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Filler Closes 2018 WPS Season as the Predator Grand Final Champion
 Posted on Sunday, January 20 2019 @ 14:24:24 UTCby admin
10 Ball World Pool Series - The Predator Grand Final
Steinway Billiards
3525 Steinway St
Astoria
Queens
New York City
NY 11101
USA
+1 718-472-2124
www.worldpoolseries.com - facebook - instagram - twittter - live stream
www.steinwaybilliards.com

17-20 January 2019


All photography courtesy of ©Erwin Dionisio - World Pool Series 2018.
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Joshua Filler Closes the 2018 WPS Season as the Predator Grand Final Champion

Article - Shirley Ang/WPS
Photography - ©E. Dionisio/WPS


Shortly after Jayson Shaw was selected over Joshua Filler for the European Mosconi Cup team with the final wildcard pick, the fiery young German realized a couple of things.

First, he had much work to do to become the professional pool player that he believed he could be. Additionally, what better time to start than now? Under the instruction of coach Michael Wahl, Filler started working on his game between four-to-eight hours a day in the weeks after the selections were made.

The new commitment continued to pay dividends this weekend, as Filler fought his way through an elite field of 50 players to win the Predator Grand Final, defeating countryman and mentor Ralf Souquet 17-11 in the finals Sunday night at Astoria’s Steinway Billiards. The victory was a continuation of a masterful and lucrative 30-day stretch for the 20-year-old, who bested Carlo Biado of the Philippines at the WPA World 9-Ball Championships late last month in Qatar.

“I played pretty well. It was a tough field,” Filler said. “I feel like in the second half I had a little more confidence.”



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It was Souquet who had the confidence early on in the match, as the Billiards Congress of America Hall of Famer used two dry breaks from Filler and a break-and-run of his own to take an early 3-0 lead. The scrappy Filler slowly whittled the lead away, using a Souquet foul and a break-and-run to cut the lead to 3-2. Filler tied the match at four games each when he recorded another break-and-run and took advantage of his opponent’s miss of the 6 ball in the eighth game.


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Souquet never again regained the lead, as the young German used a Souquet foul, a victorious safety battle, another break-and-run and a dry break from his opponent to win four straight and surge ahead, 8-4. His former Mosconi Cup teammate trimmed the lead to 8-7 with the help of a missed shot in the 13th game and dry break in the 15th game by his opponent. However, Filler used a jumping bank shot on the 1 ball in the 16th game and a break and run in the 17th game to extend his lead to 10-7 at the intermission.


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The young German continued his dominance in the second half of the match, winning three of the first four games to push the lead to 13-8. Souquet closed the deficit to four games when Filler missed a makeable 8 ball in the 22nd game but his opponent broke-and-ran yet again then utilized some strong safety play to pick off the next two games.

“I obviously made too many mistakes. I was not tired but for some reason, I had a hard time focusing in the second half of the match,” Souquet said. “I didn’t run out of gas, I just had a hard time focusing.”

Souquet continued to grind despite his mental struggles, picking off a couple of games to cut the lead to 16-11. However, any hope of a comeback ended when he committed a foul during one last safety exchange during the 28th game, giving Filler ball-in-hand and the match. After pocketing the game-winning 10 ball Filler gave his customary fist pump and yell while the assembled crowd applauded.

Of Filler’s 17 wins in the championship match, six were of the break-and-run variety.

“I made too many mistakes and I missed way too many kick shots,” Souquet said after the match. “Overall, Josh played better and he deserved to beat me.”

This concludes the end of the 2018 WPS Season. The WPS team would like to thank all our sponsors, staff, players, and fans at home and at the venues for all their support!

This last event of the 2018 World Pool Series, The Predator Grand Final, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 17-20, 2019. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Predator, Poison, Aramith, Rasson, Iwan Simonis, Tiger, and Kamui. Our suppliers and partners are Billiards Digest, CueScore, Let’s Go Print, Outsville, UpState Al, and the WPA.





