PUERTO RICO – Alex Kazakis, Ko Ping Han, and Chang Yu-Lung were among the big names that were eliminated on the second day of play at the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open in San Juan at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
On the other hand, players such as Kelly Fisher, Margaret Fefilova, and Chia Hua Chen have already advanced to the round of 16 in the Women’s event.
The match between Ko Pin-Yi and Alex Kazakis was a goliath match up, which would normally be saved for the later stages of any tournament; but, in this instance, it was a match in the second round on the side of the draw intended for the losers. After losing to Denis Grabe on the first day of competition, Ko bounced back with a 4-1, 4-0 victory over another Estonian, Gert Gnadeberg, to get back on track and win his second World Championship.
After losing in a shootout to Jonas Souto Comino in the first winners’ round earlier in the day, Kazakis had dropped to the side with one loss, and like Ko, he needed three wins to qualify for the straight-knockout round of the final 32.
Ko appeared to be well on his way to winning the first set 4-1, but he blew a straight-set opportunity by going rail first in an effort to establish position on the 4. Nevertheless, Ko was able to capitalize on a second opportunity that presented itself in the sixth rack to win the set 4–2.
Kazakis had a clear opening in the third rack of the second set, but he missed the 1 to the side when a simple 2/10 was waiting for him. The first two racks of the second set were shared by both players. Although Ko won the gift, Kazakis came back to tie the score at 2-2 just one rack later. Then, after Ko missed the 9, the Greek was finally able to take the lead for the first time in the match. However, the Taiwanese leveled the score at 3-3 and moved closer to winning by one rack.
Kazakis needed to keep his fingers crossed for an opportunity when Ko broke on the hill, and he got it right away as Ko struggled to find power with his break, giving Kazakis a layout from which he took an unobstructed path to the shootout.
In the tie break, neither player so much as nipped an opponent’s jaw in their four regulation innings, which forced sudden death where Kazakis blinked first and won the game. When the Greek missed his fifth shot, Ko had already grabbed the lead in the shootout, giving him a 5-4 advantage. The Greek was then eliminated from the competition. The next person to compete against Ko is going to be Tyler Styer.
Ping Han, Ko’s brother, was eliminated from the competition after losing in a shootout to Miguel Batista of Puerto Rico. Batista will represent Puerto Rico in the tournament. The local player won the opening set 4-3, but Ko was able to fight back and only ended up losing the match 3-2 in the tiebreaker. In the following round, Batista will face another local favorite in Tony Robles, who was born in the United States but is originally from Puerto Rico.
The Predator World Junior 9-Ball Championships and the Predator World 8-Ball Championship will be held in Puerto Rico after the Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open, which is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series and features a prize pool of $100,000 for the Open event and $75,000 for the Women’s event. The Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open is the final stop of the 2022 Predator Pro Billiard Series.
At this point, eight of the final 16 players in the Women’s Open are known. Kelly Fisher advanced to the single-elimination stage of the tournament by winning a shootout against Kristina Tkach, and ‘Amber’ Chen, the victor of the Canada Open, prevailed in her match against Yuki Hiraguchi of Japan. Four Europeans have already advanced to the next round thanks to Pia Filler, Allison Fisher, and Margaret Fefilova.
Chezka Centeno of the Philippines, Wang Wan-Ling and Tzu-Chien Wei of Chinese Taipei, and Chen’s fellow countryman Tzu-Chien Wei are the other three players from Asia to reach the round of 16 without a loss. They will join Chen in the draw for the round of 16.
With 32 players still competing, the Open event will now switch to single elimination play. Winners’ qualification matches start at 10 a.m. local time, and players like Fedor Gorst, Carlo Biado, and Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz are among those who have two opportunities to qualify. Some of the more experienced players, such as Wiktor Zielinski, Roberto Gomez, and Yukio Akagariyama, will have a better chance of advancing to the next round if they are able to win both of their matches on the losers’ side of the draw.
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