Loukatos Wins Predator Germany Open And Fisher Becomes Three-Time Pro Billiard Series Champion
Greece’s Dimitris Loukatos beat Wiktor Zielinski in a sudden death shootout to win the predator Germany Open on Saturday and in the Women’s division Kelly Fisher’s dominance in the Pro Billiard Series continued when she beat Eylul Kibaroglu, also by sudden death shootout.
Both champions earn €20,000 after delivering tense drama in their finals. Fisher has now won three Pro Billiard Series titles in less than nine months. She had battled back from a set and two games down to take her match to a gripping shootout which she won 9-8 when Kibaroglu missed in the tenth innings. Fisher’s previous Pro Billiard Series titles meant she had already qualified for the 2022 Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship, to be staged in Austria in September, so Kibaroglu will receive an invitation.
Loukatos will play the 2023 World 10-Ball Championship in Las Vegas after he ended Zielinski’s winning streak in the PBS. The Pole had won 15 straight Pro Billiard Series matches in winning the Alfa Las Vegas Open and reaching the final in Germany.
The Open division final was a tale of two sets. A dry break at the start of the match by Zielinski let Loukatos clear for a 1-0 lead. The Pole missed a 1 in the second game and didn’t reach for his cue again until he was 3-0 down in the set.
Zielinski was back at the table after a pushout in the fourth game but miscued over a jump. Another chance arrived for the Polish player when Loukatos had to play safe around the 4, which was tied to the 8, but it was the Greek who got the upper hand in that battle too, and the set was won 4-0.
The final made a 180 turn in the second set. A missed 8-ball bank by Loukatos got Zielinski his first game, the second soon followed, and an errant jump awarded the Las Vegas Open champion ball in hand to make it 3-0.
Loukatos had one last chance in the fourth game but played a poor shot trying to escape a safety and left his opponent with an easy shot on the 2 – the set finished a reverse of the 4-0 score of the opener.
Zielinski missed first in the shootout, failing on his second innings, but when Loukatos missed on his third shot, a final was headed for Sudden Death for a second time on the same day. Both players made their fifth shots but Zielinski couldn’t make the sixth, and though the ball rattled in the jaws, Loukatos sent the 10 down to claim the €20,000 title, winning 4-0, 0-4, 5-4.
Loukatos said: “All this week there has been pressure because I lost my second match and finally, I won this tournament and I can’t believe it. It was a very tough match, Zielinski is one of the best players in the world.”
Prior to the start of the Open division final, spectators and viewers had been treated to a brilliant championship match in the Women’s division. Fisher’s third Predator Pro Billiard Series title came with a 1-4, 4-2, 9-8 win at the expense of Kibaroglu, from Ankara, Turkey, who had won the first set with some comfort.
She ran the first game and a 3/10 combo shot gave her the second. A dry break in the third had allowed Fisher off the mark but an errant bank by the Brit afforded her opponent ball in hand, and after making it 3-1, Kibaroglu closed out the set in the fifth game.
Kibaroglu has three European titles to her name and it would have been hard to bet against her adding the Predator Germany Open to her resume as she calmly rolled in another 10 to continue the second set as she finished the first. The Turkish player was clearly in the zone and playing with confidence as she then moved one set and two games ahead.
Fisher needed an opening and she got one in the third game. She left herself a difficult 8 along the rail but showed why she is a World champion with a couple of high-pressure shots to cut her deficit to 2-1. A missed 3 was Kibaroglu’s first major mistake of the match but it allowed Fisher back in the fourth game and the set the Turkish player had led 2-0 was soon locked at 2-2.
A 3 left in the jaws by Kibaroglu allowed Fisher to go unpunished when she couldn’t make a carom with the jump shot. Kibaroglu then missed two jumps of her own at 3-2 down and the second awarded Fisher ball-in-hand. Perfect position to the 7, which was tied close to the 10, created a roadmap and Fisher took the set 4-2, despite leaving herself a nervy 10 to complete the game.
The Brit missed her first shot of the shootout but was level after Kibaroglu missed in her second innings. At 3-3 after four innings each, the Women’s final had come down to Sudden Death, with Fisher shooting first each innings.
Both players were dealing with the pressure impeccably; neither even touched the jaws in the first four innings of Sudden Death. Fisher breathed a sigh of relief when her fifth did need the side of the pocket, but her opponent again found the middle. Neither player had now missed in a combined 15 shots when the decisive moment finally came on Kibaroglu’s next shot; a miss by the Turkish player meant the title would belong to Fisher. After such a gripping final, both players received a standing ovation from the German crowd.
Fisher said: “I thought I was going to lose 2-0. She was playing better than me and I was a little bit off. I managed to scrape the second set, so going into the shootout I just tried to relax. The first few were the most nervous but then I felt quite calm, considering.
“I have been doing this a long time, I don’t really have any magic routines before a tournament, I just prepare the best I can, whether I am home or traveling.
“I must say that the equipment, the lights, the tables, the venue, everybody would agree it was spectacular and the conditions were perfect. The table and cloth played the best I have felt in any of the Pro Billiard Series events. It was nice and fast, consistent, for me it was a great setup and perfect conditions.”
The next Predator Pro Billiard Series event is the Predator Canada Open in Red Deer, Alberta, from August 16-20.
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