By Keith Paradise
CSI Staff Writer
Three weeks ago, Estonia’s Denis Grabe pitched a 4-0 shutout in first set of the semifinals of the Diamond Las Vegas Open only to lose out to Wu Kun-Lin in a sudden death shootout.
Playing in the second round of the Michigan Open Wednesday night, history basically repeated itself against Poland’s Konrad Juszczyszyn. Grabe breezed through the first set, narrowly lost the second, then watched the match slip away in a sudden death shootout, as Juszczyszyn came from behind to stay on the winner’s side four-day event being held at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
After receiving a bye in the opening round, Grabe used some stellar shot making and safety play to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Juszczyszyn had an opportunity to cut the deficit to 2-1 but missed a 3 ball, allowing his opponent to tack on another rack. The upcoming young star from Poland secured the fourth game after Grabe left an opening on a safety, but the Estonian closed out the set, 4-1, after another victorious safety exchange.
Juszczyszyn, who opened the tournament with a first round victory against Russia’s Ruslan Chinahov, was far from finished, jumping out to a 3-1 lead in the next set thanks to sound safety play of his own paired with an unforced error by his opponent. Grabe cut the lead to 3-2 and tied the match at three games each thanks to – what else? – a victorious safety battle. Looking to win the set and avoid a shootout, Grabe failed to pocket a ball on the break, allowing Juszczyszyn to punch the 1 ball into the corner pocket and execute a combination shot on the 10 ball to win the set and force sudden death.
Grabe struggled in the shootout, missing the spot shots on his second and third attempt, while Juszczyszyn pocketed three out of four balls to secure the win.
Grabe now moves to the one-loss side of the bracket, where he will meet Sharik Sayed Thursday morning.
Later in the evening, Spain’s Francisco Sanchez-Ruiz narrowly avoided a shootout against Daniel Schneider, winning in straight sets, 4-0, 4-3.
Despite failing to pocket a ball on the break three times in the opening set, the Spaniard was able to take advantage of a handful of missed shots from his opponent along with a break-and-run of his own to secure the victory. Things appeared to be secure for Sanchez-Ruiz in the second as he built a 3-1 lead, but gave up back-to-back racks to Schneider after he misplayed a safety then missed the 4 ball in the side pocket in the sixth game. When Sanchez-Ruiz misplayed a safety on the 1 ball in the deciding rack a shootout seemed imminent, but Schneider missed the object ball in the corner pocket. The Spaniard cleared the table, winning the match and escaping a trip to the loser’s side of the bracket.
In other matches from the day, United States Open Pool Championship runner-up Aloysius Yapp defeated Warren Kiamco in straight sets, 4-1, 4-0, and World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis blanked Mohammad Ali Berjaoui, 4-0, 4-2. World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci also defeated Russia’s Kristina Tkach, 4-0, 4-1.
Competition resumes Thursday, with live matches being broadcast on Billiard TV as well as WorldBilliardTV’s YouTube page beginning at noon eastern time. Notable matches include Russia’s Fedor Gorst taking on Kaci and Canada’s John Morra matching up against Poland’s Oliver Szolnoki at noon as well as American Tyler Styer meeting Austria’s Mario He at 5 p.m.
This event also is the third stop of the U.S. Pro Billiard Series, which features five open professional events between July and the end of the year. Created by Predator Group and amateur league operator CueSports International, these tournaments will run in tandem alongside of CSI league amateur events being held throughout the country. The winner of each competition receives a guaranteed spot in the $125,000-added 2022 Predator World 10-Ball Championship, which will be held March 28 through April 1 in Las Vegas at the Rio Hotel and Casino.
This competition is played on Predator Pro pool tables covered with Predator Arcadia performance cloth, with Predator Arcos II precision balls, and under the Predator Arena billiard lights.
For more information on the U.S. Pro Billiard Series or amateur leagues, visit www.playcsipool.com.
For the latest information on the Predator Pro Billiard Series action, follow @ProBilliardSeries on Facebook and Instagram. For Live broadcasting watch Billiard TV or follow WorldBilliardTV on YouTube for replays.