--- DAY 3 ---



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Late Shootout on Day 3 Determines Final Player for WPS Predator Grand Final Semifinals

Article - Shirley Ang/WPS
Photography - ©E. Dionisio/WPS


For the second time in three days, Mieszko Fortunski watched as the lead slipped from his grasp at the Predator Grand Final.

The young Pole jumped out to an early lead against Chris Melling but let the Englishman back into the game with a handful of unforced errors, as Melling gutted out a victory against Fortunski in a sudden death shootout in the quarterfinals Saturday night at Astoria’s Steinway Billiards. Fortunski, who reached the quarterfinals with a sudden death victory against Dennis Orcullo, was dealt a similar fate Thursday night against Jayson Shaw when he stood at the table leading 9-8 in a race-to-11 and proceeded to scratch, allowing Shaw to tie the match and win, 11-9.


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Using a powerful break, Fortunski gained an early 5-2 advantage then used some superb shot-making as well as a victorious safety exchange in the 14th game to extend the lead to 9-5. Melling cut the lead to 9-7 after Fortunski fouled in the 15th game on one of his signature trick shots on the 1 ball in the 16th game. After Fortunski increased his lead to 10-7, Melling gutted out four straight racks – capped off with a run out in the 21st game that started with a one-rail kick in on the 2 ball.

The stocky Brit appeared to be in command of the match but squandered the 22nd game when he left the 7 ball in the corner pocket’s jaws. Fortunski tied the match at 11 but found himself trailing again when he failed to pocket a ball on the break in the 23rd game. Fortunski wasn’t finished yet sinking a clutch table-length diagonal cut shut on the 1 ball after a Melling pushout which led to a match-tying run out that forced overtime.

With the standing room crowd at Steinway buzzing, both players made their penalty shots in the first frame, missed the pocket in the second frame and traded pocketed shots in the third and fourth innings. Both players missed their designated shots in the fifth frame and Fortunski again missed in the subsequent frame. Stepping to the table knowing that one more made ball would end the match, Melling positioned himself over the shot, gave it a quick look, and sent the 10 ball into the bottom of the corner pocket.


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Melling now moves on to the semifinals to face Joshua Filler, who defeated Ruslan Chinahov 13-8 in the other late quarterfinal. This match is scheduled to begin at 2 PM Eastern time.

During the early evening matches, Germany’s Ralf Souquet removed the World Pool Series monkey from his back, forging ahead of American Mike Dechaine then holding on for a 13-9 victory.

In the two years that the World Pool Series has been in existence, Souquet has performed strongly in the event but has never been able to reach the final four. Two years ago, the German finished fifth at the Aramith 8-Ball Masters and last year Souquet made a late charge in his quarterfinal match against Dennis Orcullo but was unable to pull off the comeback, falling to the Filipino, 13-9, and again finishing fifth.


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Saturday afternoon, the man they call “The Kaiser” was able to flip last year’s script, building a comfortable lead and holding off his opponent’s late rally to advance to the semifinals, 13-9. The victory avenges an 11-6 loss that Souquet suffered at the hands of Dechaine in the first round of the winner’s bracket Thursday.

After Dechaine used two breaks-and-runs and a Souquet miss to grab an early 3-0 lead, the German responded with two runs outs, a safety victory, and a dry break by his opponent to win five straight games. After Dechaine cut the lead to 5-4 Souquet won five of the next six games to take a commanding 10-5 lead in the race-to-13.

Souquet slowly started losing momentum as victory appeared imminent, as Dechaine using a well-placed safety and a break-and-run to cut the lead to 11-7. The German was positioned to climb onto the hill after the American failed to pocket a ball on the break, but left the 8-ball sitting in the corner pocket’s jaws. Dechaine cleared the table then took advantage of a missed 1 ball by his opponent to cut the lead to 11-9.

When Souquet scratched during a safety attempt on the 6 ball in the 21st game, it appeared the lead would shrink even more, but Dechaine missed a makeable 10 ball in the side pocket. The Billiards Congress of America Hall of Famer pocketed the ball to increase his lead back to three games then used a final unforced error by Dechaine on the 1 ball to close out the match.

Dechaine, who finished tied for fifth, was impressive throughout the weekend, starting with an 11-2 drubbing of Mohammad Ali Berjaoui in the opening round then defeating Souquet in his next match. After Dechaine was bounced over to the one-loss side after an 11-9 defeat at the hands of Orcullo, the reigning Super Billiards Expo champion bounced back with an 11-2 victory over Gary O’Callaghan and a 13-5 defeat of Mika Immonen before falling to Souquet in the quarterfinals.

Souquet will face Filipino James Aranas of the Philippines in the morning semifinal which is scheduled for 11 AM Eastern time. The Filipino advanced to the semifinals with a 13-11 victory over Albania’s Klenti Kaci.

This last event of the 2018 World Pool Series, The Predator Grand Final, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 17-20, 2019. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Predator, Poison, Aramith, Rasson, Iwan Simonis, Tiger, and Kamui. Our suppliers and partners are Billiards Digest, CueScore, Let’s Go Print, Outsville, UpState Al, and the WPA.




--- DAY 2 ---



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Day 2 of the World Pool Series Predator Grand Final Done; Final 16 Left

On Thursday night, Mieszko Fortunski watched as a late lead evaporated against Jayson Shaw, with the reigning Turning Stone Classic Champion using a late rally to defeat the Pole, 11-9.

One night later there would be no such late match drama, as Fortunski capitalized on a handful of unforced errors and breaking struggles from Jesus Atencio to easily handle the Venezuelan, 11-3. The victory clinched a spot for the Pole in Saturday’s single-elimination final 16 brackets of the Predator Grand Final at Astoria’s Steinway Billiards. Fortunski will face Filipino Dennis Orcullo at 2 PM, one of eight matches to take place tomorrow morning and afternoon with a slot in the quarterfinals on the line.

The action gets underway with four matches Saturday morning at 11 AM Eastern time, including Klenti Kaci taking on Darren Appleton on the live streaming table. Other morning matches include James Aranas taking on Petri Makkonen, Mika Immonen facing Mike Dechaine and Jayson Shaw matching up against Ralf Souquet.

Familiar foes will face each other on the streaming table during the afternoon matches when Joshua Filler re-matches with Alex Kazakis. The two, who locked horns in the semifinals of the WPA World 9-Ball Championships last month, staged one of the more dramatic matches of the day Friday.

It appeared that Kazakis might win the set handily during the early stages of the match as he jumped out to an early 4-1 advantage then increased his lead to 8-3 as Filler struggled with position play and some unfortunate rolls. The young German slowly chipped away at his deficit, narrowing the score to 9-6 as Kazakis began struggling with cue ball control. Filler slashed the advantage to two games when Kazakis misplayed position on the 7 ball.

As the match became closer, Kazakis’s pace of play slowed significantly as he pondered and studied each shot intently. He increased his lead back to three games after using a safety battle to slowly and methodically run out the 17th rack. The Greek appeared positioned to close out the match in the 18th game but missed a sharp cut shot on the 9 ball, again allowing Filler to climb to within two games. The lead was cut to a single game when Kazakis committed a foul kicking at the 1 ball in the following rack.

Again, Kazakis battled not only his opponent but his nerves during the tension-filled set.

“You have to try to not think about it,” Kazakis said after the match. “You have to play every game like it’s the first game of the match. You have to try to focus on every ball in the match.”

In the 20th game, the ball both players were focused on was the 4 ball, as another safety exchange ensued shortly after the break. With the ball tucked near the 7 ball and the corner pocket, the Greek used a nifty carom shot off of the 7 to cut the object ball into the pocket, then watched as the cue ball traveled three rails for position on the 5 ball to finish the rack and the match.

Filler moved to the one-loss side of the bracket, where he jumped out to an early lead against John Morra and easily defeated the Canadian, 11-4 to secure a position for Saturday. Morra had been flirting with disaster throughout most of Friday. He spotted Hunter Lombardo an early 5-2 lead in his first match of the day – eventually pulling out an 11-8 victory – then needed to gut out a sudden death shootout to defeat Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn.

Finland’s Makkonen advanced to Saturday in a nip-and-tuck match against Thorsten Hohmann of Germany which concluded with a sudden death shootout. The two trading pocketed shots through the first four innings but Makkonen took the match when he sunk his shot in the fifth inning while Hohmann followed by pushing the object ball into the side rail.

Souquet, who began competition with an opening round loss to Dechaine, earned a spot in the final 16 with three straight victories on Friday – defeating Michael Leahy 11-0, Omar Alshaheen 11-6, and Denis Grabe 11-6.

Appleton recovered from an 11-4 loss on the winner’s side to Aranas with a convincing 11-5 victory against upstart American Tommy Tokoph, earning an entry into weekend play.

Dechaine reached the tournament’s third day by posting a convincing 11-2 victory against Gary O’Callaghan and Tony Robles advanced by defeating American Matt Krah, 11-8.

The other afternoon matches include Ruslan Chinahov going up against Robles and Chris Melling playing Zion Zvi, who needed to come from behind to beat European teen star Kristina Tkach, 11-9.

This last event of the 2018 World Pool Series, The Predator Grand Final, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 17-20, 2019. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Predator, Poison, Aramith, Rasson, Iwan Simonis, Tiger, and Kamui. Our suppliers and partners are Billiards Digest, CueScore, Let’s Go Print, Outsville, UpState Al, and the WPA.





--- DAY 1 ---



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Day 1 of the World Pool Series Predator Grand Final is in the Books

Things weren’t looking so good for Jayson Shaw.

The talented, young Scotsman trailed Poland’s Mieszko Fortunski nine games to eight in his opening round match of the Predator Grand Final and had just missed a bank shot on the 1 ball.

With just two games needed to win the race-to-11 set Fortunski’s fortunes changed, as Shaw took advantage of a pair of last-minute opportunities to pull ahead and gut out the back-and-forth match 11-9 at Astoria’s Steinway Billiards. Neither player held more than a two-game lead throughout the two-hour match, as they not only traded leads but also some uncharacteristic errors along the way.

Shaw jumped out to an early 4-2 lead but Fortunski used a break-and-run and a missed 1 ball by his opponent to tie the game. The Scot pulled ahead 5-4 but failed to pocket a ball on the break and watched as the Pole won back-to-back games to regain the lead, 6-5. And so it went throughout the remainder of the match, with one player taking climbing ahead only to see their opponent storm back to either tie the match or reclaim the lead. Shaw fell behind 9-8 after he misplayed a safety in the 16th game that led to a run out by Fortunski, who then broke and ran in the following game. When he missed that 1 ball bank shot into the side pocket in the 18th game it appeared Shaw could be heading to the one-loss side in the first day of competition.

However, the European Mosconi Cup team member gained new life moments later when Fortunski scratched. The Scotsman cleared the table to tie the match at nine games each the took a 10-9 lead when his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next game. After Shaw pocketed a ball on the break in the 20th game he used a well-played safety on the 1 ball to maintain control of the table and the rack to win the decisive game.

The match was one of many nail-biters on the first day of competition in this final World Pool Series event of the season – with Tony Robles and Darren Appleton winning first-round matches on the winner’s side in sudden death shootouts. Robles defeated Canada’s John Morra and Appleton defeated Filipino Carlo Biado in eight frames in which both players struggled to put away their opponent.

Biado, who was a runner-up at the World 9-Ball Championship in Qatar last month, started his day by fending off a comeback attempt by Omar Alshaheen and defeating the Kuwaiti, 11-9. After trading games during the first half of the match, Biado capitalized on a handful of mistakes by Alshaheen to take a 9-5 lead. The Kuwaiti used a break-and-run and a couple of Biado errors to cut the lead to 10-8. Standing at the table with the break, Alshaheen had the chance to pull within one but scratched – handing Biado ball-in-hand and the match.

The action resumes Friday at 11 AM Eastern time with 10 second-round matches on the one-loss side, including American Michael Leahy facing Ralf Souquet on the stream table. The 1:30 PM match on the broadcast table will be Morra versus the winner of a morning match between Americans Hunter Lombardo and Keith Guenzel. The winner’s side of the bracket begins to heat up at 4 PM with Appleton facing Filipino James Aranas, Denis Grabe of Estonia taking on Mika Immonen and Greece’s Alex Kazakis scheduled to meet Joshua Filler on the video streaming table in a rematch of the last month’s World 9-Ball semifinals.

