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8-ball titles awarded at the Dynamic Billard European Championships

Left to right: Eklent Kaci, Jouni Tahti, Kristina Tkach and Pijus Labutis

The 8-ball competition at this year’s Dynamic Billard European Championships have been decided. The matches in the different divisions contained everything from expectations to drama and highly thrilling matches.

The final match in the men’s division was played between Eklent Kaci (ALB) and Ralf Souquet (GER). This match was not only the encounter of two high profile athletes but also a clash of two generations. While „The Kaiser“ Ralf Souquet has already won an unbelievable number of 22 Gold Medals at European Championships, Kaci was still waiting on his first one. Souquet has achieved almost everything that a pool billiard player can achieve while Kaci is still on the start of his career. On the other hand, Kaci has won some prestigious events throughout last year and can considered to be „on fire“ currently while Souquet is on his regular level. This constellation was the interesting starting position of the match. Tonight, Kaci had the better day and after seven racks, he was already leading 6:1 over Souquet. Needing only two more points, it would be hard for just anyone to stop Kaci. But Souquet still tried and managed to get some excitement back into a match which seemed to be long time decided. He fought back and pulled some racks back from Kaci to get to 4:6 and 6:7. When Kaci was on the hill at 7:6, he made no more mistakes and pocketed the final 8-ball which made him a European 8-Ball Champion for the first time in his life.

Top 8 Men’s 8-ball
1. Eklent Kaci ALB
2. Ralf Souquet GER
3. Fabio Rizzi FRA
    Sanjin Pehlivanovic BIH
5. Mats Schjetne NOR
    Fedor Gorst RUS
    Joao Grilo POR
    Niels Feijen NED

The women’s final quickly turned into a nightmare for Kristina Tkach (RUS) in the beginning. She was up against Jasmin Ouschan (AUT) and could not get a foot on the floor. She actually had the better break but could not turn that into points. Tkach even committed a foul using too much time for her shot since the match was on shot-clock and she simply exceeded the time permitted for her shot. On the other hand, Ouschan started out as focussed and composed as usual. Even though the break did not work for Ouschan, she managed to snatch the points from Tkach one by one. It took until rack five was played before Tkach got on the board, reducing the gap to 1:4. When opening rack six, Tkach scratched and again gave ball in hand to Ouschan. This time, Ouschan could not clear the table and allowed Tkach back into the table, missing the 6-ball. Tkach pocketed all balls of her group and made the 8-ball to get to 2:4 with Ouschan’s break shot coming up. Jasmin had two balls down on the break shot but again was not able to finish the rack, leaving another point on the table for Tkach to pick it up. However, both players committed several mistakes during this rack which is a clear indication for the pressure that was on both of them. Tkach managed to win the rack, getting to 3:4. In the next rack, Tkach had the chance to level the match but she miscued and once more gave ball in hand to Jasmin Ouschan with a wide open table. Ouschan played up to her abilities and finished the rack, getting on the hill with 5:3. In the next rack, Ouschan had her first good break shot of the match with balls down and a nice and comfortable layout in front of her. That was a huge chance for Ouschan to finish the match win the title. But to her and the audiences surprise she missed her first shot. What an unusual performance by Ouschan in this final. Tkach now used her chance and ran the table, getting to 4:5 in this match. The next rack, Tkach broke and ran out to make the match a 5:5 hill-hill thriller with Jasmin Ouschan’s break shot coming up. One more time Ouschan did not make a ball on the break and handed an open table to Tkach. The unbelievable happened in that rack. After having trailed 1:4, Kristina Tkach won another rack and took the match and the title 6:5 over Jasmin Ouschan.

Top 8 Women’s 8-ball
1. Kristina Tkach RUS
2. Jasmin Ouschan AUT
3. Yana Shut BLR
    Kristina Zlateva BUL
5. Veronika Hubrtova CZE
    Vania Franco POR
    Sara Rocha POR
    Oliwia Czuprynska POL

In the wheelchair division, the match between Jouni Tahti (FIN) and Roy Kimberley (GBR) went according to the expectations. Tahti dominated Southern from start to the end and lead 3:0 and 4:1. The exceptional player from Finland never gave a chance to Southern who simply could not find any way to prevent Tahti from winning racks. When Tahti pocketed the final 8-ball, the scoreboard displayed a 5:2 final score in his favour. Tonight Jouni Tahti won his 25th Gold Medal on European level.

Top 8 Wheelchair 8-ball
1. Jouni Tahti FIN
2. Roy Kimberley GBR
3. Henrik Larsson SWE
    Tony Southern GBR
5. Matej Brajkovic SLO
    Maksim Suchanov LTU
    Leszek Blumczynski POL
    Kaspars Turks LAT

In the Under 23 division, Pijus Labutis (LTU) met Vitaliy Patsura (UKR). Patsura had already taken a Gold Medal in Men’s 8-ball, Junior’s 10-ball and last year in Under 23 9-ball. He was definitely favoured in this match. Labutis on the other hand has won two silver and one bronze medal but no title yet. That was one fact that the young Lithuanian wanted to change tonight. He quickly got to a 3:1 lead and he always kept Patsura at a 2-rack distance away from him. When leading 5:3, Labutis won a key rack in the match and got to 7:3. The pressure with Labutis being on the hill was too much for Patsura. He won another rack but then Labutis sealed the deal for tonight, winning the match and his first title ever with 8:4.

Top 8 Under 23 8-ball
1. Pijus Labutis LTU
2. Vitaliy Patsura UKR
3. Casper Matikainen FIN
    Luca Menn GER
5. Johannes Schmitt GER
    Daniel Resch AUT
    Jan van Lierop NED
    Aleks Pecelj SRB

The medal table after 3 of 5 events displays Poland still on top with 2 Gold, one Silver and one Bronze Medal with Russia right up their neck, only one Bronze Medal short. Finland is currently ranked third with one medal of each colour.

Earlier today, the first team matches have been played. The women’s team matches did not come up with big surprises. The two closest matches were Sweden defeated The Netherlands 2:1 while Russia remained the upper hand over Belarus 2:1. In the men’s team competition, some close and exciting matches already happened in this early stage of the tournament. Team Russia overcame defending Champion Team Poland in a heartbreaker with 2:1 (Gorst v Fortunski 6:8, Stepanov v Skowerski 8:7, Lutsker v Juszczyszyn 9:8) while Team Germany had a tough time in taking down Team Albania with 2:1 (Hohmann v Kaci 5:8, Souquet v Zaja 8:7, Filler v Spahiu 9:5). Probably the biggest surprise was Team Denmark winning over Team the Netherlands with 2:1 (Krause v Saris 8:3, Lotfy v van den Berg 6:7, Lentz v Bijsterbosch 9:5).

The Dynamic Billard European Championships 2019 for men, women, U23 and wheelchair athletes will commence tomorrow morning at 09:00 CET with matches in the 9-ball individuals competition Women and Under 23s.

The Championships are played on 24 tables which are all streamed LIVE throughout the whole event. In order to be able to follow all the action LIVE, premium membership can be obtained at www.kozoom.com. Once a premium membership is held, all events for the respective period of time can be viewed LIVE. Additionally, a huge video gallery is contained in the website.

The event is hosted by the European Governing Body for Pool, the European Pocket Billiard Federation (EPBF) and organized by International Billiard Promotion (IBP). For further information and reference please go to the federation website www.epconline.eu or visit us on Facebook for regular news clips or contact our press office press@epbf.com.