Kristina Tkach has been a busy young woman. Since March, she’s chalked up three major titles, commencing with her win at the 2019 Super Billiards Expo’s Women’s 9-Ball Championship, followed by a May victory in a European tour event and just last week (Aug. 8-11), a WPBA victory at the Sondheim Diamond Invitational in Iowa. She had no sooner made it back home to Virginia (Roy’s Basement), when she signed on to the August 17-18 stop on the Action Pool Tour, where she went undefeated to claim that event title. The event drew 41 entrants to Champion Billiards Sports Bar in Frederick, MD.
Not only did Tkach work through a field dominated by men (36 of the 41), she defeated the top-ranked player in the Action Pool Tour’s standings and winner of the last two stops on the tour, Chris Bruner. Twice.
Tkach embarked on her trip to the winners’ circle with an 8-1 victory over Skylar Hess and then, defeated the 2018 runner-up in the tour’s rankings, Jason Trigo 8-3 (this was only Trigo’s third appearance on the 2019 tour). Tkach then defeated Elva Abernathy 8-4 to draw Brian Bryant in one of the winners’ side semifinals.
Bruner, in the meantime, downed Thomas Haas 8-4, Bill Duggan 8-2, Jerry Gruber 8-1 and Daniel Jarquin 8-3 to draw the always-threat of Shaun Wilkie in the other winners’ side semifinal.
Bruner got into the hot seat match with an 8-2 victory over Wilkie. Tkach joined him after defeating Bryant 8-4. Tkach then claimed her first of two over Bruner 8-6 and waited in the hot seat for him to get back from the semifinals.
On the loss side, Wilkie picked up Scott Roberts, who’d been sent to the loss side by Brian Bryant (8-5) and then defeated Scott Haas, double hill, and then, Thomas Haas 7-1. Bryant drew Matt Krah, who’d been sent to the loss side by Wilkie, shut out Chuck Sampson and defeated Chris Funk 7-5.
Wilkie and Krah advanced to the quarterfinals, both 7-4, over Roberts and Bryant. Wilkie gave up only a single rack to Krah in those quarterfinals to earn his rematch against Bruner.
Bruner and Wilkie battled to within a game of double hill, but Bruner edged out in front near the end to win it 7-5. With the intangible of momentum presumably on his side, Bruner turned his attention to the young woman waiting for him in the hot seat (and how many times, one wonders, has that happened?)
Tkach and Bruner did battle it out to a 19th and deciding game in the finals. Tkach, though, had the last ‘word,’ as it were, and dropped the final 9-Ball to claim the event title.
A Second Chance event drew eight entrants. Don Steele and Alavaro Valle battled twice (hot seat and finals) for it. Steele took them both, taking home $100 after a 5-2 win in the hot seat and shutting Valle out in the finals. Valle took home the $75 second-place prize.
Tour directors Kris Wylie and Tiger Baker thanked the ownership and staff at Champion Billiards Sports Bar, as well as sponsors CSI, Viking Cues, Predator Cues, Diamond Billiard Products, Ozone Billiards, Simonis Cloth, Aramith Balls, Kamui, Chix Cabinets, and George Hammerbacher (Advanced Pool Instructor). The next stop on the Action Pool Tour (#9), scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 14-15, will be a Double Points event, hosted by Breakers Sky Lounge in Herndon, VA.