Teenager Kazakov Wins Ukrainian National Title

Teenager Kazakov Wins Ukrainian National Title

Exciting young prospect Anton Kazakov dropped only a frame throughout the entire event as he won the Ukrainian National Snooker Championship for the first time earlier this week. 

Held at the Snooker Lviv Billiard Club, 35 players contested the mixed-gender tournament, yet it was 14-year-old Kazakov who bettered his semi-final finish from twelve months previously.  

The Dnipro based cueist topped his round robin after winning all four group matches 2-0. In the ensuing knockout phase he lost the opening frame of his last 16 match with record seven-time winner Sergey Isayenko, but assisted by a break of 77 he recovered to advance 3-1. Kazakov subsequently eliminated Stepan Delyatinskij 3-0 in the quarter-finals and then two-time champion Sergey Petrash 3-0 in the semi-finals. 

Kazakov’s opponent in the final was defending champion 21-year-old Vladislav Vishnevskij, who had ended the hopes of another teenage hot property in Iulian Boiko in the other last four affair. However, Kazakov was not to be denied the title as he recorded a 4-0 victory. 

No stranger to big amateur events, Kazakov played at the EBSA European Championships earlier in the year, reaching the last 32 of the Under-21 and the quarter-finals of the Under-18 events. Kazakov also paired up alongside Vishnevskij to represent Ukraine at last summer’s EBSA European Team Championship where they got through to the semi-finals before losing to eventual winners Malta. 

In the preceding Ukrainian Masters Championship for competitors over 40 at the same venue, national coach Alan Trigg claimed the honours following a 3-0 triumph over Alexander Kasyanov in the final. 

Photos courtesy of Angelina Baidala.

2019 Ukrainian National Snooker Championship 

Results (from the quarter-finals onwards) 

Anton Kazakov 3-0 Stepan Delyatinskij 

Yuriy Semko 1-3 Sergey Petrash 

Vladislav Vishnevskij 3-1 Arsen Petrosov 

Alan Trigg 1-3 Iulian Boiko 

Semi-finals 

Kazakov 3-0 Petrash 

Vishnevskij 3-0 Boiko 

Final 

Kazakov 4-0 Vishnevskij 

Maguire Wins SangSom 6-Red World Championship for Second Time

Maguire Wins SangSom 6-Red World Championship for Second Time

Stephen Maguire won a tartan tussle against John Higgins 8-6 in the final of the SangSom 6-Red World Championship to win the title for the second time in Bangkok.

It’s a first individual title for world number 15 Maguire since he won the 2014 Lisbon Open. He also won the 6-Red title earlier that year.

In an exciting final, Glasgow’s 38-year-old Maguire pulled away from 6-6 to win the last two frames, taking the trophy and top prize of four million Baht (£106,000) at the invitation event in the Thai capital.

It’s his second title of the season as he teamed up with 44-year-old Higgins to win the World Cup for Scotland in China in June. This time the two friends and practice partners went head to head, with Higgins playing in the Six Red final for the first time.

Maguire took an early 3-0 lead before world number five Higgins stormed back with four frames in a row. Frame eight went to Maguire and he nicked the ninth on the black to lead 5-4.

He won the tenth as well then squandered a clear chance in the 11th, missing a red to a centre pocket. Four time World Champion Higgins cleared the table then made a break of 58 in the 12th to level at 6-6.

With the match in the balance, Maguire made a vital break of 39 to regain the lead at 7-6. And he got the better of a tense 14th frame, the score 34-18, to secure the title.

“It feels good, I was very lucky,” said Maguire. “I’d like to thank the sponsor and promoter for putting on the tournament. All of the boys enjoy this, everyone loves coming out to Thailand.”

All results

Both players now head to China for the £751,000 Shanghai Masters, which starts on Monday. Click here for the match schedule.

Five Star Aly’s American Snooker Title

Five Star Aly’s American Snooker Title

Ahmed Aly Elsayed made history as he claimed a fifth United States National Snooker Championship title at the Q-Ball Houston in Texas on Labor Day.

Players from several different states took part in the annual four-day event; the most prestigious on the United States Snooker Association (USSA) calendar.

Defending champion Aly qualified for the last 16 having finished top of Group A, winning his opening three matches without dropping a frame, although he did lose his last fixture to Cheang Ciing Yoo.

The New Yorker, who lifted the trophy last year in Brooklyn, eliminated Rushil Vig 3-0 and Steven Wong 4-1 in the last 16 and 8 respectively. He then secured a fifth consecutive – and an overall record eighth – appearance in the final courtesy of defeating Nitin Mehta 4-1 in the semi-finals aided by breaks of 63 and 53.

In a repeat of their earlier round robin tie, Aly’s opponent in the showpiece was Yoo, who had advanced from the group in second place. The Washington cueist dispatched Thomas Tan, two-time champion Ajeya Prabhakar and 2017 winner and last year’s runner-up Raymond Fung in the knockouts.

Aly compiled a break of 78 to win the second frame, but maiden finalist Yoo was in control early on as he opened a 3-1 lead. However, the top seed was not to be denied. A run of 64 in the fifth helped him on his way as he strung together four successive frames to emerge a 5-3 winner.

Victory number five in this tournament means Aly matches Tom Kollins’ long standing overall title haul. Kollins was the first champion of this event in 1991 and won his fifth title ten years later.

It is not the first time that Aly has retained this championship; he also won it 2009, 2010 and 2011. Earlier this year at the same venue, Aly reached the quarter-finals of the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA) Championship when he lost to eventual champion Igor Figueiredo. He has also featured in the last two editions of Q-School.

