INA KAPLAN IS the 2022 Predator St Johann im Pongau Women’s Open champion following a dominating performance in the final match as she beat Bojana Sarac (Serbia) 7-1 to lift the trophy. It is the German lady’s third Predator Euro Tour victory and following a hiatus due to Covid and giving birth to her second child, she returned stronger than ever as she finished the tournament undefeated, having never looked in danger throughout.
“I just had the feeling that I could do it and that I just had to calm down and just play my game and be focused. I really feel that when I can get this game all the time, then I can beat everybody!” said a delighted Kaplan.
The German won the lag and took the first rack in the race-to-7 final. Both had visits in the next before Kaplan ran out of position travelling to the 6 ball and her safety attempt allowed Sarac to run the table to level at 1-1. A great break from Kaplan in the next saw three balls disappear and she worked hard to complete an excellent run out and a 2-1 lead.
An unsuccessful break from Sarac allowed her opponent back to the table and Kaplan took the rack to open up a two-game lead. That soon became a three-game lead before Sarac looked on track in the next but missed a relatively easy 7 ball and Kaplan made no mistakes to increase her lead to 4-1.
Looking supremely confident and in total control of her game, Kaplan ran the next game to put herself within two of victory at 5-1. A solid break from Kaplan gave her a good look at the lowest numbered ball. She came unstuck though, missing the 6 ball but left it safe. Both players went back and forth before it was left to Kaplan to finish it off and reach the hill at 6-1.
Looking calm and composed, Kaplan completed what would be the final rack of the final as she planted the 9 ball to secure a marvellous 7-1 victory.
Commented Kaplan, “I finally got to the knowledge that I don't have to push myself all the time and to be so intense. Just be calm and play my game as I'm excited enough and have enough adrenaline in this situation. I have to mention Niels Feijen's Terminator College and the mental programme I took; I finally got the rewards and it's great!”
For Sarac it was a disappointing ending after she battled hard throughout the tournament after going to the one-loss side at the first opportunity. “I lost my first match 7-6 and felt really bad but I honestly thought I could come back and play really good which I did of course.
“I was also losing in a few matches - the quarter-finals I was losing 5-1 and I came back and I thought I could do the same but she played really great. I do feel like I can win a Euro Tour; this is about my fifth or sixth Euro Tour so I'm still at the beginning.”
Earlier, Ina Kaplan had defeated Turkey’s Eyllul Kibaroglu 7-3 on the main table to book her place in the final. Meanwhile, Sarac got the better of Tina Vogelmann, this time by 7-3.
All Predator Euro Tour Women tournaments are 9-ball and the field contest a double-elimination format, playing down to the last 16 competitors, and then single elimination until the finish. All matches are a race to 7 racks with alternate break. The next event on the Tour is the Predator Petrich Women’s Open which runs from 6th to 8th August in Bulgaria.
All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com