Great Britain’s Kelly Fisher, Darren Appleton and Jayson Shaw got their Predator World Teams Championship off to the ideal start with a 3-0 win over Team USA at Sportpark Klagenfurt in Austria.
As host nation Austria enters two teams into the event and the ‘A’ team delivered a statement performance with a comfortable 4-1, 4-2, 4-1 win over Portugal (Sara Rocha, Joao Grilo & Samuel Santos) to give themselves two chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The trio of Jasmin Ouschan, Albin Ouschan and Mario He asserted their dominance early. Encouraged by a home crowd, Jasmin Ouschan got them up and running with a 4-1 win over Sara Rocha. Mario He has won on the Pro Billiard Series and was confident with his 10-ball break, earning him the men’s singles set, which he backed up with a 4-2 win against Joao Grillo.
That left the siblings to pair up with the chance to take Austria A to the winners’ qualification round, and they delivered for their country in a 4-1 success for a 3-0 win over Portugal.
April Larson had been impressive in USA’s 3-0 win over Austria B in the opening round yesterday and, still borrowing Tyler Styer’s cue due to luggage issues, took Fisher to 3-3 before the Brit edged out the set to give Great Britain the lead on the second feature table.
Jayson Shaw, so experienced when it comes to playing against USA, was next up against Styer. Shaw had arrived on Tuesday from America, where he won his eighth Turning Stone Classic title on Sunday and took the first rack after Styer missed the 2.
The American hit back but Shaw then opened up a 3-1 lead before Styer halved it to 3-2. Breaking to stay in the set, Styer came up dry and Shaw had perfect position for a straight-in shot on the 1 and he soon completed the set 4-2.
That left it to Larson and Joey Tate to keep USA in it with a doubles match against Fisher and Appleton; two of America’s rising stars against a pair of Hall of Famers with multiple World titles between them.
But the Americans didn’t seem to be too fazed by the quality of their opposition and kept the set at 2-2 before the British pair pulled clear to win 4-2 and take a 3-0 victory.
“Kelly got us off to a good start with the 4-3 in the first set,” said Shaw. “Kelly and April both played well but we were delighted to get the first point on the board, and then I felt good against Styer in the singles. Then it was down to Darren and Kelly in the doubles.”
Fisher added: “Really glad with the win but felt it was a bit scrappy, a few mistakes, but we are happy to have the first match out of the way. I think we will play really well and now we are hoping to keep going strong.”
“Winning the first point is big,” said Appleton. “We’ll be relying on Kelly to get the first point in these matches and take the pressure off me and Jayson, it makes life a lot easier! The first match is always the toughest as you get used to the conditions.”
After an agonizing shootout defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei (Chieh-Yu Chou, Wu Kun Lin and Chang Jung-Lin), Canada (Veronique Menard, Ben Francis & Stephen Holem) were straight back to action against Bulgaria (Kristina Zlateva, Georgi Georgiev & Lyudmil Georgiev).
Kristina Zlateva added to Canada’s woes with a 4-2 win over Veronique Menard to put Bulgaria in front, but a singles win for Stephen Holem and then a 4-2 doubles win put Canada ahead. Bulgaria struck back through Georgi Georgiev to force Canada into their third consecutive shootout. One win and one defeat transpired from those matches, and in this one the glory was Bulgaria’s as all three Canadian’s missed their first innings.
The day’s play on the billiard.tv table came to a conclusion with a 3-0 win for Team Poland over Finland. Poland had just suffered a shootout defeat to Japan but responded instantly to keep their tournament hopes alive. First, Oliwia Zalewska won a hill-hill match against Laura Saarinen, then there was a men’s singles win for Tomasz Kaplan against wonderkid Riku Romppanen, before Zalewska and World 10-Ball champion Wojciech Szewczyk completed the win for Poland.
Play continues from 4pm on Thursday with two more rounds of action.
The draw and brackets for the Predator World Women’s 10-Ball Championship can be seen here: https://probilliardseries.com/event/1677/. Play continues at 9am on Wednesday.
The draw and brackets for the Predator World Teams Championship is at https://probilliardseries.com/event/1678/. Play continues 4pm on Wednesday.
The event is broadcasting two tables with full live coverage and commentary every day. One will be available on the World Billiard TV YouTube Channel and another will be at watchbilliard.tv. All tables can be viewed live at Kozoom.com.
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