There isn’t a professional pool player in the world who had a more fruitful month of January that Russia’s Fedor Gorst.
The 21-year-old from Moscow opened the year with a runner-up finish at the Joss Northeast 9-Ball Tour’s Turning Stone Classic then won his second straight Arcadia Arizona Open, cruising past Filipino Roland Garcia in straight sets to earn $25,000. Two weeks later, Gorst was in southern Indiana at the Derby City Classic where he earned top honors in the bank pool and one pocket events, on his way to becoming the youngest player in the event’s 20-year history to earn Master of the Table honors.
“When I’m winning, they usually come in a row,” said Gorst, who also won the World 9-Ball Championship in 2019.
Gorst hopes to continue is winning ways this weekend in the Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells at the inaugural Apex Wisconsin Open, the second event of this year’s U.S. Pro Billiard Series starting today at Ho-Chunk Gaming. This 64-competitor, double-elimination 10-ball tournament is bringing some of the game’s best to the upper Midwest, with Gorst, reigning World 10-Ball champion Eklent Kaci and current World Pool Masters champion Alex Kazakis of Greece scheduled to compete. The opening round of play will be broadcast live on Billiard TV, an online streaming channel available on numerous platforms such as XUMO, Distro and Sports.TV as well as the World Billiard TV YouTube channel.
The Wisconsin Open is Kaci’s first event of the new year after helping Europe retain the Mosconi Cup at London’s Alexandra Palace in December. No one could blame the Albanian for taking an extended period of time off after a fall that not only included Mosconi Cup and World 10-Ball wins but also a convincing victory in Predator’s Austrian Open, easily besting American Tyler Styer in straight sets. With Kaci adding third-place finishes at the World Pool Masters and Matchroom’s Championship League Pool, the Albanian earned a career-best $103,411 in prize money for the year.
Also making the trip for this weekend’s event is Garcia, who has spent the better part of the last 12 months nipping at the heels of some of the biggest names in professional pool. The Filipino, who turned in a top-three performance last month in the 9-ball division at Derby City and a 10th place finish in one-pocket, earned fifth place finishes at last year’s Arcadia Arizona Open and the Diamond Las Vegas Open. As a result, Garcia earned $26,136 in tournament winnings for the year – a career high. Thanks to his performances in Arizona and Derby City, the Filipino is on pace to eclipse that number this year, having already earned $24,545.
The last time that Mario He and Aloysius Yapp were in the United States, the two of them were barnstorming as part of a pack of pool players taking in the sights and competing throughout the country in action matches and tournaments for three months straight. The two of them, who return to action this weekend at the Open, made the most of their travel time, with He taking the title at September’s Michigan Open and Yapp earning top honors at the FargoRate Ohio Open. Yapp also finished third at the World 10-Ball Championship and advanced all the way to the finals of the U.S. Open Pool Championship in Atlantic City before falling to Carlo Biado in the finals.
During the last year, as tournament pool experienced a resurgence as the world started to reopen from the COVID-19 pandemic, Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Mika Immonen decided he wanted a renaissance of his own. Having struggled in recent years to advance deep in big tournaments, the 49-year-old decided to put himself on a new diet, practice and exercise regimen. The work both at the practice table and the gym has been paying off, with Immonen finishing in the top-five at the International Open last year and fourth at Turning Stone. The Hall of Famer, who is back in action in Wisconsin, had a productive week at Derby City as well, finishing third in the Big Foot Challenge and sixth in the 9-ball division.
Other competitors scheduled to compete this weekend include United States Mosconi Cup members Tyler Styer and Chris Reinhold, World Pool Championships runner-up Omar Al Shaheen and BCA Hall of Famer Darren Appleton, who is coming off of a third-place finish in the one pocket division at the Derby City Classic.
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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.
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