Zielinski takes top prize in 16-entrant Kamui Invitational
Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski has been on something of a roll over the past couple of months, and we all know how important ‘rolls’ are in any billiards game you care to name. He defeated the male half of the Killer Fillers (Joshua) in the finals of the Dynamic Billiard Lasko Open in February and then came across the ocean to down Aloysius Yapp in the finals of CSI’s Alfa Las Vegas Open in March. Last weekend (May 13-15), chalking up his flight miles, he headed back east and landed in Bucharest, Romania, where he claimed the 16-entrant, single-elimination Kamui Invitational title, defeating Boznia-Herzegovina’s Sanjin Pehlivanovic in the finals .
He also appeared in the finals of the concurrent-run, 256-entrant Predator Bucharest Open, but had his winning streak stopped by Taipei’s Ko Pin-Yi, who went undefeated through four rounds of double elimination and five rounds of single elimination play to snatch what would have been Zielinski’s third straight title from him in the finals. Though he’d been cashing in major tournaments all over the world (also on something of a roll and also chalking up his flight miles), it was Pin-Yi’s first recorded major victory since he laid claim to the 2018 China Open Men’s Division title .
Both events were hosted by the 20-year-old IDM Club in downtown Bucharest, about a mile or so east of the Dambovita river, which flows through the city for about 13 miles and is its main water supply. The IDM is a multi-functional sports club that offers members everything from fitness, body-building, swimming pools (a children’s leisure and a “semi-Olympic”), locker rooms, bowling, billiards, snooker, table tennis, darts and a restaurant, bar and children’s playground. US venues, take note.
Each of the 42 Brunswick Gold Crown IV pool tables in the IDM club was employed six times (+4) to get through the event’s opening round. Pin-Yi got through his opening rounds against Levent Kurtulus, Adi Petruscu and Michal Olech with an aggregate score of 27-4 to arrive at the winners’ side qualification round for single-elimination play against David Alcaide. Zielinski, in the meantime, found himself battling increased challenges. He allowed his first opponent, Albert Gabos, only a single rack but gave up six to Maor Shalom, before getting caught up in a double hill battle against Kevin Lannoye, which did eventually send him to the qualifying round versus Mustafa Alnar.
Among those also advancing to the qualifying round on the winners’ side were Shane Van Boening, Oliver Szolnoki, Denis Grabe, Thorsten Hohmann, Alex Kazakis, Mario He and Ko Pinc-Chung (who played each other), and Ralf Souquet and Nick Economopolous (who also played each other). There were 16 who advanced on the winners’ side to be among the 32 who would compete in the first single-elimination round. They were joined by the final 16 on the losers’ side of the bracket.
Two rounds later, the field was down to 8 in the quarterfinals. Ko Pin-Yi faced Souquet, who’d won his only loss-side match and come back to defeat Ko Ping-Chung. Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz faced Dimitri Jungo, Zielinski drew Petri Makkonen and Van Boening took on Mario He.
Ko Pin-Yi got by Souquet and Sanchez-Ruiz downed Jungo, both 11-3. Zielinski eliminated Makkonen 11-8 and Van Boening defeated He 11-9. In the semifinals that followed, Ko Pin-Yi defeated Ruiz 11-7, as Van Boening and Zielinski locked up in only the fourth double hill fight since the opening round of single-elimination play, with Van Boening involved in two of them. Zielinski advanced to face Ko Pin-Yi in the finals.
Pin-Yi had come to the finals with a 70% game-winning average (79-34). He won 72% of the games he played in the race-to-13 finals against Zielinski, claiming the Predator Bucharest Open title 13-5.
Two out of four matches for Zielinski go double hill in Kamui Invitational
The Kamui Invitational, which required less than 20% of the 42 Brunswick Gold Crown IV’s in the IDM Club, once, to complete it 15-entrant opening round, featured 12 competitors who participated in the open event, Zielinski, Van Boening and David Alcaide among them. Ko Pin-Yi, however, was not on the roster.
Zielinski got by his opening opponent, Davy Piergiovanni well enough, but ran immediately into a double hill match against Naoyuki Oi in the quarterfinals. From the bottom half of the bracket, Zielinski’s eventual opponent in the finals, Sanjin Pehlivanovic, who’d gotten by Alex Montpelier, drew Alex Lely. Ralf Souquet, who’d drawn a bye in the opener, faced Ko Ping-Chung, while Van Boening and Alcaide rounded out the quarterfinal matchups.
Zielinski survived his double hill encounter with Oi and in the semifinals, drew Souquet, who’d eliminated Ping-Chung 8-3. Van Boening defeated Alcaide 8-4 to pick up Pehlivanovic, who’d shut Lely out.
Zielenski walked right into his second straight double hill match, against Souquet, but did advance to the finals. Pehlivanovic dropped Van Boening 8-5 to join him. Zielenski defeated Pehlivanovic 8-5 to claim the Kamui Invitational title and his third victory in as many months.
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