Teenager Artemijs Žižins defeated five-time winner Rodion Judin 5-2 in the final to claim his first Latvian National Snooker Championship.
Held at the A1 Hotel in the capital city of Riga last weekend, the annual event was organised by the Latvian Republic Billiards Federation which hosts a series of domestic tournaments each season.
Žižins – who has recently turned 17-years-old – was the number one seed for the Championship. The competition’s eight seeds all went straight into the last 16 knockouts and were joined by players that emerged from the qualifying phase.
Playing in his home city, Žižins defeated Arturs Koris 3-1 and ousted Nikita Bazilevichs 3-2 in the last 16 and eight, respectively. In a rerun of last year’s final which he lost 5-0, Žižins crafted breaks of 68 and 104 as he turned the tables and pipped defending champion Andrej Pripjoks 3-2 in the semi-finals.
Despite having needed to qualify, a dominant Judin advanced through the other side of the draw without dropping a single frame in six matches. On his way to another national final, the 25-year-old from Salaspils eliminated newly minted EBSA European Women’s Champion Anna Prysazhnuka in the last 16, and registered breaks of 125 – the highest of the tournament – and 93 during a 3-0 last four win against Aleksandrs Zaicevs.
Judin deposited the opening frame of the final with the help of a 54 break but Žižins went on a four-frame winning streak (61 break, frame two) to lead 4-1 and move to within one of the title. Judin stopped that sequence with frame six (60 break), but Žižins was not to be denied glory as he got over the line in frame seven.
Žižins’ career CV continues to expand. The youngster won the 2022 European Under-16 Championship in Albania and earlier this year he reached the semi-finals of the European Under-18 Championship in Malta.