When spectators attend a concert, they’re usually treated to an opening act or two, hired to get the crowd engaged and set the tone for the night and the event’s main attraction.
Wednesday morning’s starting match at the Apex Wisconsin Open was the equivalent of skipping the warm-up acts completely and heading straight into the hottest new bands, with former World 9-Ball champion Fedor Gorst facing reigning World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci in a first-round clash. The two opened play with a nip-and-tuck battle, with Gorst taking advantage of a crucial mistake by his opponent to come from behind and steal a straight-sets victory, 4-2, 4-3, at the Ho-Chunk Resort and Casino in the Wisconsin Dells.
After Kaci won the opening rack, Gorst snagged the next two games after his opponent failed to pocket a ball on the break in the second game but quickly relinquished the table when he didn’t land a ball on the opening shot in the fourth rack. The Albanian tied the score at two games each then opened play in the fifth game by playing a safety on the 1 ball when an open shot wasn’t available. Gorst promptly rattled the ball into the corner pocket with a jump shot and ran out to reclaim the lead. Kaci had another opportunity to tie the set when Gorst again failed to pocket a ball on the break but missed a combination shot on the 2 ball, which the Russian pocketed along with the remaining balls to secure the set, 4-2.
Kaci used a break-and-run in the second set to jump out to an early lead but broke dry in the next rack, allowing his opponent to clear the table and then weave around a clustered 4, 5 and 10 balls in the next game to climb ahead, 2-1. After Gorst failed to land a ball on the break, Kaci again tied the set then gained the lead when his opponent fouled in the fifth game. Standing at the table with a 3-2 lead and a chance to force a shootout, Kaci missed a makeable 6 ball which allowed Gorst to tie the match. After breaking in the set-deciding seventh rack, the Russian executed a sharp cut on the 1 ball, slid in a 5 ball that was closely guarded by the 8 ball and banked in the 9 ball into the side pocket to clear the table and escape with a 4-3 victory.
Watch the entire Gorst-Kaci match on our partner YouTube channel World Billiard TV
Hours later, Gorst would pitch a 4-0 shutout in the first round of his match against Dimitris Loukatos, but lost the second set 4-3 and lost in a shootout to the Greek, 4-3. The Russian moves to the one-loss side of the bracket where he will play Friday morning.
England’s Darren Appleton appears to close to regaining the stroke that landed the former U.S. Open 9-Ball champion in the Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame. Facing Mickey Krause of Denmark, Appleton played nearly flawless in a straight set second round victory.
After Krause used a break-and-run and a scratch on the break by his opponent to build an early 2-1 lead, Appleton took advantage of a foul by his opponent in the fourth rack to tie set then tacked on back-to-back breaks and runs to close out a 4-2 victory. The Brit, reached the second round with a straight sets victory over Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn, was equally crafty in the second set, using two victorious safety exchanges and a break-and-run to build a commanding 3-0 advantage. Krause had a chance to climb onto the scoreboard after his opponent scratched on the break in the fourth game but failed to secure position on the 6 ball and missed a bank shot. Appleton executed a sharp cut on the object ball then finished off the rack to pitch a 4-0 shutout and advance to the third round of the winner’s side of the bracket.
Appleton will face fellow Hall of Famer Mika Immonen in the third round Friday at 11 a.m. eastern time.
In other matches of the day, Roland Garcia took advantage of a handful of errors by three-time Mosconi Cup member Tyler Styer to earn a 4-0, 4-2 victory and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Immonen needed an extra frame to survive a 7-6 shootout against Michael Schneider of Switzerland.
Competition resumes Thursday morning with notable matches including Denis Grabe of Estonia taking on Jasmin Ouschan at 11 a.m. eastern time, Garcia taking on Robbie Capito at 3 p.m. and Mieszko Fortunski of Poland meeting Hunter Lombardo on the one-loss side of the bracket at 6 p.m.
The Apex Wisconsin Open is the second event of the year for the Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series and the first ever to be staged at Ho-Chunk Resort, a sprawling facility north of Madison which offers a 302-room hotel as well as spacious gaming and convention space.
Follow the Apex Wisconsin Open draw on the Predator US Pro Billiard Series FargoRate’s dedicated page
The Apex Wisconsin Open is streamed for free all week on Billiard TV and the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
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About the Predator US Pro Billiard Series,
presented by CSI
This year’s field of players will be playing for a larger prize fund, as Pro Billiard Series co-creators Predator Group and CueSports International announced last month that the total added money for this year’s six events has grown to nearly a half-million dollars – including $52,500 for this year’s Wisconsin Open. Each of this year’s events will have more than $52,000 added which will upgrade these tournaments all to World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) Category 3 sanctioned events, securing the exclusive dates on the WPA calendar and allowing players to earn more WPA ranking points from each event.
The winner of each 2022 event will receive a guaranteed spot in the 2023 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held February 27 through March 3 in Las Vegas. Additionally, a minimum of the top 12 players in the Predator US Pro Billiard Series rankings who are not otherwise invited by the WPA, a WPA continental federation or a promoter wild card, will also earn spots in the 2023 Predator World 10-Ball Championship.
The Predator Pro Billiard Series is a series of open, professional events held around the world to provide more opportunities for professional and aspiring pool players to compete in high-quality events, earn more income, sharpen their skills, and earn their way into the Predator World 10-Ball Championship held in Las Vegas each year as part of the CueSports International Expo.
The Predator U.S. Pro Billiard Series by CSI feature six open professional events during the calendar year. Created by league operator CueSports International together with the Predator Group, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the following year Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held during the annual CueSports International Expo in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
These events are played on Predator Apex professional tables covered with Predator Arcadia Reserve Performance Cloth, with Predator Arcos II balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.
CUESPORTS INTERNATIONAL (CSI) is an international pool league and event leader and is currently comprised of three divisions: CSI Leagues, CSI Events and CSI Media. CSI Leagues manages the BCA Pool League and USA Pool League, CSI Events produces numerous amateur and professional events around the globe and CSI Media creates live streaming and digital content. Through its vision and strategic alliances, CSI is “shaping the future of pool.” For more information about CSI or any of its divisions, visit www.playcsipool.com.
PREDATOR’s mission is to inspire billiard fans by providing innovative experiences and products that deliver high-performance, with unsurpassed class and style. Predator, Poison and Uni-Loc are Predator Group brands that focus on performance pool tables, cues, billiard accessories, and precision components. For more information regarding Predator Group’s products, visit www.predatorcues.com, www.poisoncues.com and www.uni-loc.com.
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