JOSHUA FILLER IS the Dynamic Billard Slovenian Open Champion as he defeated Francisco Sanchez Ruiz by 9-5 to claim his fourth Euro Tour crown Lasko. It was a high-quality match but Filler just had a little too much for Sanchez Ruiz as one or two mistakes crept into the Spaniard’s game. Joshua went into an early 3-1 lead and never relinquished that advantage as he motored to the finishing line.
It was a massive day for the Fillers as Joshua’s wife Pia had earlier claimed her first Predator Ladies Euro Tour title in the same venue.
Commented Filler, “Myself and Pia winning was so special; it never happened before and making history is just unbelievable. Now we’re driving six hours home so not much time to celebrate tonight. Then we have three days so that will be good and then we’re flying to the US so not much time. We both enjoyed it and luckily, we both won which is amazing!”
There was expectation in the air as two of the world’s finest pool proponents faced off. In the semi-final matches, Filler put an end to Ralf Souquet’s wonderful run here with a 9-4 victory, while Sanchez Ruiz put paid to Mario He’s hopes by a similar scoreline.
A good break and run from Joshua opened the proceedings. He also took the next before a missed 4-ball got Sanchez Ruiz back in with a rack-scoring opportunity, from where he made no mistakes to get on the board at 2-1.
With two balls down off the break Francisco elected to push and Joshua followed with a nice safety.
They then traded safeties and escapes before Sanchez Ruiz left the 1-ball out in the open and Joshua cleared the table nicely for a 3-1 lead.
Sanchez Ruiz took the next against the break to keep in touch but in the sixth game, the cueball got snagged up with the 1-ball and he pushed out. Filler put him back in and disastrously, he scratched into the centre pocket. It was a heaven-sent chance for Filler and he ran out for a 4-2 lead.
A miss on the red 3 from the Spaniard got Filler back to the table but he could only play safe.
Both then missed difficult pots on the 3-ball before it fell clearly for Filler. He ran through the balls to establish a three-rack lead at 5-2.
Sanchez Ruiz needed to strike back in the next and he did so to get the score to 5-3. Filler though, ran out from the break to restore his three-rack lead. Both players had visits in the next before Sanchez Ruiz took the chance to clear the table for 6-4.
A rock-hard snooker from Filler gave himself ball-in-hand when Sanchez Ruiz's two-rail escape failed to make contact with the 2-ball. With a cluster of balls around the spot, Filler laid another snooker that had his opponent reaching for his jump stick. He made contact with the four ball but it left it out in the open for Filler. It wasn't the easiest layout but the German star found a way and the score moved to 7-4.
The Euro Tour No.1 wasn't done as he knuckled down and ran the next rack but with alternate break, it was Filler's match to lose. The 2-ball wasn't available to pot in the next so Filler laid a safety. The escape was an easy one but with the balls clustered, the outcome was not.
Filler had the table and another snooker, this time on the 4-ball, saw Sanchez Ruiz scratch. It was a comfortable ball-in-hand opportunity for Filler and he took it to reach the hill at 8-5. A good break from the Spaniard spread the balls nicely and he nudged the 2-ball in off the 3 to keep himself at the table.
Calamitously, he snookered himself unnecessarily to end his visit. Filler came to the table with a difficult long cut on the 4 and he missed it. With nothing clear, Sanchez Ruiz had a bit of a hit-and-hope as he sent the pink 4 flying up and down the table. He left it on and Filler needed no second chances as he dished up for glory.
Added Filler, “The table was playing much, much better today but in the first match against Ralf today I made a few mistakes because I wasn’t really used to the table but in the final, I felt more comfortable because I’d had one match already on the table. My break wasn’t really that good in the whole tournament, but I won, surprisingly. I’m just over the moon that I won!”
Sanchez Ruiz was circumspect in defeat; “I’m not that disappointed because I think I played good these last couple of days but today I didn’t play so good. Against Mario in the semi-final, I got so lucky, that’s why I won but in the final, I didn’t feel so confident but Filler always plays good. For me, he’s the best right now.”
All the matches can be viewed live at www.kozoom.com as well as selected matches on Facebook Live on the EPBF page. In addition, the semi-finals and final, played out on Monday night, will be live or highlights on the following television stations across Europe;
SportKlub HD – Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Greece
Eyecons – Netherlands)
SportKlub – Poland
ORF – Austria
B1B Box – Bulgaria
Results, live scoring and draw are available at www.epbf.com
As well as the prize money, there are Tour ranking points on offer as well as world ranking points, so there is everything to play for. 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.