The way Jack Lisowski had played against Stuart Bingham, I was expecting a rather close final, but this wasn’t one! Neil Robertson dominated the match from start to finish and won by 11-4. He’s your China Open 2019 Champion.
Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:
Afternoon session: Neil Robertson 8-2 Jack Lisowski
Neil Robertson established an imposing 8-2 lead over Jack Lisowski after the first session of the XingPai China Open final in Beijing.
Robertson requires just three more frames to take home the title in the best of 21 encounter. The match will be played to a conclusion in this evening’s final session.
The Australian, who has won 15 ranking titles in his career, is currently ranked seventh in the world and would move up to fourth if he were to take home the £225,000 top prize today. Victory would see Robertson pick up three ranking titles in a single season for the first time in his career, having already won the Riga Masters and the Welsh Open.
Lisowski is aiming for a maiden ranking title. It’s his second appearance in a final, having been runner-up to Robertson at the Riga Masters. The Englishman has enjoyed a strong season, which has confirmed his place in the world’s top 16 ahead of the World Championship. That means he will compete at the Crucible as a seed for the first time later this month.
Robertson flew out of the traps today, compiling breaks of 86 and 141 on his way to securing a 4-0 advantage at the mid-session interval.
When they returned Lisowski got his first frame on the board to make it 4-1. However, the ruthless Robertson fired in runs of 74, 100 and 65 as he surged further ahead and moved 8-1 ahead. Lisowski gave himself some hope by taking the final frame of the session on the colours to end 8-2 behind.
Evening session: Neil Robertson 11-4 Jack Lisowski
Neil Robertson claimed his second XingPai China Open title by defeating Jack Lisowski 11-4 in the final in Beijing.
The victory marks the 16th ranking title of Robertson’s career and moves him clear of Mark Selby to occupy sixth position alone in the all-time ranking event winner’s list.
The Australian picks up £225,000 for his win and that sees him boosted from seventh to fourth position in the world rankings. That means he will now be in the top half of the draw for this month’s World Championship. His total prize-money for the season has now passed the £500,000 mark.
Robertson will head to the Crucible in a red hot streak of form, having now appeared in four consecutive ranking finals. He won the Welsh Open and was runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Players Championship and the Tour Championship. It’s the first time Robertson has secured three ranking titles in a single season, having also won the Riga Masters earlier in the campaign.
Lisowski will be disappointed not to have picked up a maiden ranking title. However, he has the consolation of the £90,000 runner-up prize, which is the biggest payday of his career. The Englishman’s performance this week has confirmed his place in the top 16 for the World Championship and he will now compete at the Crucible as a seed for the first time.
Robertson had established a dominant position after the opening session today, moving 8-2 in front after the first ten frames.
When they came out this evening, he immediately moved to the verge of victory with runs of 91 and 50 to go 10-2 up. Lisowski refused to fall away and claimed two on the bounce to provide some resistance and take the match to the mid-session interval.
However, Robertson quickly snuffed out any comeback hopes for Lisowski, with a break of 79 to seal the 11-4 victory.
“I was very determined going into today. I’ve lost my last two finals and with this being my sixth final of the season, I didn’t want it to be two wins and four losses,” said Robertson. “Playing someone like Jack Lisowski meant I had to play really well. When you know you have to play well to win, it gives you so much motivation. I was really concentrated throughout. It was probably one of my best ever performances from start to finish in an event. Especially in China, when you have to adapt to the jetlag.
“It seems like such a long time since I won the World Championship in 2010. Going into it this year, it is the first time in a while I am just going to go and entertain the crowd and play some attacking snooker that they can enjoy. Hopefully the results will just take care of themselves. In the last few years I have tried to get into the last 16 and the quarters and work my way into the tournament. I have won three ranking events and a massive competition this week, I’m just going to relax and enjoy myself.”
Afterwards Lisowski was keen to take the positives from this week and is now looking ahead to the upcoming World Championship.
He said: “I’ve got to learn from this week and think about what happened. Neil played great today and I wasn’t that good. I can still see there are a lot of places with room for improvement. I have to knuckle down, as I could see my game getting better throughout the week.
“My ranking is really going up and I am a seed in the World Championship. My game is finally there and I feel like I have proven myself to a point now. There is still a lot to do, but I’m not in a mess with my game like I was a few years ago.”
This means that the draw for the Crucible is now decided, at least regarding the seeds:
Mark Williams (1) / Qualifier
David Gilbert (16) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (9) / Qualifier
Kyren Wilson (8) / Qualifier
John Higgins (5) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (12) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (13) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (4) / Qualifier
Mark Selby (3) / Qualifier
Luca Brecel (14) / Qualifier
Jack Lisowski (11) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (6) / Qualifier
Judd Trump (7) / Qualifier
Ding Junhui (10) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (15) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) / Qualifier
The draw now looks a bit more balanced than it was at the start of the week. With Stuart Bingham and Neil Robertson in his quarter, John Higgins certainly hasn’t the “easiest quarter” anymore. Arguably, the easiest quarter is now Mark William’s quarter, although Barry Hawkins is a bit of a Crucible specialist and always seems to find form in those long matches. Mark Selby will need to find something to contain the mad potters, Luca Brecel and Jack Lisowski. Albeit, regarding Jack, he still needs to prove that he can find his game on the biggest scenes against top opponents. Obviously Ronnie and Judd Trump possible QF clash isn’t an easy prospect for either of them.
Overall, at this stage, I’d make Neil Robertson favourite for the title. He’s in great form, he’s brimming with confidence and he has the hunger. He wants to become a multiple world champion badly. He will be hard to stop. At least he’s no more in Ronnie’s half…
And, as conclusion, the as ever great Trophy Ceremony …