The 9-ball individuals have started today at the Dynamic Billard European Championships Youth in Tirana, Albania. Action-packed matches could be viewed with several surprises already.
In the Under 19’s, unheralded Sajid Raheem (NOR) managed to turn the tide in his match against favored Kamil Szaszor (POL) and win it with 8:5. Last year, Szaszor won the silver medal in the Under 17’s 9-ball. It is his first year in the Under 19 category. The match started quite convenient for him. He took a nice 4:2 lead over Raheem. But then the Norwegian hung in there and pulled rack after rack from Szaszor who looked a bit surprised. Raheem played rock solid and did not commit many mistakes. He even over took Szaszor and allowed him only one more rack in the match, winning this encounter with 8:5.
Then, Raheem went on and took down Nooa Oksala (FIN) also with 8:5. This puts him through to the single elimination stage of the final 32 players. He is joined there by Daniel Maciol (POL). Maciol who won the 9-ball in the Under 17’s last year, defeated Jaran Gelin Rysjedal (NOR) 8:3 in the first round. Then he had to deal with last year’s runner-up Michael Schneider (SUI). What was expected to be a tough fight turned out into a one-man-show for Maciol. He did not leave a chance for Schneider and took the match 8:4.
Another surprising name in the list of the last 32 players is Tayfun Teber (GER). He got the better of newly crowned straight pool Champion and teammate Patrick Hofmann (GER) 8:6 and then wiped the floor with Pascal Kettenhummer (AUT) 8:3. Russian junior star player Maksim Dudanets (RUS) wasted no time in his first two matches today and consecutively trounced Enea Shytaj (ALB) 8:1 just to then hand a doughnut to Edoardo Mele (ITA) 8:0!
In the Under 17’s, the „usual suspects“ have made their way to the single elimination stage. Names like Wiktor Zielinski (POL), Sanjin Pehlivanovic (BIH), Kestutis Zadeikis (LIT) and Fedor Gorst (RUS), just to name a few, can be found in the list of the final 32 players remaining. There have not been surprises in this category in 9-ball so far.
The toughest encounter was probably the match between Jan van Lierop (NED) and Fedor Gorst. It went hill-hill. It was Gorst’s break then. He had the 7-ball down on the break and a shot at the 1-ball. He came up with a brilliant safety shot and gave van Lierop something to think about. The Dutch tried to hit the 1-ball but he fouled and gave ball-in-hand to Gorst. The Russian played another great safety and once again, van Lierop committed a foul. This time the cue ball scratched. Worst went for the maximum penalty and played a third great safety shot. Van Lierop could not hit the 1-ball again, made his third consecutive foul in the match and therefore lost the rack and the match 6:7. What a cruel way to lose a hill-hill match.
In the girls division, defending Champion Kristina Tkach (RUS) had unusually much to do with Laura Hartikainen (FIN). However, 6:4 was the final result in favor of the Russian. Last year’s silver medallist, Diana Khodjaeva (BEL) also took her match 6:2 over Roxanne Overeem (LUX) in the first round. She will face Pia Blaeser (GER) who defeated her yesterday in 8-ball. Blaeser took down My Nguyen (SWE) 6:0 in round one.
The Dynamic Billard European Championships Youth will continue today with the 8-ball semifinals to be played at 17:00 local time. The finals are scheduled for 19:00.
The Championships are played on 24 tables which are all streamed LIVE throughout the whole event. In order to be able to follow all the action LIVE, premium membership can be purchased at www.kozoom.com. Once a premium membership is held, all events for the respective period of time can be viewed LIVE. Additionally, a huge video gallery is contained in the website.
The event is hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.epconline.eu, visit us on Facebook or check out our youtube channel for regular news clips or contact our press office email@example.com.