From his early days of competing in pocketing billiards events, Russia’s Fedor Gorst has always shown a proficiency for jumping the cue ball over pesky, obstructing balls. When the young man was a mere teenager, he used a pinpoint jump shot over Konstantin Stepanov in the finals of a Russian event to earn his first victory. Ever since, it’s been common knowledge among European competitors that sending the cue ball airborne for Gorst is as mundane as a stop shot for them.
The 21-year-old from Moscow was at it again Saturday night in the finals of the inaugural U.S. Pro Billiard Series Arizona Open, using two successful jump shots in his final game to secure the second set of his match against Carlo Biado, then executing four consecutive spot shots in sudden death to secure the title. Gorst, who earned a World 9-Ball championship in 2019 and competed on last year’s winning European Mosconi Cup squad, posted an undefeated record throughout the four-day, 46-player event held last week at Casino Del Sol Resort in Tuscon.
“I was just trying to focus,” said Gorst after the second set was completed and he approached the sudden death frame. “I was super pumped up in that last rack and I was trying to calm down.”
Biado, who has a World 9-Ball title of his own, jumped out to an early advantage during the first set, using a missed 1 ball by his opponent coupled with a break-and-run to take a 2-0 lead in a race-to-four. Gorst rallied in the middle stages, clearing the table during the third game after the Filipino failed to pocket a ball on the break and taking advantage of missed shots by Biado in the next two games to gain the lead, 3-2. At the table with the chance to win the set in the sixth game, the Russian couldn’t pocket a ball on his break. Biado cleared the table then took advantage of a Gorst foul in the next rack to snatch the set, 4-3.
Needing to win the second set to force a shootout, Gorst could not have asked for a better beginning final frame, pocketing the 10 ball on the break to climb onto the scoreboard first. Biado used a misplayed safety to tie the score at a game each but when he failed to pocket a ball on the break in the next game, the Russian pounced – running out the third game and adding a break-and-run to inch ahead, 3-1. Seeing the cue ball’s path blocked nearby balls, Gorst reached for his jump cue and used the instrument to jump in the 3 and 5 balls – securing a 4-1 victory, tying the match at a set apiece and forcing an extra frame.
Gorst’s hot shooting would continue in the extra session, as he sent cut shot after cut shot tumbling into the corner pocket while his opponent struggled to find his stroke, missing back-to-back attempts after landing his opening shot. Biado had a chance to extend the extra set in the fourth frame but missed again.
The U.S. Pro Billiard Series returns to action with the Diamond Las Vegas Open September 1-4 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.The Arcadia Arizona Open was the first stop in the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features five open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created as a partnership between Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem along side of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $100,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas.For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.