Teenager Antoni Kowalski defeated Mateusz Baranowski 6-4 to win his maiden Polish National Snooker Championship last weekend with an impressive display in front of the live television cameras.
Following qualification which was held earlier in the season, the last 36 main stage of the competition took place at the Lublin Masters Bowling and Billiards Club. Exciting prospect Kowalski – who reached the last 16 of the recent World Snooker Federation Junior Open in Malta – started his campaign strong, winning all three of his group games 3-0. This included a victory over World Disability Billiards and Snooker competitor Adam Wilk, who also advanced to the knockout phase.
The 16-year-old continued his assault on the title by making breaks of 51, 80 and 51 to dispatch Jason Wright 4-0 in the last 16 and then producing a 66 during a 4-0 elimination of Michał Kotiuk in the quarter-finals.
Featuring the four remaining hopefuls, the final day of the tournament was shown live on Polish TV sports channel TVP Sport with an arena specially erected in their studio.
Seemingly unperturbed by the added exposure, Kowalski extended his perfect record by getting the better of Paweł Rogoza 4-0 with runs of 54 and 100. In the other semi-final tie, 2017 and 2018 champion Mateusz Baranowski also compiled exactly 100 as he ended the hopes of Bartosz Utkowski 4-1.
The best-of-11 final began with Kowalski crafting another three-figure contribution – a 106 – to take the opening frame, although Baranowski responded to level and therefore inflict his opponent’s first dropped frame of the entire event.
Kowalski retook the lead with the help of a 77 break but back came Baranowski to sqaure up with a 59. For the first time a buffer emerged between the pair as Kowalski (62 break) moved 4-2 ahead, although once again his rival – aided by a 91 – restored parity. However, Kowalski was not to be denied the trophy as he secured the next two frames to record a 6-4 triumph.
Organised by the Polish Billiards and Snooker Association – a member nation of the World Snooker Federation – this was the 28th edition of the national championship. Current World Snooker Tour professional Kacper Filipiak claimed the title in 2019.
Image by Krzysztof Klajn.
Mateusz Baranowski (60) 4-1 Daniel Holoyda
Bartosz Utkowski 4-3 Bartłomiej Różański
Paweł Rogoza (54, 66) 4-1 Marcin Nitschke
Antoni Kowalski (66) 4-0 Michał Kotiuk
Baranowski (53, 52, 100) 4-1 Utkowski
Rogoza 0-4 (54, 100) Kowalski
Baranowski (59, 91) 4-6 (106, 77, 62) Kowalski