Cue sports: Yapp’s quest to regain No. 1 ranking off to rocky start in Wisconsin Open

SINGAPORE – The sight of the ball rattling the jaws of the pocket turned Aloysius Yapp’s arms into jelly.

Facing Kuwait’s Bader Alawadhi in a shootout in the semi-final of the Apex Wisconsin Open on Saturday (Feb 12), the Singaporean world No. 3 pool player was presented with a glorious chance to progress when Bader missed his first three shots.

But after successfully potting his first attempt and needing just a second to win, he missed the next three shots of his own.

After his second miss, Yapp crumbled onto the table, burying his face in his arms. When he emerged off it, he wore a look of chagrin.

On the phone later and past midnight in Wisconsin, he told The Straits Times he had trouble sleeping.

“I can’t stop thinking about that shot,” he said. “I kind of threw (the match) away.”

Yapp eventually lost the shootout 4-3 after the game had ended 4-2, 3-4. Alawadhi went on to finish runner-up to Alex Kazakis of Greece in the final, also after a shootout (3-4, 4-2; 2-0).

Kazakis earned US$25,000 (S$33,691) while Yapp settled for US$7,500.

The Wisconsin Open is the first of nine competitions Yapp, 25, will take part in over the next two months in the United States and England, as he hopes to regain the world No. 1 status, which he achieved last October.

The better a player’s finish in such tournaments, the more world ranking points he will accumulate.

It has been a tough start for Yapp, however. He said: “To be honest the whole time at this Wisconsin Open, I have felt like I was struggling. I just couldn’t get used to the conditions.”

He flies out of the US on Sunday and plans to shake off the disappointment and turn his focus to the US$100,000 Premier League Pool. Yapp is one of only 16 players invited for the tournament in Milton Keynes, England.

He said: “It’s a completely different format of play and I would love to qualify for the (latter rounds) but I know it’s going to be really tough. My main goal there will be to play my own game again.”