Victor Sarkis will have the opportunity to play on the World Snooker Tour’s professional circuit full-time after he defeated Renat Denkha 5-3 in the final to win the 2021 Pan American Snooker Championship.
Organised by the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association, the most significant snooker championship across the North and South American continents returned having been cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Held at the Corner Bank venue in Toronto, Canada, cueists from Brazil, the United States of America and the host nation took part.
Sarkis – a 30-year-old from Florianópolis in Santa Catarina, Brazil – qualified for the knockout phase of the tournament after winning three of his four round robin games and topping Group A.
During the knockouts, Sarkis eliminated Canadians Jonathan Wallace 4-1 and Vito Puopolo 4-0 in the last 16 and eight respectively, before ousting United States national snooker champion Ahmed Aly Elsayed 4-3 in the semi-finals. A few days earlier at this venue, Aly won the Pan American Seniors Snooker Championship which qualifies him for the World Seniors Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre next May.
Sarkis’ opponent in the title match was American Denkha, who was runner-up in this competition the last time it was held in 2019 in Houston, Texas. Undefeated Denkha had dropped only four frames in six matches in reaching the last four but needed to come back from 3-1 down in the semi-finals in order to overhaul Derrick Claus (Canada) 4-3.
In the final, Sarkis took the opening frame and then the third and fourth to go into the mid-session interval 3-1 ahead. He then extended his lead again in the best-of-nine tie on resumption with frame five and stood on the edge of glory as he made a break of 51 in the sixth.
Denkha, though, refused to give in. From the jaws of defeat, he crafted a match-saving effort of 70 to claim the frame, before later reducing his arrears to just one at 4-3.
However, Sarkis was not to be denied the title as he regrouped in frame eight to record a 5-3 victory and follow in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian Igor Figueiredo who he succeeds as champion.
Sarkis now has the chance to join Figueiredo on the professional circuit as he becomes PABSA’s nomination for a WST tour card for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 campaigns.