JOSHUA FILLER is the Dynamic Billard Treviso Open champion following a hard-fought 9-5 victory over Klenti Kaci at the BHR Treviso Hotel in the northern Italian city. It was the 24-year-old German’s third Euro Tour victory in a meteoric career that seems to have no limits.
The final was not the break and run fest that was anticipated; rather it turned into a tactical battle predicated on some supreme skill from both players. Kaci (Albania) didn’t do much wrong but was edged out in the safety play that dominated many of the racks.
An excited Joshua was analytical in victory; “The break was just not working for us and mostly we had to play a push out after the break which makes it more tactical and more often, I had the better ending. He played unbelievable though; neither of us missed an open shot which showed how great we played this final.
“We both deserved something but that’s how it is in sports – you only have one winner in the end and luckily this time it was me and I’m just delighted to have won it for the third time.”
With an enthusiastic crowd in the house, Kaci won the lag but had a disastrous first shot of the match as he scratched on the break, which his opponent took full advantage of to take the early lead. The second rack was cagey before Filler broke the deadlock to take a 2-0 lead.
A big break from Kaci left him snookered on the blue 2 and he elected to push out; it was the start of a pattern of unfortunate breaks. The pair exchanged some high-quality safeties and Kaci played a tight snooker on the 4 ball which Filler kicked out of but left it on. The tall Albanian took his chance to get to 2-1.
A dry break from Joshua left the 1 ball blocked and Kaci pushed out to a jump shot. Filler gave it back and Kaci made it and then potted the 3 ball with a great kick shot. From that position he cleared the table to level the score at 2-2.
There were more breaking woes in the next as an illegal one shot from Kaci got Filler back in and he wasted no time restoring his lead. Filler, though, scratched on the next break and Kaci immediately levelled with an elementary 2/9combo.
Yet another unlucky break shot saw the 2-ball blocked by the 7 and Kaci pushed out to a jump shot. Ultimately, Joshua flashed in a long 2-ball and then whizzed through the table for a 4-3 lead and then completed the first break and run in the eighth game to open up a two-rack lead.
It was essential that Kaci stay in touch and he carefully cleared the balls in the next to get the score to 5-4. Another fruitless break, this time from Filler, saw the 2-ball blocked by the 9 so he pushed out to a long 2 with the white on the rail. Kaci put him back in and he played a difficult snooker. Kaci left the 2 ball available and Filler took the chance to restore his two-rack lead at 6-4.
A good break by Kaci saw a ball drop and the remainder in the clear. Under pressure, he ran out to stay on Joshua's coat tails. Joshua then broke the back of the match as he followed suit with a terrific break and run and then won the next to move to the hill at 8-5. With the break off posing so many questions, Filler played it well and gave himself the golden opportunity to close out the championship.
The champion added, “I’m super, super happy! Tomorrow (Monday) we’re going to leave for the World Pool Masters so I have to strike it out of my head that I won because I have to focus on the next event because I want to win this one. Tonight, I’m going to have some drinks maybe and enjoy it but tomorrow I’m off to Gibraltar and need to get focused there. “
Earlier in the semi-finals, Filler had thwarted Wiktor Zielinski’s attempt to become the first man since 1994 to win three consecutive Euro Tour titles, defeating him 9-4. Kaci meanwhile, got the better of Tomasz Kaplan by a 9-3 scoreline.
All Euro Tour tournaments are 9-ball and players compete in a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 32 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are races to 9 racks with alternate break.
All the matches can be viewed at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com