The broadcasting schedule for the 6:30 PM and 9 PM matches will be determined later.

Fans looking to watch the action can purchase a pay-per-view online streaming package – with one-day viewing passes costing $8.95 and full tournament access costing $24.95.

This last event of the 2018 World Pool Series, The Predator Grand Final, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 17-20, 2019. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Predator, Poison, Aramith, Rasson, Iwan Simonis, Tiger, and Kamui. Our suppliers and partners are Billiards Digest, CueScore, Let’s Go Print, Outsville, UpState Al, and the WPA.





--- DAY 0 ---



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The First Day of the Predator Grand Final Has Arrived

The past couple of years have been rather lucrative for Filipino Carlo Biado. In 2017, the 35-year-old earned top honors at the World Pool and Billiards Association’s World 9-Ball Championships in Doha, Qatar and also placed in the top five at a half-dozen prestigious events – including the Derby City Classic 10-Ball Challenge, the Super Billiards Expo Professional Championship and World Pool Series’ Aramith Masters. Last year, Biado won Indonesia’s Jogja Open and came within a few racks of becoming the first back-to-back World 9-Ball champion since Earl Strickland, falling to Joshua Filler in the finals.

Biado looks to carry the momentum from his performance in Qatar into this weekend’s Predator Grand Final, which gets underway today in Astoria, Queens. The Filipino will square of against Omar Alshaheen, who is coming off of his most productive year in professional pool. The Kuwaiti was crowned champion of the 45th Texas Open over Labor Day weekend, was the runner-up at the Freezer’s Ice House 10-ball Challenge and placed ninth at the United States Open 10-Ball Championships.


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Biado and Alshaheen – who will be the showcase match on the live streaming table – will kick off this morning’s first round of play in the four-day, double-elimination tournament. Nine of the 18 matches will get underway at 11 AM Eastern time and the remaining contests are scheduled to begin at 1 PM – with reigning Super Billiards Expo professional champion Mike Dechaine slated to face Lebanon’s Mohammed Ali Berjaoui on the streaming table.

Fourteen players in this weekend’s competition were awarded first-round byes, including past champions Filler, Klenti Kaci, Chris Melling, Denis Grabe, and Ruslan Chinahov. Filler, who claimed top honors in June’s 10-ball Players Championship, is scheduled to play at 6:30 PM against the winner of the afternoon match between American Eric Lim and Pia Filler, Joshua’s wife.

Kaci, who won the 2017 Aramith Masters as well as that year’s Grand Final, awaits the winner of a morning match between Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn and Morocco’s Jamal Oussi. Melling won August’s 8-Ball Classic Championship and will face either American James Lee or Russian rising junior female superstar Kristina Tkach in his opening match.

Also receiving byes are Finland’s Petri Makkonen, Alex Kazakis of Greece, American Straight Pool Championship runner-up Thorsten Hohmann, Filipino Dennis Orcullo, Zion Zvi of Israel, and former United States Open 9-ball champions Ralf Souquet, Jayson Shaw, Darren Appleton, and Mika Immonen.

The 16 second round matches will be spread throughout the afternoon, with six contests beginning at 4 PM, five scheduled to start at 6:30 PM, and the final five matches getting underway at 9 PM.

Fans looking to watch the action can purchase a pay-per-view online streaming package – with one-day viewing passes costing $8.95 and four-day tournament access costing $24.95. As a special teaser, the first match will be available via our Facebook page.

This last event of the 2018 World Pool Series, The Predator Grand Final, is being held at Steinway Billiards in Astoria, Queens, New York City from January 17-20, 2019. The World Pool Series is sponsored by Predator, Poison, Aramith, Rasson, Iwan Simonis, Tiger, and Kamui. Our suppliers and partners are Billiards Digest, CueScore, Let’s Go Print, Outsville, UpState Al, and the WPA.


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