September 25, 2023
Zielinski Triumphs as 2023 Michigan Open Champion
Aloysius Yapp appeared virtually unbeatable in Battle Creek. When he orchestrated a comeback from being one set down against Gorst in the semifinal, the enticing chance at a third win in a row in Michigan seemed well within reach. Only one polish player could stop his dream: Wiktor Zieliński.
Despite facing recent struggles, Zieliński exhibited exceptional form throughout the tournament. In the first semifinal, he launched like a juggernaut, executing three break-and-runs in the initial set to secure a remarkable 4-0 victory in just 20 minutes. His compatriot, Fortunski, although starting off strong in the second set, bore witness to a game-changing moment when Zielinski executed a remarkable kick-shot on the two ball, decisively shifting the momentum in his favor.
Gorst vs. Yapp: A Rollercoaster Ride
The second semifinal witnessed a brilliant start from Fedor Gorst, who dominated the first set with three break and runs, securing a 4-0 victory. Yapp didn’t touch the cue in the first set. Yapp faced dry breaks in the second set, but capitalized on a couple of mistakes from Fedor, ultimately winning the second set 4-3. The third set saw a shift in momentum. Fedor made an unbelievable 2 rail kick shot but then missed the 8 ball. Yapp was finding success on the break, ultimately leading to a 4-3, 4-2 victory after a challenging start.
Yapp-Zielinski, the ultimate battle for the third title
The final match could not have been more thrilling. Both players, each with two US Pro Billiard Series titles to their name, demonstrated their prowess. Yapp, a two-time consecutive winner of the Michigan Open, faced off against Zielinski, who had claimed victory at the Las Vegas Open two times in a row.
Both lost their winners qualification matches and reached the final from the losers’ bracket. Zielinski faced a defeat against Fortunski, while Yapp’s journey took a detour after a loss to Tyler Styer.
The final began with Yapp taking a 2-0 lead in both sets. However, Zielinski showcased resilience, battling back to secure victories in both sets. A pivotal moment occurred when, at a 2-1 score, Yapp missed a crucial long 1 ball, providing Zielinski with an opportunity for a jump shot and a subsequent cross bank on the 2, turning the tide in his favor.
The match was filled with heart-stopping moments. At 2-2 in the score, Yapp’s scratch on the 9 ball proved to be a pivotal setback. In the second set, Yapp had a chance to reach the hill, but a missed 7 ball opened the door for Zielinski, who capitalized on the opportunity to level the score. Another error from Yapp on the 4 ball, followed by a bank shot from Zielinski, solidified Zielinski’s victory, who took the first prize of $22,500 and his third US Pro Billiard Series trophy.
Zielinski expressed his elation, saying, “Last couple of weeks were really tough for me, so I am happy that I’m finally back on winning ways. I was feeling really good throughout the match, really confident, and Aloysius made a couple of mistakes, which I took advantage of it. Amazing feeling.”
Yapp reflected, “I feel nervous, because I’ve been struggling for quite a bit in this tournament… the day I played Tyler Styer I played really bad, but I’m happy that I somehow managed to find some mental strength and keep myself in it.”
Non stop action at the Kellogg Arena
The Women’s Open quarterfinals delivered nail-biting excitement with three out of four matches culminating in shootouts. Kelly Fisher emerged victorious in a sibling faceoff against her older sister Allison Fisher, securing a 4-1 win. Chieh-Yu Chou triumphed over Jasmin Ouschan in a tense shootout (4-2), while Tzu-Chien Wei bested Kristina Tkach in two sets. Chihiro Kawahara displayed exceptional resilience in a lengthy shootout, ultimately securing a 6-5 victory over Meng-Hsia Hung.
The Final 4 matchups are as follows:
- 10:30 AM local time: Chieh-Yu Chou vs Tzu-Chien Wei
- 12:30 PM local time: Kelly Fisher vs Chihiro Kawahara
A thrilling Chinese Taipei showdown awaits in the first semifinal between two-time World Champion Chou and last year’s Michigan Open runner-up, Wei. Reigning champion Kelly Fisher enters the second semifinal as the favorite, but the determined Chihiro Kawahara from Japan will give her all to secure a spot in the final.
The final of the Michigan Women’s Open is scheduled for 4 PM local time.