Andres Petrov is set to become Estonia’s first-ever professional snooker player after he defeated Ben Mertens 5-3 in the final to win the 2022 EBSA European Amateur Snooker Championship held at the Delfin Resort in Shengjin, Albania.
The 25-year-old was runner-up in this event five years ago in Cyprus but the Tallinn cueist went one better this time around to secure the biggest title of his career and a two-year World Snooker Tour card.
Representatives from 35 different nations took part in the 31st staging of this prestigious event which has previously been won by players such as Mark Allen and Luca Brecel.
Reigning eight-time national champion Petrov qualified for the knockout phase after topping his round robin group with three wins from three, including a victory over recent European under-18 champion Liam Davies (Wales).
In the knockout rounds leading to the final, Petrov dropped just seven frames, eliminating Darren Oldroyd (Northern Ireland) 4-1, Viktor Iliev (Bulgaria) 4-2, Aaron Busuttil (Malta) 4-1, Iulian Boiko (Ukraine) 4-1 and then Germany’s Umut Dikme 4-2 in the semi-finals.
On the other side of the draw, Mertens – who was crowned European under-21 champion here last week – was attempting to create history by becoming the first player to claim both continental titles within the same year.
The 17-year-old Belgian nearly made a maximum 147 break in the groups stage – missing the 15th black on 113 – before defeating Ilia Chisleacov (Moldova) 4-0, David Cassidy (Republic of Ireland) 4-0, Robbie McGuigan (Northern Ireland) 4-2, and then ousting England’s Josh Thomond 4-3 to reach the last four.
A repeat of the under-21 title match last weekend, Mertens again faced Austrian youngster Florian Nuessle in the semi-finals, and would prove to be a thorn in his opponent’s side once more as he booked another final berth with a 4-3 victory.
Mertens chalked up the opening frame of the final with the help of a 53 break. Petrov took the next two, but Mertens did the same in frames four and five to move 3-2 ahead. However, the Estonian was not to be denied the championship again as he fashioned a three-frame winning streak to record a memorable triumph for Baltic snooker.
Article by Michael Day.