Jack Lisowski made back-to-back centuries in the last two frames as he came from 5-4 down to beat Martin Gould 6-5 at the International Championship.
Lisowski will now meet close friend Judd Trump in the quarter-finals in Daqing. It will be their fifth meeting in a ranking event within the past 20 months, Trump winning three of the previous four matches.
Gould came from 4-2 down today to lead 5-4 with a top break of 139, only for world number 21 Lisowski to finish superbly with runs of 103 and 106.
“He shut me out from 4-2 to 5-4 then I made two great breaks in the last two frames so I’m very happy with my performance,” said Lisowski after taking another step towards the top 16 in the race to the Masters. “It’s a lovely feeling in the last frame when you reach 70, you know you have won and you’re just potting the last few balls.
“The tables are playing so nice this week, the white ball goes exactly where you hit it, the cushions are lovely, the pockets are playing slightly generous because the conditions are so good. There has been a lot of high scoring but you still have to pot the balls.
“I played Judd at the English Open and it wasn’t a good game. Tomorrow I expect we’ll both be really good or rubbish. I don’t like playing him because he’s my best mate. We just have to ignore each other for three hours. We are used to it because we have been playing each other for years. I’ll probably go for breakfast with him and then after that we’ll stay apart until the match.”
“Jack has been doing well recently so we are meeting a lot more,” said Trump. “If I don’t win a tournament then I’d want him to win it. But this time I want to push on. He has taken longer than me to break though but now he is reaching the later stages of every tournament and it’s only a matter of time before he wins one. There’s more pressure on me than him because everyone expects me to beat him every time. So in a way I have nothing to gain. Hopefully I can just go out there and relax.”
Mark Selby kept up his bid to win this title for a third consecutive year as he beat Stuart Carrington 6-3. From 3-2 down, world number one Selby won four frames in a row with top breaks of 85, 77 and 53. He now meets Neil Robertson or Yuan Sijun.
Martin O’Donnell thrashed David Gilbert 6-1 to reach a ranking quarter-final for the second time in his career – having done so for the first time at last month’s China Championship. World number 66 O’Donnell made breaks of 55, 59 and 64 as he earned a match with Ding Junhui or Matthew Stevens.
Matthew Stevens knocked home favourite Ding Junhui out of the International Championship in China, coming from 3-1 down to win 6-5 and reach the quarter-finals.
Former UK and Masters champion Stevens has dropped to number 56 in the rankings but proved he can still compete on the big stage with a fine display against Ding. From 3-1 down, the 41-year-old Welshman knocked in breaks of 61, 67 and 127 to lead 5-4.
Ding made a 66 for 5-5 and had a clear chance in the decider but could only make 29. Stevens knocked in a long red to initiate a match-winning run of 63. He is through to the last eight of a ranking event for the first time since 2014.
“It’s a massive win for me,” said Stevens, who now faces Martin O’Donnell. “I had never beaten Ding before to to do so from 3-1 down in China gives me a lot of confidence. I haven’t played great this week but I’m still here. I still like the buzz out there, that’s what we play for.”
Ding said: “After the interval Matthew potted a lot of long reds and my safety wasn’t as good as his. He made the most of his chances. He’s in good enough form to win the tournament. It’s still too early for me to make an assessment for the season because I’ve only played two ranking tournaments.”
Neil Robertson scored a 6-4 win over teenager Yuan to set up a match with Mark Selby, who beat Stuart Carrington earlier in the day. Robertson trailed 4-3 and he was 72 points down in frame eight. But he got the snookers he needed, cleared for 4-4 and then finished the match in style with breaks of 127 and 125.
Australia’s Robertson, who won the Riga Masters earlier this season, said: “It was a huge frame at 4-3, Yuan was unlucky. Every time I play one of these young Chinese players I think he’ll be the next one to win a ranking event – there are so many of them and it’s exciting to see. They are technically amazing and nothing seems to bother them. I expect Yuan will fly through the rankings. He shows great sportsmanship and the match was played in a good spirit. The hard part for them is settling in the UK, playing in the qualifiers and the tournaments there.
“I’d love to push on and win four or five titles in a season, which is what the likes of O’Sullivan, Williams, Higgins and Selby have done, that’s what I need to do to make that next step up. I feel that myself and Ding have already done enough to establish ourselves as great players because we have come from different countries to live in the UK without any family with us. If the tour was based in Australia I would have won a lot more titles. People will never understand what it’s like to be an overseas player, that’s why I think myself and Ding have done amazing things for the game. We were the ones who broke the UK dominance of the sport.”
Ali Carter top scored with 132 in a 6-4 win over Sunny Akani to set up a match with Mark Allen, who saw off Alfie Burden 6-1 with top runs of 112 and 101.
Mark Selby v Neil Robertson
Judd Trump v Jack Lisowski
Martin O’Donnell v Matthew Stevens
Mark Allen v Ali Carter
I can only comment on the two matches I watched.
Judd played very well, he didn’t push the boat out, didn’t rush his shots and looked very focused. When he’s like that, he’s a joy to watch. Yan Bingtao never really settled in the match, Judd kept him under pressure from the word go, and, I guess, playing on home soil only added to this pressure.
Matthew Stevens played well in his match today, the best I have seen him play for many years. Often in recent years it seemed that he was looking for problems, taking a long time considering shots. Today he looked natural and fluent, which was great to see. Ding wasn’t at his best, but he wasn’t terrible either. Matthew’s long potting was excellent and that made the difference.