Kural, Gnadeberg, Hong take home Predator World Junior Titles
Szymon Kural, Karl Gnadeberg and Xin Yu Hong are celebrating being crowned World Champions after claiming gold in their respective divisions of the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships at the Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan on Monday.
Poland’s Kural defeated Yuma Dorner of Germany 11-6 in the Under-19s final. That was after Gnadeberg of Estonia had won the Under-17s division, beating Lang Yi Li of Hong Kong, China 9-5 in their championship match.
Chinese Taipei’s Xin Yu Hong had the support of reigning World Women’s 10-Ball Champion Chou Chieh-Yu as she beat South Korea’s Kim Hyerim 9-4 to lift the Girls title. It was Kim’s second consecutive final defeat after she also took silver last year, when she lost to Austria’s Lina Primus, a bronze medalist this year.
Kural scored an 11-9 victory over Germany’s Dennis Laszkowski to reach the final, while Dorner was an emphatic 11-1 victor over Chinese Taipei’s Yi Hsuan Sun in his semi-final. At the age of 18, this was Kural’s last chance to win a World Junior title and he was delighted to take home the gold.
“I don’t have any words,” said Kural. “I am very excited and especially happy because last year I lost in the final but now to win in 2022 is super exciting, and I am very happy.
“My family will be really happy and I am looking forward to going back home and celebrating with my friends and family. I want to get better and better and play tournaments around the world.”
Gnadeberg took the Under-17 title with perhaps his best shot reserved for the very end of the final when he jumped the 8 to make the 6 and draw the cue back down for inch-perfect position on the 7.
“Kick wasn’t available, so I decided to bring the jump cue,” said the Estonian. “The only way I could make it was to bring a draw and I never actually did it before, but it came out perfectly and I was amazed.”
Finland’s Juri Narvola and Serbia’s Lazar Kostic took bronze in the Under-17s division, while those medals went to USA’s Bethany Tate and Austria’s 2021 World Girls Champion Lina Primus. The final was won by Hong, who defeated Kim 9-4 having earlier beaten Tate 9-2.
“I am very happy,” said Hong. “It was a warm feeling to have the whole team from Chinese Taipei supporting me. My next goal is to defend the title next year!’
In the Predator World 8-Ball Championship, Shane van Boening crashed out in the last 32 at the hands of Frenchman Alex Montpellier. The World 9-ball Champion had reached single elimination undefeated but struggled against an inspired Montpellier, who won 10-7, only to be eliminated himself in the last 16, losing 10-2 to last week’s Medalla Light Puerto Rico Open finalist Daniel Maciol.
The quarter-final line-up comprises Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz, who has a chance to cap an incredible year with a world title. He’ll face Konrad Juszczyszyn in the last eight, which begins 10am on Tuesday morning. Maciol takes on Mario He, while an all-Polish quarter-final sees World 10-Ball Champion Wojciech Szewczyk up against Wiktor Zielinski.
Seven of the quarter-finalists are European, the exception being Canada’s Alex Pagulayan, who will face Jayson Shaw for a place in the semi-finals. Shaw beat Joshua Filler in a thrilling last 16 clash, having earlier beaten Jeffrey De Luna.
“It feels good to be in the quarter-finals,” said Shaw. “I was down 6-3 against De Luna but came back and played pretty well at the end. I knew against Filler that a couple of mistakes and you can lose real quick. I came with some good shots, some nice breaks and I am delighted to win.
“I’ll get a good sleep, come in tomorrow and if I can break well, 8-ball was my game growing up. I’ll have a good night’s rest and come tomorrow as prepared as I can be.”
The Predator World 8-Ball Championship concludes on Tuesday with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final all a race to 10.
Matches from the Predator World 8-Ball Championship are streamed from Table 1 on Billiard TV, the World Billiard TV YouTube channel and at Kozoom.com. Table 2 has full coverage and commentary on the Predator Pro Billiard Series Facebook Page. All tables, including matches from the Predator World Juniors 9-Ball Championships, can be watch live for FREE at Kozoom.com
Brackets and scores can be found at www.probilliardseries.com