Eklent Kaçi and Ko Pin Yi will contest the 2023 World Pool Masters final at the Brentwood Centre, England from 7:00 pm tonight live on Sky Sports in the UK and broadcasters worldwide including on Matchroom.Live in Albania and Sportscast in Chinese Taipei.
Niels Feijen 10-11 Eklent Kaci
Ko Pin Yi 11-9 James Aranas
A mouthwatering European clash always promised to deliver in the opening semi-final and it did in bundles with another high-quality match that ended up going the distance. Kaçi was in his third straight World Pool Masters semi-final whilst Niels Feijen was looking to keep the dreams of a third crown going and it was the latter who got off to the better start.
Feijen did a lot of the early running, it was a clinic at times as the record Mosconi Cup MVP holder cantered into a 3-0 lead at the first commercial break before that lead soon became 6-0 with 11 the magic number for a spot in the final against either Ko or James Aranas. Kaçi needed something to go his way and he started to find some hope after taking the seventh and eighth racks in quick succession. Feijen had plenty of table time but with Kaçi having the break it was in his hands if he was to mark a comeback for the ages.
Kaçi was making 3/4 balls per break and offered the perfect roadmap to come through and soon level at six apiece leaving Feijen frozen in his chair. It was six on the spin and the tide had well and truly turned.
The Albanian smelt blood and went 9-7 up and only two away from a maiden final but Feijen found something from within after an errant effort on the four in the following rack from Kaçi opened the table up. It was a nervy finish as Feijen tried a thin cut on the two but scratched which brought Kaçi to the table who ran out to reach the hill first with a three-rack advantage.
Breaking on the hill, Kaçi scratched on the break which allowed Feijen in to make it 10-8 before 10-9 and soon 10-10 with the pair facing being put through the wringer for one final rack. Feijen with the break broke dry for the first time in a while in the match which left Kaçi with a routine runout to reach the 2023 World Pool Masters final.
Ko awaits in the final after victory over Aranas in another tense contest fitting of such a prestigious title on offer. Aranas won the lag but broke dry in a familiar story for the Filipino and before he knew it he was 2-0 down to the 2015 world champion. Aranas’ break had deserted him for large parts of the week but he found something to level back at two all but that success was brief as Ko hit back to lead again 3-2. Despite the lead, Ko’s break was also lacking the usual gusto and it allows Aranas back and soon he hit the front once again at 4-3.
Twists and turns were a mainstay of the match and soon they were all square at 6-6. Aranas made two timely break and runs to put some daylight between the pair. The drama was high strung and a brief safety encounter led to ball in hand for Ko with the five proving tricky for Aranas causing a foul. Ko cleared up to pull one behind. A dry break at 7-8 for Ko allowed Aranas in to steal a march and be two away.
The drama wasn’t done just yet though with a costly thin cut on the two leaving Aranas wanting to let Ko back to one away, the jump cue was on fire for the latter who finally hit a sweet note. Soon, that was level at 9-9 thanks to the first golden break of the match in Ko’s favour.
Into what proved to be final rack, Ko made a good break but was left with a missable cut on the two but fluked a safety. Aranas cracked and fouled to give ball in hand for Ko after his kick was way off the mark. From there, Ko stole victory from the claws of Aranas.
The final begins from 7 pm UK time tonight with 13 the magic number for victory and a maiden World Pool Masters crown for either Kaçi or Ko.
Watch live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Spain, Italy, and Brazil as well as on Viaplay in the Netherlands, Poland, Scandinavia, and the Baltics. If no broadcaster is available in your country, watch the action on Matchroom.Live. See where to watch in your country here.
The World Pool Masters returns to the UK for the first time since 2015 with a fresh look as the field reverts back to 16 players with 14 of the 16 automatically earning their place from the World Nineball Tour Rankings with two wild cards completing the field. Round 1 matches are Race to 9 with quarter and semi-final encounters Race to 11 before the final stretches to a Race to 13 for the first time. The prize fund has also been bolstered to $125,000 with the winner taking home $40,000.