Joshua Filler’s first trip to the World Pool Series back in April is definitely one he would like to forget.
The Mosconi Cup Most Valuable Player traveled all the way from his native Germany to compete in the Aramith 9-Ball Masters Championship and found himself eliminated after the first day, losing back-to-back matches to Jasyon Shaw and Ralf Souquet.
“When you lose your first two matches, it’s tough. I traveled seven hours from Germany and when you lose in the first day, it’s hard,” Filler said. “I’m more motivated to win this time.”
The additional motivation is having an impact, as Filler jumped out to an early lead and easily defeated Estonia’s Denis Grabe 13-5 in the quarterfinals of the Rasson 10-Ball Masters Tournament Saturday afternoon at Astoria’s Steinway Billiards.
Filler used three breaks-and-runs as well as a few fortunate rolls to build an early 5-1 lead. Grabe grabbed a couple of games to cut the deficit to 6-3 but struggled with his break, either breaking dry or not having a clear shot after the break throughout most of the match. Filler would win four straight racks before Grabe would snatch another game to narrow the margin to 10-4. The Estonian followed the win with another dry break and a scratch on the 1-ball after a safety battle in the 15th game.
“He was getting some rolls in the beginning and I didn’t get into the game. Every time I got to the table I had some funny situations,” Grabe said.
Filler won three of his final four games to close out the match. Although the victory looked convincing, he never felt comfortable throughout the match.
“When the match started I felt like I’d never held a cue. Like it was my first time playing pool,” Filler said.
Grabe was also playing on the main event video streaming table for the first time in the tournament and had a difficult time adjusting to the tighter pockets and newer cloth. Complicating matters was the fact that the pockets on the table had been trimmed in since in the weeks following Grabe’s victory in April’s Aramith Masters.
“This table is brutal this time. It’s nothing compared to the last time. I feel like it’s too tough,” Grabe said.
The young German will face Lee Van Corteza, who also jumped out to a fast lead and survived a mid-match rally from Alex Pagulayan to defeat the fellow Filipino, 13-6.
“At the start I played slow early but I got a good roll always. Every time I broke I had a shot,” Corteza said.
Using a break and run along with a handful of safety battle victories, Corteza took a 6-0 lead into the winner-breaks match. Pagulayan would counter, taking advantage of misses by his opponent in the 12th and 13th games to cut the deficit to 8-5. However, Pagulayan was unable to close the gap any further, as Corteza used a couple of well-placed safeties along with a pair of breaks-and-runs to close out the match.
“Everything went his way and I couldn’t get going off of my break,” Pagulayan said.
The quarterfinals continue this evening with Dennis Orcullo taking on Ralf Souquet at 5 p.m. and then James Aranas facing Alex Kazakis at 8 p.m.
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