Anton Kazakov has won the 2022 World Snooker Federation Junior Championship following a 5-3 defeat of Jake Crofts at the Ding Junhui Snooker Academy in Sheffield, England.
Held for the second time following the inaugural staging of the tournament won by China’s Gao Yang in 2020, the tournament saw over 60 of the world’s most promising junior talents battle it out for the title, with the promise of a two-year professional tour card on offer to the eventual champion.
Having eased through his group match for the loss of just one frame, 17-year-old Kazakov claimed an impressive run of victories that included the scalps of Liam Pullen, Liam Graham and Liam Davies to reach the final.
Awaiting the former Ukrainian national champion was an opponent competing far closer to home in Jake Crofts, who from Sheffield was competing in his first international competition, having previously competed in national events on the English junior tours.
The final itself would prove to be a hard fought affair, which saw the opening four frames shared as Kazakov top scored with a run of 56 in frame three, before Crofts claimed the next on the black to head into the interval all-square.
The match statistics favoured Kazakov however, who having enjoyed a significantly higher pot success rate and having potted a greater number of balls than his young opponent, would ultimately make the advantage tell by claiming three of the following four frames to secure the title and a place on the professional circuit from the start of the following season.
Kazakov was presented with both the trophy – and the formal offer of his World Snooker Tour card – by WSF President Jason Ferguson following the final, with former WSF Open finalist and countryman Iulian Boiko among those in attendance to celebrate a landmark victory.
The snooker continues in Sheffield with the start of the WSF Championship on Saturday, with an incredible field of over 250 players set to battle for the second professional tour card on offer this week.