Joshua Filler ruled supreme at the Derby City Classic, the second WNT Ranking Event of the year, winning the 9-ball division for the first time in his career after a 9-8 finals victory over Pijus Labutis.
The title, which was contested on Sunday morning at Caesars Southern Indiana Casino in Elizabeth, IN, is the German’s first singles World Nineball Tour Ranking title since the Dynamic Slovenia Open in October 2022.
Both Filler and Labutis had been competing for more than 24 hours before facing off in the final, with the German eliminating John Morra and Labutis taking out Vitaly Patsura in the semi-finals.
Due to the buy-back format of the Derby City Classic, Labutis having remained unbeaten thus far throughout, Mosconi Cup MVP Filler would have to defeat the Lithuanian twice to take the crown.
Having been comfortably beaten 9-5 in the penultimate set, Labutis used the buyback option going on to record seven racks from 7-1 behind to reach the hill and one away from a first WNT Ranking title.
Breaking for the match, a scratch on the two ball let Filler in, forcing a deciding rack. Despite this, the Lithuanian was at the table and looked comfortable to see out the match but was left to rue a crucial miss on the five ball. Filler would clean up and secure the $16,000 prize – subsequently rising to fourth in the World Nineball Tour Rankings.
A marathon effort across the weekend saw the 26 year old take down the Bigfoot, 9-ball banks, and Master of the Table titles too.
After a strong run to the final, Labutis sees himself climb up to 36th in the Rankings, with John Morra rising to 26th.
Vitaliy Patsura’s first WNT semi-final moves the Ukrainian from 116th up to 78th in the world.
Next WNT Event
Medellin Open – 7-11 February
Master Club Billares, Medellin, Colombia
For the first time in the history of the World Nineball Tour, pool heads to South America with the Medellin Open. In partnership with Billiards UMCB, the Ranking Event at Master Club Billares, Medellin will see a handful of the world’s elite professionals travel for the inaugural event in Colombia, including European Open winner David Alcaide, Connecticut Open winner Moritz Neuhausen and rising Danish star Mickey Krause amongst the 128-man field.
More Info available here.
Article Photo Credit: Vincent Rochefort Photography