan of Vietnam.

Fisher was plagued by errors throughout the first set, as Xuan sailed to a 4-1 win, then continued to struggle with the speed of the table, allowing her opponent to capitalize and build a 3-1 second set lead. The Women’s Professional Billiards Tour Hall of Famer took advantage of a couple of unforced errors by her opponent in the middle stages of the set to tie the match, then used a safety exchange and a one rail kick in of the 7 ball to win the frame, 4-3, and force a shootout.

Each player was perfect in the extra frame through the first three innings but missed in their fourth attempt, sending the set to sudden death and moving the cue ball back a diamond on the table. After Fisher and Xuan rattled home their first three shots, the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer secured the win when she landed one more while her opponent missed.

Saturday will be pivotal in the men’s division, as 32 players compete for four spots in Sunday’s semifinals. Competition is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. local time, with notable matches including Albin Ouschan taking on Jung-Lin Chang, Fedor Gorst facing Ko Pin-Yi and Wiktor Zielinski matching up against fellow countryman Mieszko Fortunski.









Van Boening Suffers Early Defeat on Second Day of Alfa Las Vegas Open



Joshua Filler - Germany
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Van Boening Suffers Early Defeat on Second Day of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


With his big break and smooth stroke, American Shane Van Boening is one of the most decorated players in the United States when it comes to 10-ball, having won the U.S. Open 10-Ball Championship three consecutive times as well as other titles in the discipline, such as the Derby City Classic Big Foot 10-Ball event and the Super Billiards Expo Players Championship.

Despite his experience and accolades, the South Dakotan struggled to find his footing during his second-round match on the winner’s side of last night’s the Alfa Las Vegas Open Thursday night, as Chinese Taipei’s Jung-Lin Chang won in straight sets at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. The American now moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will attempt a comeback against Jun Kwon Ho at 9 a.m. local time.

After the competitors split the first two games, Van Boening crawled out to a 2-1 lead and had the opportunity to increase his advantage in the fourth game but missed a makeable 9 ball in the corner pocket. Chang tied the match, took advantage of another missed shot by his opponent to climb onto the hill then used a victorious safety exchange to close out the set, 4-2.

Chang maintained control in the second frame, winning the first three games until he lost control of the table in a safety exchange after the break. Van Boening tacked on back-to-back racks to cut the deficit to 3-2 but failed to pocket a ball on the break in the sixth game, allowing Chang to tie the match and then close out the set with a break-and-run.

The evening concluded with a one-loss side match between Americans Tyler Styer and Shane Wolford, a match that could easily be considered pool’s current guard in the United States versus the country’s future. Styer has a Kremlin Cup championship and four trips to the Mosconi Cup on his resume while Wolford is considered one of the rising young stars in the game, having won a handful of regional events and placing 17th at last year’s Alfa Open.

After splitting the first two games, Styer took an early lead when his opponent misplayed a ball but quickly gave back the advantage when he misplayed the game-winning 10 ball. Despite the unforced error, Styer used a pair of safeties to close out the opening set, 4-2.Wolford drew first blood in the second frame, building an early 2-0 advantage but forfeited the table when he committed a foul in the third rack. Styer took advantage, clearing the table to get on the scoreboard then using a carom shot on the 10 ball to tie the score.

Wolford used a combination shot of his own to regain the lead in the fifth game and appeared to be in position to snag the second set but missed a bank shot on the 7 ball. Styer methodically cleared the table to tie the match then executed a picture-perfect break in the set-deciding game, easily clearing the table to close out the match in straight sets and eliminate his opponent, 4-2, 4-3.

In other matches of note, Greece’s Alex Kazakis defeated Duong Quoc Hoang in a shootout to remain undefeated while American Skyler Woodward suffered his second consecutive defeat, losing to Lian Han Toh in straight sets. Russia’s Fedor Gorst remained perfect with a straight sets win over American Chris Reinhold while Filipino Roland Garcia needed a shootout to defeat fellow countryman Lee Vann Corteza.

Friday’s is expected to be intense, with the remaining players on the one-loss side jockeying for the 32-spots available in the event’s final 64, which will begin Friday night and switch from a two-set format to three. Additionally, the women’s Alfa Las Vegas Open will commence with 32 matches throughout the day.

Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International. A schedule of televised matches will be posted daily on the Pro Billiard Series and CSI Facebook and Instagram pages.









Ouschan Perfect while Woodward Stumbles Late on Day 1 of Alfa Las Vegas Open



Joshua Filler - Germany
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Ouschan Perfect while Woodward Stumbles Late on Day 1 of Alfa Las Vegas Open

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


Skyler Woodward managed to escape his first match of the day with a victory but wasn’t so fortunate in the next round.

Jeffrey De Luna stood at the table on the hill in the second set of his opening day match against Woodward, leading 3-0 losing the first set and a game away from forcing a sudden death shootout.

De Luna broke and failed to pocket a ball, handing Woodward all of the opportunity that he needed as the American rattled off four straight games to snatch the clinching set and secure the win on the opening day of the 192-player Alfa Las Vegas Open at the Rio All-Suites Casino Wednesday.

After Woodward won the first set, 4-2, De Luna came out on fire in the second before he forfeited the table in the fourth game then leaving a combination shot on the 10 ball after a safety. The American pocketed the shot to climb onto the scoreboard and broke and ran to pull within a game but forfeited the table when he broke dry in the sixth rack.

De Luna began to struggle as he misplayed a safe on the 3 ball and left his opponent a wide-open shot. The Filipino was bailed out when his opponent missed but he ultimately misplayed position on the 8 ball and was forced to play a safety. Woodward jumped in the object ball and tied the match then used a safety exchange on the 2 ball in the next rack to secure the second set and the victory, 4-3.

