EKLENT KACI IS 2023 UK OPEN POOL CHAMPION
Eklent Kaçi has won the 2023 UK Open Pool Championship beating defending champion Joshua Filler 13-4 in the final at the Copper Box Arena, London live on Sky Sports in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Spain, and Brazil as well as on Sport1 in Germany, and Matchroom.Live in Albania.
Joshua Filler 4 – 13 Eklent Kaçi
Filler won the lag but scratched from the break to leave Kaçi at the table to clear up before a break and run in the second put the Albanian up by two early doors. Into the third and Kaçi missed the one to allow Filler to hook his opponent. From there, the table opened up for Filler to come in and run out for 2-1 and soon with a break and run that was 2-2.
Early on, there was uncharacteristic errors from both sides with both finding their feet in the contest. Kaçi took the next two racks to lead 4-2 with a break and run in the sixth to leave Filler two behind once again. Little could split the pair and a dry break in the following rack brought Filler in to be one behind and then level with his own dish up. Filler’s dry break at 4-4 led to Kaçi back at the table to take the resulting two racks and nearing the halfway stage.
The contest was well and truly simmering nicely.
Kaçi knew he had to do something special to tame the killer in Filler and he did that with an excellent effort to run out in the ninth after a dry break from Filler before a four-pack put the Albanian in firm control of the contest at 10-4, three more for victory and a maiden Nineball title in a run that included two combos on the nine to be in the ascendancy with the foot down on the throttle.
At 10-4, Filler was afforded a rare opportunity at the table but he saw his jump effort on the three wide of the mark and Kaçi swooped in once again to be two away from victory.
Just a few weeks ago, Kaçi was on the end of heartbreak to Ko Pin Yi just down the A12 in Essex at the World Pool Masters but there would be no repeat of that with his elder brother watching on, it was going to be joy at the end of this run.
A cool figure whenever at the table, it felt like a watershed moment for Kaçi who has came up short on the Matchroom stage on so many occasions, Filler was tamed and Kaçi was on the hill and eight clear of the German.
Filler had one more piece of table time in the final rack but it was to leave a safety short allowing Kaçi in to seal a memorable win.
Kaçi said: “I feel amazing. This is the first singles event that I have won in the Matchroom arena. Emily always asked me when I would win a trophy! I felt focused and I stayed calm. I played the right shots with no crazy efforts and played safe when I needed to. Joshua didn’t have many chances and when you stay in the chair for too long, you do not feel comfortable. I feel I will be a bigger problem in Matchroom events now. A few weeks ago, I played the final of the World Pool Masters. I felt I didn’t give him a hard final.”
Filler said: “Of course I am disappointed but when you see someone play like that, you have to say he’s the deserved winner. He kept me in the chair, I was the first-row spectator! I am happy with my overall performance over the week. Well deserved to Eklent, he played unbelievable.”
NEXT WORLD NINEBALL TOUR EVENT
The Chuck Markulis Memorial will take place at Oscar Dominguez’s Hard Times Billiards of Sacramento in California with the field expected to include some of the biggest names in pool including two-time Mosconi Cup MVP from June 8-11 2023.
NEXT MATCHROOM EVENT
The next signature Matchroom multi-table open event comes next at the Pazo de Ferias y Congresos de Lugo in Spain for the first-ever Spanish Open Pool Championship from June 20 to June 25 with the first-ever FSR Junior Open taking place on June 23-24. Buy your tickets here from €15.
The 2023 World Cup of Pool will follow in Spain from June 27 to July 2 in the same venue with the tournament seeing 31 countries battle it out for glory as the hosts look to defend their title.