October 13, 2021
Kaci and Fisher Go for the Kill in Klagenfurt
It is the final day of Austria open in Klagenfurt, the first European event in the Probilliardseries. 4 women and 8 men left in the two respective tournaments, all 12 players with a chance to grab that 15K first prize and the honor of becoming the winner of the inaugural event on European soil.
Before a single ball has been struck on this final day, we know that pool is the winner. A triple-A production and a format designed to bring viewers all around the world to the edge of their seats. In the short sets to 4, 3-0 or 3-1 deficits are relatively easy to overcome. Every set is close and if the two sets are drawn, a shootout will be played.
And did we see a shootout?!?! In the first match of the day between the tournament favorite Kelly Fisher and Veronika Ivanovskaia, the two players were absolutely perfect for 5 minutes. It came down to a shootout and it was the most intense 5 minutes that we have had in the arena. Each responded to the pressure and made their shootout shot. After 4 shots the cueball was moved back a diamond and it came down to sudden death. Ivanovskaia made 6 in a row….Fisher made 7!
Fisher’s opponent in the final was to be decided in the match between Tkach and the revelation from Serbia, Borana Sarac. It turned out that there would be no rematch of the Michigan final, where Tkach and Fisher met. Sarac beat her much-heralded Moscovite opponent in two straight sets and would have an incredible opportunity to cement her place in history and shift her career into overdrive.
After the valiant display in the semi’s, many would have thought young Sarac could go all the way. Such was not the case. As they say “the lesson comes after the exam”. The confidence and decisiveness that have been characteristic for Sarac throughout the tournament deserted her in the final. And then, what other to expect then for Kelly Fisher’s experience and pure grit to overpower Sarac. Fisher’s performance in the final was an example of the saying that a chain’s strength is determined by its weakest link. Her form did not allow her to run away with the match. But by being acceptant of that and playing purely ball-for-ball, the two-time world champion crawled her way to the finish line. What a champion Kelly Fisher is, winning the first Probilliards stop in Europe, right after snapping off the previous stop in Michigan, USA.
In the men’s division, the days’ play commenced with the quarterfinals. When the smoke cleared after the noon session, we read Van Lierop – Styer and Kaci – Sniegocki in the semi-finals. The surprise semi-finalist Jan van Lierop had his breakthrough tournament. What a headstrong showing from the Dutchman, overcoming so many hurdles on the way to the semi-final. And so he did in the match with the American as well. In the first match on the TV table, he had difficulty adjusting to the conditions, and the first set went astray. But he buckled down, got that cueball under control, and managed to force a shootout decider. It turned out to be another cracker. The pressure was so thick, you could cut it and serve it as an afternoon snack. Man o man did Jan come close to a major final. But alas, former Kremlin Cup winner Tyler Styer had one more pot in him than Jan. Styer would be Kaci’s opponent in the final. Because Kaci…Kaci…Kaci…won again in two straight sets. Exit Sniegocki, the ‘Snowball’ Sniegol got halted by the Albanian World 10-ball Champion.
Eklent Kaci, the World 10-ball champion, and Tyler Styer, a former winner of the Kremlin Cup and Mosconi Cup revelation in 2018 were to play the final. An early miss on the 2-ball in rack 1 by Styer kicked off Kaci’s last push to tournament victory. He ran away with the first set with a score of 4 – 1. He played with a combination of ease and precision that we only get to see with absolute elite players who are on a run of form for an extended period of time. His cueball control is second to none, he breaks as hard as he is big and he has the temperament and patience of a sniper. Two major wins in the Probilliardseries by Eklent Kaci in a brief period of time and if the 22-year old keeps prioritizing his pool game, he is expected to extend this streak well into 2022.
The action continues in Klagenfurt on Sunday the 10th of October with the final stages of the 2021 Predator WPA World 9-Ball Junior Championships. As always you can watch the feature table LIVE on BILLIARD TV – https://streamstak.com/billiardtv/, or watch all tables LIVE on KOZOOM – https://www.kozoom.com/en/pool-billiard/
The Predator Austria Open and Austria Women’s Open are sanctioned by the World Pool-Billiard Association and guaranteed prize funds of 52,000€ and 38,400€ respectively. The events take place alongside the Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships at the Sportpark Klagenfurt in Klagenfurt, Austria from October 6th to 10th, 2021.
The Predator Pro Billiard Series, is a series of open/pro 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 $125,000 added Predator World 10-Ball Championship held in Las Vegas each year as part of the CueSports International Expo.
These events will be played on Predator Pro tables covered with Predator Arcadia Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.
Our official partners are:
Stadtwerke Klagenfurt AG
Klagenfurt am Wörthersee
Billiard Sport Academy Jasmin Ouschan
BCA Pool League
USA Pool League
Credit: Angela Galane – Predator Group