Facing Jonas Souto in the next round, the Spaniard used a dry break and a missed shot by Woodward to build a 2-0 advantage but missed a chance to increase his lead when he failed to pocket a combination shot on the 10 ball. After Woodward cleared the table to cut the lead to 2-1, he took advantage of missed shots by his opponent in back-to-back racks then added a break-and-run to finish off the comeback, 4-2. Having lost the lag, Souto had breaking privileges in the second set and capitalized, using a break-and-run, a safety exchange and a missed shot by his opponent to shut out the American and force a sudden death shootout.

Woodward missed his opening shot of the extra frame while Souto was perfect, pocketing four straight to win the set.

The American moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will face Lian Han Toh Thursday morning at 9 a.m. local time.

Meanwhile, Albin Ouschan was feeling it in his opening match against Billy Thorpe, blanking the American in straight sets in his opening round match.

Using a one-rail kick in, a bank shot that sent the cue ball three rails for position on the next shot and tricky carom shot on the 1 ball, the Austrian built a commanding 3-0 lead but scratched on a kick shot at the in the fourth rack. Thorpe had a chance to capitalize but missed the 2 ball in the side, allowing the Ouschan to clear the table and pitch a 4-0 opening set shut out.

Ouschan took the first rack of the second set when Thorpe failed to make a ball on the break, then snagged another rack when his opponent missed the 9 ball in the second game. After winning a safety battle in the next rack he closed the match out with a break and run.

Ouschan will face Germany’s Ralf Souquet in the next round Thursday afternoon.

In other matches, Austria’s Mario He took advantage of a handful of unforced errors by opponent Omar Al Shaheen to win in straight set, 4-2, 4-0, Japan’s Yoshihiro Kitatani defeated Estonia’s Denis Grabe in a shootout and

Play resumes today with notable matches including Shane Van Boening versus Jun-Ling Chang and David Alcaide taking on Thorsten Hohmann on the winner’s side. Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International. A schedule of televised matches will be posted daily on the Pro Billiard Series and CSI Facebook and Instagram pages.









Polish Power and Fisher Back to Defend Crowns at Alfa Opens and World 10-Ball



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Polish Power and Fisher Back to Defend Crowns at Alfa Opens and World 10-Ball

Reporter: Predator Group
Photography: Predator Group


For the past five years or so, competitors from Poland had been going deep in large professional pocket billiards tournaments and challenging the world’s best.

Polish competitors like Mieszko Fortunski, Wiktor Zielinski and Konrad Juszczyszyn would routinely reach the final 16 or quarterfinals of a major tournament or world championship – like in 2021, when eight Poles qualified for the 64-player, single-elimination phase of a world championship.

“Everyone is chasing after each other here and working on their game and it makes it very difficult for anyone to stand out,” said Wojciech Szewczyk. “We have a lot of passion for the game and we take it very seriously.”

Despite this passion, no one from the European nation had managed to earn a major victory –until last year, when Zielinski took home first place at Predator’s Pro Billiard Series Alfa Las Vegas Open and Szewczyk came from behind to win the Predator World 10-Ball Championship six days later. Both players along with women’s Alfa Las Vegas Open champion Kelly Fisher will be back to defend their titles beginning this week, with the Cue Sports International Expo kicking off this week. The 11-day event, which also includes the 3-Cushion World Cup, will begin Wednesday with the men’s Alfa Las Vegas Open and the women’s Open starting on Friday.

As Predator and CSI work to produce the toughest and fairest tests in professional pool, this year’s Pro Billiard Series events will see a format change. The single-elimination final stage of the Open tournaments will expand to three sets of a race-to-four from the two sets that it was previously. If the third set finishes in a 3-3 tie, a sudden-death shootout will occur. Competition in the double-elimination opening stage will remain a two-set race-to-four with ties decided by a shootout.

The format for the 128-player World 10-Ball Championship will remain unchanged, with players competing in race-to-eight double-elimination during the first half of the event before expanding to a race-to-10 during the single-elimination portion of the competition.

Zielinski survived a rollercoaster of a final day in last year’s Alfa Open, defeating Dimitri Jungo and Mika Immonen in shootouts to reach the finals where he took down Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp in straight sets. Six days later, Szewczyk trailed Edgie Geronimo 9-6 in the quarterfinals of the World 10-Ball Championships before taking advantage of a pair of open opportunities to come from behind and defeat his opponent. He then took down Albania’s Eklent Kaci and Christopher Tevez of Peru to earn Poland’s first world title. The weekend concluded with Fisher continuing a hot streak that would result in her earning a gold medal at the World Games later that summer and Player of the Year honors with Billiards Digest as AZBilliards, as the Hall of Famer posted an undefeated record and defeated Canada’s Britany Bryant in the finals of the women’s Alfa Las Vegas Open.

Professional events will be played on 18 nine-foot Predator Apex tables while over 6,000 competitors from the CSI Leagues will be competing on 276 of the seven-foot Apex table.

The prize fund for this year’s World 10-Ball Championship is also expanding to a total of $250,000 – up from $225,000 the previous year – with the winner’s share remaining $60,000. The two-week-long event kicks off third year of the Pro Billiard Series, which will include 21 total events this year that will pay out over $2 million in prize money.

Matches can be watched on Billiard.TV and on World Billiard TV, the official YouTube channel of CueSports International. A schedule of televised matches will be posted daily on the Pro Billiard Series and CSI Facebook and Instagram pages.

The Alfa Las Vegas Open starts at 9am local time tomorrow. Watch Live on World Billiard TV YouTube channel, Billiard TV and at tv.kozoom.com

Brackets and scores can be found at https://probilliardseries.com/2023-men/2023-alfa-las-vegas-open/

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











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