KAMILA KHODJAEVA won her maiden Predator Ladies Euro Tour title as she overcame Turkey’s Eyllul Kibaroglu in a tense final at the BHR Treviso Hotel in Italy. The Belgian girl, who has been competing on this tour since 2012, had made two finals before, but this time survived a tense battle against the game Kibaroglu to run out a 7-6 winner.
The Belgian Khodjaeva, looked to have the match in her control as she led throughout but a late rally from Kibaroglu, a recent gold medallist in the 10-ball division at the European Championships, saw her reach the hill first with a rare golden break.
Khodjaeva though battled back to take the final two racks for a fantastic victory.
“I was already happy being in the final but this was a chance to beat my own record but now it’s just unbelievable to win and I really hope that it will continue like this,” said the champion.
“My sister (Diana) and I have found a new sponsor and we will be competing throughout next year in Euro Tours, European Championships and other events. I was 12 when I won my first European Championship in the juniors so it’s been a long time coming.
“I’ve been away from the tour for a while for various reasons but I always enjoy playing on the Euro Tour, the atmosphere is always amazing, the competition is great so I’m really looking forward to be playing more,” she added.
The match itself was a tense thriller. Khodjaeva took the opener after Kibaroglu failed to convert her break shot, and then a composed run out from the break made it 2-0. A clumsy escape from a snooker in the next gave Khodjaeva ball in hand and she calmy ran the table for an ominous 3-0 lead
In the next, with the 2-ball unavailable, the Belgian elected to push out. Kibaroglu made the most of her visit by laying a snooker and then running out when the opportunity came. Never looking entirely at ease, the Turkish lady managed to run out from the break to get the score to 2-3 and take some of the pressure off.
However, Khodjaeva increased her lead to two racks in the sixth game as she ran out from the break
And then a dry break from Kibaroglu signalled a safety battle before Khodjaeva failed to legally execute a jump shot escape to give ball in hand to Kibaroglu. She made no mistakes to keep herself in the match.
Both ladies had visits in the next rack, but Kibaroglu held her nerve to negotiate the table and level the score at 4-4.Khodjaeva, though, took the next against the break to restore her lead. A dry break though got Kibaroglu back to the table and she came with some terrific shots to clear and level this intriguing final up at 5-5.
A golden break from Kibaroglu got her to the hill first and gave her the lead for the first time in the match. Khodjaeva showed tremendous heart in the penultimate rack as she ran out under pressure to keep the match alive at hill-hill.
Disastrously, Kibaroglu broke dry in the final game. She then laid a difficult snooker which Khodjaeva escaped from with a jump shot to leave her opponent snookered. With the match hinging on this shot, Kibaroglu missed the one rail kick escape to give ball in hand to Khodjaeva. With the balls in some awkward positions the run out was no formality but she held on for victory,
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