Yesterday was the last day of the first round at Alexandra Palace. One more “top seed” booked his place in the quarter finals, Kyren Wilson, whilst Stuart Bingham beat Mark Williams. Ronnie was in the studio for most of the day.
Kyren Wilson came from 2-0 down to score a 6-2 win in the first round of the Dafabet Masters, beating Jack Lisowski who admitted he “lost the plot” after crucial errors in the early stages.
The match was briefly interrupted in the fifth frame when referee Ben Williams was stung by a wasp as he tried to remove the insect from the table. In the end it was Wilson who was buzzing as he booked a quarter-final place, while Lisowski winged his way out of Alexandra Palace.
World number eight Wilson reached the final here two years ago, losing to Mark Allen. The Kettering cueman has had a patchy season so far, reaching just one ranking event semi-final, but enjoys competing on the main stage and having jumped the first hurdle will be confident of another deep run at snooker’s biggest invitation event. He now meets Mark Williams or Stuart Bingham.
Breaks of 56 and 76 gave Lisowski the first two frames before Wilson pulled one back with a run of 66. The crucial fourth frame came down to the colours and Lisowski had a clear chance to take it, but played a loose positional shot from the blue, leaving himself a tricky pink with the rest, which he failed to convert. Wilson potted the pink then slotted the black along the baulk cushion to level at 2-2.
Runs of 40 and 68 helped Wilson to take the next two frames and he took charge of the seventh with a 67. Lisowski had a chance to clear but sportingly called a push shot on himself as he potted the penultimate red, trailing by 42 points. Wilson took advantage for 5-2 then wrapped up the match in the next with a break of 70.
“Jack started like a house on fire but the third and fourth frames were turning points and I settled down after that,” said 28-year-old Wilson. “After that I went from strength to strength. This venue amplifies pressure so when your opponent makes a mistake you have to believe it will hurt him. You have to be able to handle the occasion. After the interval I kept it tight and took my chances.”
Lisowski, who made his Masters debut last year and is yet to win a match in the event, said: “I made a good start but missed chances in the fourth frame and Kyren got stronger. I lost the plot after that and I was poor mentally. My safety wasn’t good. My touch just wasn’t there, perhaps because I put a new tip on my cue a few days ago. It wasn’t ideal preparation.”
As you can hear the pundits were extremely critical of Jack Lisowski’s display. It’s very rare that Ronnie is so harsh in his wording when assessing a player’s performance. From what transpired on social media, Hendry in the BBC studio was even harsher. Both in fact express a good deal of frustration at watching such a huge talent not being fulfilled. Ronnie suggested that Jack would benefit from working with someone like Alan McManus in order to improve his shot selection.
Here are some quotes (source Eurosport):
Eurosport experts Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White were less than impressed by Lisowski’s crumbling.
“It could have been his day, but again his temperament has let him down,” said O’Sullivan, a seven-time Masters champion. “He’s playing well, it’s lovely to watch…Kyren is blessed with a fantastic temperament, and Jack isn’t.
” To lose six frames on the bounce, you can’t do that. There’s something seriously wrong in your game, or in your form, whatever.”
White added: “He’s got great facilities. He practises with [Judd] Trump. Somewhere along the line he’s got to learn to play the right shots or try and be more comfortable when he’s playing…He’s not putting the proper effort into each shot, he’s not living the shot, he’s not learning from his mistakes. He’s a bit frustrating.
“There is a potential world-class player there. He could win tournaments on a regular basis, but he has to go back to the drawing board and work out [how] to get stronger in certain departments – and get focused, and learn.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan – who famously benefited from a link-up with veteran Ray Reardon – thinks Lisowski needs to ask another legendary player for his advice.
“If I was Jack Lisowski, the first person I’d get on the phone to would be somebody like Alan McManus, and go, ‘Look, will you come and be with me for the next 18 months, two years? I’m going to listen to you and try and incorporate that into [my] game.’ If he doesn’t do that, then you’re just going to keep getting great performances with very poor performances. I think someone like McManus could really benefit with Jack. He doesn’t need someone to tell him to practise…he needs someone to say, ‘There’s no value in that shot – even though you can get it. Let’s play it ten times – you potted it twice, so it’s a no-no.'”
Stuart Bingham secured a comfortable 6-2 defeat of Mark Williams to reach the quarter-finals of the Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace.
World number two Williams’ exit means that only two of the top eight seeds have made it through to the quarters – John Higgins and Kyren Wilson. The Welshman, a two-time winner of the event, joins Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen in falling at the first hurdle.
Tonight’s win for Bingham marks only the second year that he has gone beyond the first round at the London event. The Englishman made the semi-finals back in 2016. Next up for Bingham this week is a meeting with Kyren Wilson for a place in the last four.
A break of 50 was enough to see Bingham secure a keenly contested opening frame this evening, but Williams restored parity by securing a 28-minute second to make it 1-1. They then traded frames to head into the mid-session locked together at 2-2.
After the interval Bingham took control of the encounter. The 2015 World Champion secured four frames on the bounce to charge to the line, compiling breaks of 76, 86 and 54 along the way.
“It was a bit of a slow start from both of us. As the match went on I grew more and more in confidence. Mark didn’t look like he turned up thankfully, but for myself it was a good win,” said 43-year-old Bingham. “The atmosphere was great and it was packed out. The arena is superb with all of the changes, it looks brilliant.
“You can’t help but look at the draw with a lot of the top players going out. It has opened up. Kyren Wilson up next will be a tough game, but I’ll be going home, practising and looking forward to it.
“We’ve had some good battles. He had a bit of a win streak against me. I put in a good performance to beat him at the UK Championship. If I can turn up and play a little bit better than that then I’ve got every chance.”
Williams said: “It wasn’t great. I missed a lot of easy balls. I enjoyed it out there, the venue was unbelievable. What Barry Hearn has done with it is fantastic. I never thought I’d play in an arena anywhere near the Wembley Conference Centre, but if it is possible that is even better. I hate giving him credit, so I hope he isn’t reading this interview.
“I was just poor. How I am number two in the world I don’t know. This wasn’t as bad as my performance at the UK Championship, but it wasn’t great.”
When Desi isn’t quite tall enough for the job, and Willo is getting naughty
Mark Williams, interviewed by the BBC admitted that his career could be at a crossroad, and said that he will re-assess the situation after the World Championship.
Quater Finals time …
Here is the line-up
My predictions for the first round have been terribly wrong, so I will abstain this time. Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy are the two who impressed me most in the last 16. That’s all.