Eklent Kaçi has moved inside the top ten on the World Nineball Tour Rankings to number seven after clinching his maiden Matchroom title at the weekend in London beating Joshua Filler to claim the UK Open Pool Championship crown and the $30,000 first-place prize.
- Eklent Kaçi rises to No.2 on Race to Mosconi Cup standings for Team Europe
- 67 countries represented on World Nineball Tour with ever-growing list
- Joshua Filler becomes new World No.2 overall leapfrogging Shane Van Boening
Kaçi’s win over Filler 13-4 came just weeks after heartbreak in the final of the World Pool Masters where Ko Pin Yi downed the Albanian Eagle but Sunday was a sliding doors moment as he shook off the demons of old to claim a memorable win with his brother watching on. The $30,000 prize sees Kaçi leapfrog into the top ten at world number seven, the highest position since the World Nineball Tour Rankings were launched in January 2021.
For Kaçi, the mission to return to the Mosconi Cup is well and truly on with the youngest-ever player to appear in the tournament back in 2018 rising to second with closest rival Jayson Shaw $4,600 behind on the Race to Mosconi Cup Rankings with three automatic spots up for grabs.
After claiming glory, Kaçi said: “I feel amazing. This is the first singles event that I have won in the Matchroom arena. Emily always asked me when I would win a trophy! I felt focused and I stayed calm. I played the right shots with no crazy efforts and played safe when I needed to. Joshua didn’t have many chances and when you stay in the chair for too long, you do not feel comfortable. I feel I will be a bigger problem in Matchroom events now.”
Race to Mosconi Cup standings heat up
A run to the semi-finals for two-time Mosconi Cup MVP Skyler Woodward has elevated the Kentucky star inside the world’s top 16. Still, more importantly, he now holds the first automatic spot available for Team USA ahead of Shane Van Boening by $6,200. The UK Open was also a sign of things to come for rising star Shane Wolford who cruelly missed out in the last 16 to Mieszko Fortunski in a hill-hill loss. For Wolford, the run sees him currently occupy the third automatic spot for Team USA.
2022 Cuetec MVP Joshua Filler’s run to the final has done the Killer’s automatic hopes the world of good with the German taking home his biggest winnings in a World Nineball Tour Ranking event last week to be sixth in the Race to Mosconi Cup standings shy of Mario He by only $830.
Three spots for both Team Europe and USA are up for grabs off the World Nineball Tour Rankings with all eyes on the one-year list for hopefuls. The first automatic pick for each side will be locked in after the conclusion of the European Open Pool Championship set to take place in Fulda, Germany from August 8-13 with the second automatic selection to follow at the US Open Pool Championship from September 25-30 at Harrah’s Resort, Atlantic City before the final automatic spot will be given after the conclusion of the inaugural Asian Open Pool Championship from October 10-15.
No fewer than 51 nationalities were represented last week at the UK Open Pool Championship with the diverse nature of the World Nineball Tour reflected in the rankings with 67 countries now featuring on the rankings and 33 within the top 100 alone.
Filler’s run to the final also sees him snatch the WNT No.2 spot off 2022 World Champion Shane Van Boening with a slender $300 separating the pair. Ko’s loss in the semi-finals to Filler sees the Chinese Taipei star move to 11th in the world with brother Ping Chung breaking into the top 20 for the first time after reaching the quarter-finals losing out to eventual winner Kaçi. Fortunski is now the second-highest-ranked Pole on the World Nineball Tour Rankings after missing out in the quarter-finals at world number 18.
NEXT WORLD NINEBALL TOUR EVENT
The Chuck Markulis Memorial will take place at Oscar Dominguez’s Hard Times Billiards of Sacramento in California with the field expected to include some of the biggest names in pool including two-time Mosconi Cup MVP from June 8-11 2023.
NEXT MATCHROOM EVENT
The next signature Matchroom multi-table open event comes next at the Pazo de Ferias y Congresos de Lugo in Spain for the first-ever Spanish Open Pool Championship from June 20 to June 25 with the first-ever FSR Junior Open taking place on June 23-24. Buy your tickets here from €15.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool will follow in Spain from June 27 to July 2 in the same venue with the tournament seeing 31 countries battle it out for glory as the hosts look to defend their title.