JOSHUA FILLER CLAIMED his sixth Euro Tour title as he defeated Konrad Juszczyszyn 9-6 to win the Dynamic Billard Terme Olimia Open, staged in Podčetrtek, Slovenia. Both players gave it their best but Filler found that additional gear that he can bring into play when a title is on the line.
It was his third Euro Tour title in 18 months and with no weak aspect to his game, it’s easy to see why he starts out as a favourite in any tournament he enters. Juszczyszyn, himself is no slouch but his break let him down a couple of times and in the alternate break format, that can prove fatal against a player of Filler’s immense abilities.
The 25 year-old German got the match underway, downing a ball and having a nice shot on the 1 but a missed combination saw Juszczyszyn to the table for the first time. From there, the Pole cleared up to take the first rack against the break.
It was a good break from Juszczyszyn but there was no potting shot on the 1 ball so he pushed out.
Joshua then played a wonderful safety which Juszczyszyn jumped out of leaving a table-length shot, cueing out of the pocket. Filler dropped the first ball of the rack and followed it with a crunching bank shot on the 2 ball. A big miss on the 3 ball though, gave the Pole table time.
A good pot on the 3 ball saw him blocked out on the 4. It looked a simple jump shot but with the object ball so close to the pocket, the white followed it in. With ball in hand Filler levelled it up
Joshua made a couple off his next break but couldn’t go on the offensive and in the end a misplaced safety allowed Juszczyszyn to make a confident run out.
Three balls off the break from Juszczyszyn left an enticing table but a missed long 3 ball left it at Filler's mercy and he wasted no time in levelling the match at 2-2. Another nice break from Filler allowed him to run the rack. It was the first break and run and the first time a player had won a rack from their own break.
Juszczyszyn made the 1 ball off the break but the 2 ball was tricky. He missed but his two-way shot left Filler blocked. Filler kicked out and put Juszczyszyn in some trouble. His jump shot made contact with the object ball but threw it out into the open. Filler seized the chance as he rapidly despatched the table to claim a 4-2 lead.
Sensing his opportunity, Filler hammered the pack and saw three balls disappear and in no time, it was 5-2. Juszczyszyn fired back in the next in a rack that he could ill-afford to lose but he played it well to reduce the deficit.
Another Filler special in the next saw three balls pocketed and a great chance for a run out.
Unexpectedly he missed a straight mid-range 2 ball and Juszczyszyn took advantage to drag himself back to 5-4 and very much keep himself in the match.
Despite a forceful break, Konrad fell victim to the 3-point rule which saw Filler return to the table. He laid a nice safety which Juszczyszyn escaped well from but it just gave Filler another chance to lock him up. They went back and forth before Filler left a 3/8 combination along the rail which Juszczyszyn executed to set him on his way to winning the rack and squaring the match at 5-5.
Another great break from Filler allowed him to execute some lovely positional shots to work his way around the table and take the lead once more. Juszczyszyn made two balls off the break but a difficult shot, bridging over the 7, saw the 3 miss. Joshua was away but was forced into a safety on the 4 ball and played a snooker. Konrad went one rail, made contact but scratched into the centre pocket. With ball-in-hand, Filler cleared up to move to 7-5.
One ball off the break kept Filler at the table and he used his excellent safety game to leave Juszczyszyn in a spot. He jumped out of trouble but the 1 ball was available down table. Filler potted it and from there got himself to the hill at 8-5.
Disappointingly, Juszczyszyn came up with a dry as well as illegal break but was saved when Joshua missed on the 1 ball. It was a life-line which he grabbed with both hands to get a rack back and trail by two. However, another three ball break set Filler up for the winning run out and he looked as good as ever to seal victory.
Commented Filler, “I think my biggest weapon on the Euro Tour is the break. I think I just hit it in the perfect spot and always made two or three balls and got position and this always gives me confidence at these events and a big advantage over other great players and I think that’s why I can come with my best game.
“Overall, I felt good all week so it’s amazing to have won here for the sixth time and back-to-back. There are 10 to 15 Polish players and it’s always hard to play against those players because they play great but as I said, just with my break and the way I feel, I think it’s hard to beat me and when I come out the gate strong and have a good lead it’s hard to catch me up,” he added.
Earlier, Filler had defeated Marc Bijsterbosch in the semi-finals and the Dutchman’s third-place finish will improve his pre-tournament standing of 8th on the rankings. In the other last-four match, Juszczyszyn defeated Georgi Georgiev, who was making his first ever Euro Tour semi-final appearance.
As well as the prize money, there are Tour ranking points on offer, 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.
All the matches can be viewed live by visiting www.epbf.com/tournaments/eurotour/ and clicking on the ‘LIVE’ button. This will take you through to viewing options. In addition, selected matches will be streamed on Facebook Live on the EPBF page.
Results, live scoring, and draw are available at www.epbf.com