Week #73 of the ESL Open Cups gave us a weird case of déjà vu, as all the week #72 winners came back to defend their thrones. Dark even played the exact same finals match-up to win the Korean edition (defeating Zest), while HeRoMaRinE triumphed over weakened opposition in Europe. Finally, Solar kept America under his heels after some tough battles.
While every region saw the Week #72 winners defend their titles, Korea went one step further and even had the exact same finals match-up and score. Dark cruised through his bracket's opposition consisting of Hyperion, Spear and his DPG colleague Cure before once again clashing with Zest. For the second week in a row, Dark took down Zest by a 3-0 score, perhaps indicating that Zest's PvZ style is weak against Dark, or that the 2019 global champion is finally recovering his form. The repeat runner-up had to battle through some PvP series before meeting his end at the hands of his team mate, beating Cyan and Trap—with his more convincing win coming against the Korean opponent. Cyan apparently had a really good day and not only almost eliminated Zest, but actually advanced into the money over DongRaeGu. Other notable results include Team GP's Rex taking out SpeCial for a top eight finish (which now awards prize money due to Shopify's support).
With some big names missing compared to last week's XXL edition of the ESL Open Cup (Clem and Reynor chiefly among them) and a surprisingly early exit from his most dangerous remaining rival ShoWTimE, who met a shocking end against Strange, HeRoMaRinE flew through his bracket overcoming YoungYakov, Kas and souL to make into the semi-finals. There, the big hurdle of this run appeared in the form of MaxPax with the two players engaging in a brutal duel that saw the lead swapping two times until Big Gabe shattered his opponent in the final map of this Bo5. Compared to this ordeal, the finals against Vanya proved to be a walk in the park for the Terran, who secured his second win of the season with a clean 3-0 against the Russian Zerg, who'd played a very good tournament up to this point, taking wins over Bly, ShaDoWn and Gerald.
Falling in the quarterfinals of the Korean edition against Trap, Solar let off some steam in his colonial kingdom of the American ESL Open Cup and got himself into a series of very tough battles on his way to defend his crown. Both Gerald and SKillous proved to be quite pesky opponents for the ZvP expert, both bringing Solar to the brink of elimination before the Korean could turn the series around and deliver the final blow to them. On the other side of the bracket, Zest had made his second finals in this ESL Open Cup cycle with a perfect run, dropping not a single map during his destruction of MaxPax and MarineLorD. Whatever the differences between Solar's and Dark's ZvP are, Zest seemed to have a better handle on the KaiZi Gaming player and traded maps with him evenly, but once again the Protoss did not have what it takes to win the deciding series: Solar took the final game and defended his title, dealing Zest the second finals loss in as many days.
Thanks to the partnership with Shopify, ESL Open Cup winners earn $250 in prize money and 10 ESL Pro Tour points. Players who finish second earn 5 ESL Pro Tour points and $150. A top 4 finish guarantees at least $100, reaching the top 8 pays out $50. Edition #74 of the ESL Open Cups will take place on the 6th (Korea) and the 7th of June (Europe and America).
European Server Cup #73 (Click for full bracket)
Americas Server Cup #73 (Click for full bracket)