Aloysius Yapp, the best pool player in Singapore, emerged from a punishing schedule in the early hours of Monday morning to pull off an impressive combination by winning both the 9-ball and 10-ball events at the Meucci Classic at Racks Billiards in Sanford, Florida. The tournament was hosted by Racks Billiards.

First, the 26-year-old player won the 10-ball final of the Las Vegas Open at 2:15 a.m., beating the world No. 20 Pole Wiktor Zielinski 11-3 to take home the US$7,000 (S$9,600) check. This victory avenged the player’s loss in the final of the Las Vegas Open, which he had suffered at the hands of Zielinski.

Later, in the 9-ball competition, world No. 25 Yapp won the event by defeating Austria’s 18th-ranked Maximilian Lechner 9-5 in the final, which concluded at around 4 in the morning, and pocketed $3,100 in prize money.

In spite of working 18-hour days and getting only three hours of sleep per night for three nights in a row, the former world No. 1 had no time to catch his breath. He had to rush to the airport after a two-hour nap in order to make his 11.25 a.m. flight to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Open, which was held from November 15-18.

“I love to play so much, I can simply keep going on,” Yapp said in an interview with The Straits Times. “But this event helped me understand myself more.” Yapp practices anywhere from six to eight hours every day on average.

“Because I’m not a particularly quick player, I assumed that the lengthy days of competition would tire me out. I was taken aback when I realized I could keep my composure despite the difficulty of the situation. On the second day, I experienced fatigue, but by the end of the week, I had adapted to the new routine and felt really fantastic with the momentum.

In total, he won 13 consecutive matches throughout both competitions, but there were some battles that went down to the wire.

In the quarterfinal match of the 10-ball race-to-11 format against the 28th-ranked player from Lithuania, Pijus Labutis, he was behind 10-5 and was two balls away from losing in the next game when his opponent missed the 9-ball, giving Yapp the opportunity to grab the lifeline and go on to win 11-10.

Also, in the 9-ball race-to-nine hotseat match, which was the last match in the winner bracket before the final, he overcame a 4-1 deficit to win 9-8 against Lechner.

Yapp, who attributes his success under such trying circumstances to his coach Toh Lian Han and previous consultations with a sports psychologist, stated that his “mind was completely focused, I was in the zone, and it felt pretty good.” Yapp also credited his previous consultations with a sports psychologist.

It’s quite funny, but the one thing that really got under Yapp’s skin was a “messed up” haircut he had in Pennsylvania three weeks earlier while he was on vacation there for a few days.

“If there was a scale from 1 to 10, my level of irritation was a 20. “For a couple of days, I just didn’t have the need to go out,” he remarked. “The barber was having trouble understanding English, so I tried to help him out by showing him a picture. However, he still just cut it really short, and it was uneven. In order to correct my hair, I had to borrow the thinning scissors from my coach. I despise it much more now.”

But the setback has been lessened by his excellent form and the home-cooked meals that his girlfriend, an Indonesian player named Silviana Lu who also competes on the American circuit, has been preparing.

Yapp stated, “We packed a rice cooker and pot, and we improvise with whatever we can acquire from the neighborhood grocery store.” My fiancée makes delicious Chinese foods, and occasionally we also eat hotpot. It’s lovely to have good cuisine with my coach and teammate Sharik (Sayed), and it’s especially nice when we can do so together.

Yapp had a successful start to the year, having successfully defended his championship at the Michigan Open and claiming victory at the Sandcastle 9-Ball Open.

Following his performance at the Puerto Rico Open, the Singaporean will wrap off his season by competing in the World 8-Ball Championship on the island of Puerto Rico from November 19-22.

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