World number three Rob Hall returned to the winners’ podium after claiming the Austrian Open with a 562-297 triumph against Christian Kirk on Sunday evening in the capital city of Vienna.
Held at the well-equipped Heeres Snooker and English Billiards Club, players representing six different nations took part in this second edition of the event that had level 3 world billiards ranking points attached to it.
Hall began his campaign by qualifying top of Group A with three wins out of three, in the process producing a run of 221 against Jersey’s Richard de la Haye which would stand as the weekend’s best effort. In the subsequent knockout phase, the Englishman eliminated John Mcintyre and Jonathan Marwood in the last 16 and 8 respectively before highlighting a semi-final success over Steve Brookshaw with a break of 153.
Joining him for the live-streamed championship decider was Northern Ireland’s Christian Kirk following narrow wins against Nathan Mann and then Ryan Mears in the quarter and semi-finals. It would be Kirk’s maiden World Billiards event final.
Asserting his authority early on was Hall, though, as a break of 145 gave him a solid platform for the ninety-minute final. Maintaining control and looking relatively comfortable throughout, further contributions of 111, 104 and 62 helped him rubber stamp a 562-297 triumph and his thirteenth career ranking title. It was a case of one better for Hall who lost to David Causier in the final of this competition’s inaugural staging in 2012.
Barry Russell defeated Chris Mitchell 156-115 to secure the Challenge Cup for those who did not advance from the groups.
The Austrian Open was ideal preparation for the 2019 World Billiards Championship festival that begins in Melbourne, Australia later this week. Set to be one of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated editions of recent times, top exponents from across the globe will gather at the RACV Club to compete for the iconic John Roberts Trophy.
Full results from the 2019 Austrian Open can be viewed HERE.
All images supplied courtesy of ÖBU/Andreas Kronlachner.