Ayako Sakai (HANACARD), who had been hovering around the top despite being equipped with the best bank shot in the game, finally smiled broadly at the top of the Ladies Professional Billiards Association (LPBA).메이저사이트
The Japanese women’s three-cushion powerhouse defeated South Korea’s Kim Min-ah (NH Card) in straight sets 4-2 (8-11 11-10 4-11 11-0 11-8 11-6) in the final of the Eswai LPBA Championship at Kintex PBA Stadium in Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do, on Thursday afternoon to claim her first title.
Sakai, who has been competing in professional billiards since the LPBA’s inaugural year in 2019, tasted her first podium finish in her 22nd appearance in just four years since her debut and took home the first-place prize of 30 million won.
He is the third Japanese player to win the title after Hida Oriie (SK Rent-a-Car) and Higashiuchi Natsumi (Welcome Savings Bank).
In the final match of the day, Sakai pulled off an unexpected victory against LPBA powerhouse Kim Min-ah, who was looking to win her third career title. Initially, experts were cautiously predicting a win for Kim.
Sakai had reached the quarterfinals four times in 21 tournaments, but hadn’t reached any higher.
This time, however, the momentum was different. After a hard-fought victory over perhaps the strongest player in the field, Han Ji-eun (Eswai), in the Round of 64, she went on to defeat Lim Jung-sook (Crown Hae-tae) in the Round of 16, Kim Bo-mi (NHCard) in the Round of 8, and Park Da-som in the Round of 4 to reach the final.
Sakai finished the final with an upset victory as well. After dropping the first set to Kim Min-ah, Sakai dramatically leveled the match by taking the second set by one point, and then rallied from a 1-2 deficit in the fourth set to win the next three sets to claim the trophy.
Sakai’s main weapon that propelled her to the top was the bank shot.
Sakai’s bank shots started to pick up steam in the fourth set of the final. Two bank shots in the fourth set gave him an 11-10 victory, and he followed it up in the fifth with a fantastic one-bank shot at 8-8.
It was also a bank shot that clinched the championship in the sixth set. At 9-6, with the two tired players trading blows, Sakai scored a point and then banked the final championship shot.
With nine bank shots in the win, Sakai now has 48 bank shots in the tournament.
“When I get back to Japan, I want to hug my family and cook delicious rice for them,” said Sakai, who has a husband and two children in Japan.
The Welbanc Top Ranking of KRW 2 million, which is awarded to the player with the highest average of the tournament, went to Cambodian express Surong Pheavy (Blue One Resort). He posted an average of 2.273 against Park Soo Hyang in the Round of 64.