Poland’s Wiktor Zielinski secured the Euro Tour Lasko Open title beating Joshua Filler 9-7 in the final on Monday in Lasko, Slovenia, to move up to third on the 2023 Nineball World Rankings with the tournament counting towards Matchroom’s rankings which were launched earlier this year.
The tournament ran by the EPBF forms part of the 2022 Nineball schedule alongside eight Matchroom tournaments and tournaments run by other promoters that will contribute towards the 2023 Nineball World Rankings.
Eklent Kaçi gave a good account of himself as the 2021 Mosconi Cup winner reached the semi-finals which takes the Albanian up to World No.7. Filler’s run to the final in Slovenia meant the World Cup of Pool winner held his position on the 2023 Nineball World Rankings at No.2. It was a good week for Zielinski’s compatriot Wojciech Szewczyk who entered the rankings for the first-time level with Kaçi after a run to the semi-finals before defeat to Zielinski.
Money earned by players during Ranking Events, Major Events, and Blue Ribbon Events featured on the Nineball schedule will contribute to the standings on the 2023 Rankings as part of Matchroom’s goal to recognise Nineball as the primary discipline of pool worldwide as well as offering the chance for European and USA players the opportunity to qualify for the 2022 Mosconi Cup through the merit of their 2022 performances.
The Nineball World Rankings:
- Feature the primary rankings list of an initial Top 32 ranked players with a top-up of a further 8 players, this list will be used throughout the 2022 events for qualification and seeding to the Nineball schedule of events
- Feature the secondary rankings list of live actual ranking points of prize money earnt that will come into effect December 2022 as well as contribute towards the Mosconi Cup 2022 team qualification
- Feature 8 Matchroom promoted events
Event Status (subject to change and review on a yearly basis)
- Blue Ribbon > $300,000 +
- Major Events > $150,000 – $299,999
- Ranking Events > Up to $149,999
The Nineball World Rankings are open to any tournament recognised by Matchroom and given the approval of Matchroom and sanction of the WPA.
To be a part of the rankings, tournament organisers must follow the overall standards set out by the Nineball World Rankings to raise the profile of the sport. Whilst this will be flexible for 2022, the aim will be to standardise the professional rules of the game of Nineball producing fairness for players throughout all organised events as well as generating an easy understanding of the game: increasing awareness across the globe.
Both players were in tip top form entering the final. In the first semi-final, Zielinski had defeated countryman Wojciech Szewczyk 9-7 in an excellent match that had seen him run out six times. In the other, a rampant Filler had too much for Kaci, finishing up a 9-5 winner.
The Polish player took the opening rack as well as the second, when Filler, who was going nicely, overran the cue ball with just the 7 and 9 on the table. His safety wasn’t tight enough and Zielinski took the last two balls.
A push out was required from Wiktor in the third game and he left a jump shot on the 2 ball on. He made an excellent attempt but was not rewarded with the position. A good safety saw Filler make contact but he left the pink 4 ball on and from there Zielinski advanced to 3-0.
Filler took the next as his push out to a jump shot paid dividends when his opponent left the 2 ball on and he cleared for 3-1. The Polish star restored his three-rack lead in the next, moving around the table with confidence.
A fast-paced break and run from Filler was just what he needed as he pegged the deficit back to two racks. Zielinski returned the favour in the next as he too ran out from the break to take his lead to 5-2. It was high-quality stuff from both players as Filler ran the next from the break. Trailing by two, he needed Zielinski to slip up somehow.
Filler got his chance in the next as Zielinski scratched on the break and with ball in hand, he ran out for 5-4 and really opened up the match. Sensing his opportunity, Joshua broke and ran the next to level the game. The pressure was back on Zielinski but he had the break in his favour in the race to 9 match.
With no clear pot on the 2 ball in the next, Zielinski played a nice snooker but Filler came with an almighty jump shot to cut the 2 into the centre pocket and set up the run out as he took the lead at 6-5. A missed 2/8 combination from Filler in the next got Zielinski back into the fray and his superior safety play prevailed as he restored parity at 6-6.
Zielinski came with another break and run and there was a feeling that winning the lag may be a telling factor in the destination of the trophy. There was no hanging around in the next as Joshua swiftly worked his way around the table to level at 7-7.
Another sledgehammer break from Zielinski set up a run out and Filler found himself breaking to stave off defeat. Having to play safe, Filler initially thought he’d got it but there was a gap between the 5 and 9 balls that allowed Zielinski to pocket the red 3. From there, he made no mistakes as he went through the balls to claim a superb win.
It was Zielinski’s second consecutive Dynamic Billard Euro Tour win – an amazing achievement that has only been accomplished twice before in 11 years. He can now look forward to Treviso, Italy in April and a chance to go one better.