Both the USSA and PABSA are members of the World Snooker Federation.

Photos supplied by SnookerUSA.com

Brilliant Bolton’s Australian Double

Brilliant Bolton’s Australian Double

Matthew Bolton completed another unique double when he added the 2019 Australian National Snooker Championship title to the national billiards crown he claimed in June. 

Held at the RACV Club in Melbourne, home of the upcoming World Billiards Championship in October, players from across the country contested this prestigious annual Australian Billiards and Snooker Council event that was first played for in 1953. 

Bolton, who briefly spent a short spell on the professional circuit courtesy of winning the Oceania Snooker Championship a few seasons ago, got his campaign off to a fine start as breaks of 61 and 51 helped him defeat Robin Beggs 4-0. Finishing off with an effort of 126 he eliminated Stan Gorski 4-2 in the last 16 and then registered a top run of 59 ending Shaun Dalitz’s hopes in the quarter-finals, 4-0. 

Returning for ‘Finals Day’, the 40-year-old from Perth in Western Australia put on an excellent performance to dismiss last year’s runner-up Charlie Chafe 5-2 in the last four, compiling breaks of 54, 137, 124 and 50.  

During the same session, 2016 winner James Mifsud sealed his spot in the final after ousting Kurt Dunham 5-4, despite Dunham crafting a 136 in the second frame of the match. This temporarily stood as the tournament’s highest break before Bolton bettered it by one point not long after. 

The opening frame of the final went to Bolton, although Mifsud levelled with the aid of a 46. Bolton then went into the mid-session interval 3-1 up, and although his opponent closed the gap when taking frame five on the last black, contributions of 60, 55 and 52 got him over the line as a comfortable 6-2 victor and saw him lift the trophy for the second time in his career. 

Dave Collins and Steve Mifsud have previously won both the Australian National billiards and snooker titles in the same year, but Bolton, who also secured both in 2014, becomes the first player in history to have achieved the feat twice.

Woods and Lynch Win Women’s Championships

Earlier in the month, defending champion Jessica Woods won her sixth Australian National Women’s Snooker Championship at SA Snooker Venue in Adelaide. 

Cueists from five different states featured in the event with the players initially split into round robin groups. Woods was supreme as she eased into the knockouts after winning all four of her group games 2-0. 

New South Wales’ Woods eliminated Carlie Tait 3-0 in the quarter-finals, and despite dropping her first frame of the championship, she defeated Theresa Whitten 4-1 in the last four, a match in which she recorded a 52 break.  

Her opponent in the final was Taylor Meyer, who had come through three consecutive deciding frame finishes to make it there. However, Woods remained relentless and retained the trophy following a 4-0 victory. She has now won this event the last six times she has entered it. 

At the same venue before the snooker event, Anna Lynch got the better of Caroline Ruscitti by 255 to 222 in a ninety minutes final to triumph in the Australian National Women’s Billiards Championship. Lynch had previously won all three of her group games before denying Lyndal Ellement in the semi-finals. During the final she also made the highest break of the event with an effort of 54. 

Photo credits: George Spiteri, Matt Huart

Triple Gold for Morocco as Snooker History is Made in Casablanca

Triple Gold for Morocco as Snooker History is Made in Casablanca

Moroccan snooker players dominated on home soil this week by claiming a trio of gold medals as the sport was contested at the African Games for the first time in its history.

The 12th staging of Africa’s biggest multisports event has seen athletes from 54 African nations come together across 26 sports including snooker. Staged at the Hotel Farah in Casablanca the groundbreaking competition saw full-medal tournaments contested by men, women and mixed gender doubles teams.

There was a dramatic victory for Morocco’s Amiri Amine in the men’s competition on Saturday as he won a deciding-frame shoot out against Abdulraham Haridi of Egypt. It was Haridi who led 2-0 and 3-2 in their best of seven frame encounter, before Amine took frame six on a re-spotted black to force a decider that he would ultimately go on to dominate on his way to claiming gold.

The bronze-medal match was also won by Morocco as Yassime Bellamine defeated African champion Mohamed Ibrahim 4-2 to claim the final step on the podium.

The first competition of the week to be played was won by Morocco’s Yousra Matine as she defeated Ganton Askiri of Egypt to claim gold in the women’s event, with Hakima Kissai taking bronze.

There was better news for Kissai in Wednesday’s mixed doubles event, however, as together with Yassime Bellamine the pair defeated Amiri Amine and Yousra Matine to claim gold.  Egypt finished in the bronze medal position with Mohamed Ibrahim and Yara Sharaf.

The event was well-supported throughout the week with visits from distinguished guests including AASC President General Ahmed Nasser, Africa Billiards and Snooker Confederation President Mohamed El-Kammah and World Snooker Federation President Jason Ferguson.

The event received significant media interest across Africa with live action and interviews broadcast on television and online.

Mohamed El-Kammah said: “It has been a dream to see our sport enter such a prestigious occasion as the African Games. It is a journey that began many years ago and I am very proud to see this dream become a reality. Egyptian players have always had a strong presence in snooker, I believe the opportunity to earn medals will now inspire the next generation.”

Jason Ferguson said: “It has been an honour to work on this project along with our regional federation, the ABSC. It is clear that our sport has a place in the Africas and this landmark inclusion event is just the beginning as we aim to provide more opportunity for players in the region. I must thank Ahmed Nasser, Mohamed El-Kammah and their teams for their inspiration in making great strides for our sport.”

Learn more about snooker in Africa: https://www.africabsf.com/