China Open 2019 – Day 5 – QF

It was quarter finals day in Beijing. The afternoon session saw two matches ending with very one-sided scores. Neil Robertson whitewashed Sam Craigie and Luca Brecel only allowed Alan McManus a single frame. I did not watch any of the latter and, judging by the report below, it was really one-sided. Luca DID out-pot Alan. I watched the other match though and that one was much closer than the scores suggests. Neil Robertson did make mistakes, but Sam Craigie was unable to take advantage. Sam really struggled with pots over distance. After the match Neil said that the table was playing “strangely” and that the conditions were really difficult. He suggested that having played on this same table in the previous days had given him an advantage of sorts because he was prepared for those conditions, whilst Sam had never been on that table until today. Neil WAS the better player, no doubt, but a score of 6-3 would probably have been a fairer reflection of what happened at the table.

Stuart Bingham was never in front in his hard-fought match against Jack Lisowski. However when he came back from 5-3 down to force a decider and then was in early with a relatively open table, I thought that Jack had lost this match from in front … again. But not so. A positional error from Bingham led to a last chance for Jack. It wasn’t a promising table at all, but he managed to win the final black. This is a new, more mature Jack that were are seeing.

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session:

Neil Robertson recorded his second successive whitewash victory to defeat Sam Craigie 6-0 and progress to the semi-finals of the XingPai China Open in Beijing.

The win comes one day on from Robertson’s 6-0 last 16 demolition of Lu Ning and the Australian has only dropped five frames so far this week in Beijing.

The world number seven is one of the form players on the World Snooker Tour. He’s the highest ranked player left in this week’s event and is aiming to reach a fourth consecutive final, having won the Welsh Open in February and been runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Players Championship and Tour Championship. Robertson also won the season opening Riga Masters last July.

The Thunder from Down Under will face Luca Brecel in the semis on Saturday over the best of 19 frames. The stakes are high, with the tournament winner’s prize money standing at £225,000.

Although the overall result today was a one-sided one, Robertson was made to work in the early stages, taking the first two frames on the colours. A break of 80 then helped the 15-time ranking event winner into a 3-0 lead.

Robertson showed further battling qualities to claim a 44-minute fourth frame, before breaks of 52 and 115 helped him secure the whitewash victory.

Robertson said: “My confidence has never been higher going into the World Championship. Making the last three finals and another semi-final here. I obviously ran into Ronnie O’Sullivan in red hot form in the last couple of finals so that is extra motivation to try and win a third ranking title in a season, which I’ve never been able to do before.”

Brecel sealed his place in the semis with an equally impressive victory, defeating 1994 Masters champion Alan McManus 6-1.

The Belgian’s performance this week has secured his place in the world’s top 16 and as a result, qualification for the World Championship.

Such is the extent of the prize money on offer this week, world number 60 McManus could have edged into a Crucible spot by lifting the trophy on Sunday. He will now need to gain his place at the qualifiers next week. Now 16th placed David Gilbert can only be caught if Scott Donaldson or Ben Woollaston claim the title. They face each other later on today .

Brecel showcased his break building power today to surge to the win. He produced a sublime run of 139 to take the opening frame.

McManus hit back to level in the second, but from there Brecel didn’t look back. The Belgian Bullet fired in consecutive contributions of 130, 108, 59, 66 and 95 to secure an impressive win and set up a mouth watering semi-final meeting with Robertson.

Evening session:

Jack Lisowski held off a Stuart Bingham fightback to clinch an exhilarating win 6-5 in their quarter-final meeting at the XingPai China Open in Beijing.

Lisowski was playing with a new tip today, after requiring a replacement during his narrow victory over Li Hang in the previous round. He now faces Scotland’s Scott Donaldson over 19 frames tomorrow, for a place in the final and a chance to compete for the £225,000 top prize.

27-year-old Lisowski, who made his Masters debut earlier this year, will compete as a seed at the Crucible for the first time later this month, after securing his place in the world’s top 16 ahead of the World Championship.

2015 World Champion Bingham leaves Beijing with the consolation of having made the fifth 147 break of his career earlier in the week. Bingham stands in line to pocket a £27,000 payout if nobody makes another before the end of the event.

Lisowski asserted himself on today’s tie from the off. Breaks of 93 and 108 helped him to move 3-0 ahead in the early stages. Bingham responded with a fine contribution of 118 to stay in touch at the mid-session and make it 3-1.

They traded frames, as Lisowski maintained his two-frame cushion at 4-2. Bingham then snatched a dramatic 45-minute seventh frame on the black, before Lisowski compiled a break of 74 to move one from victory at 5-3.

After taking the ninth frame, Bingham forced a decider with a superb century run of 108. The final frame provided plenty of drama.

Lisowski was first in after a loose break off from Bingham. However, he missed a red to middle on 14 to allow Bingham his first opportunity to clinch the tie. The six-time ranking event winner had looked to be on course to seal a comeback victory, before breaking down on 57. Lisowski pounced with a superb clearance of 52 to take the match on the final black and reach the fourth ranking semi-final of his career.

Lisowski said: “It was an amazing break to win at the end. I don’t know how I did it. I felt quite nervous in the last frame, but the way Stuart was looking I just thought if I get one chance then go for it. It was a great feeling.

“It was quite a scrappy match in places, but I think the way my game is going I am able to put up a fight in those sorts of matches now. I’m accumulating the experience I’ve built up in the last few seasons. I’m just going to try and get some sleep now. I didn’t sleep much last night worrying about my tip.”

Donaldson, who will be competing his fifth ranking semi-final tomorrow, booked his place in the last four with a hard fought 6-4 win over Ben Woollaston.

The Scot is now the only remaining threat to David Gilbert’s top 16 place in the Race to the Crucible. Donaldson, currently ranked 52nd in the world, would have to win the event to overtake Gilbert.

The Perth potter clinched his quarter-final victory in style with a sublime break of 130 to cross the line in the tenth frame.

Donaldson said: “This is the best run of my career in terms of the size of the event. That game was very difficult for me. Ben is a really good friend of mine so it was hard to play him. I’m gutted for him, but you have to do what you have to do.”

Jack Lisowski dish in the decider: