The morning session yesterday saw the conclusion of the last 32 round, with both top 16 members involved, Stuart Bingham and Jack Lisowski, winning their match. Stuart beat Zhou Yuelong by 5-2 in a match that featured a 50+ break in every frame bar one. Jack Lisowski and Louis Heathcote offered the fans a very entertaining affair, played on a high tempo: both had some baffling misses, but, equally, both came up with great daring shots. It was a “youthful” game. I found it quite refreshing. Luca Brecel and Robbie Williams were the other winners. Robbie Williams scored a 135 in his match against Pang Junxu and it’s currently the highest break of the television stage. That’s likely to be beaten…
The last 16 round was completed in the afternoon and evening sessions.
Ding Progresses To Continue Trophy Pursuit
Ding Junhui admitted he is determined to return to the winner’s circle after whitewashing Dominic Dale 5-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the BildBet German Masters.
China’s Ding, a winner of 14 career ranking titles, last lifted silverware over a year ago at the 2019 UK Championship. He is keen to add to his title tally this week.
If the Asian number one is to do so, he is going to have to overcome world number one Judd Trump, who he faces in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.
It was a straightforward victory over Dale this afternoon for Ding, who eased to the win in just one hour and four minutes. Ding composed breaks of 104, 101, 57 and 66 on his way to the whitewash.
After the match Ding stated his desire to return to the winning ways and complimented compatriot Yan Bingtao for his recent victory at the Masters.
Ding said: “I haven’t won since the UK Championship last season. I am looking forward to winning another one. I’m watching Judd, Neil, Ronnie and Selby keep winning all of the tournaments. I want to join them. I’m not that bad!
“He (Yan Bingtao) deserved to win. He tried so hard. He played great and gave everything for the Masters. Every time his opponent missed he took chances and won some very important frames.
“It is good for the young players. They are starting to believe in winning tournaments, even the very big ones. Yan Bingtao has also now got a lot of confidence to win more tournaments. He is only very young, just over 20 years old. He has ten or fifteen years to win a lot of tournaments.”
Defending champion Trump booked his place in the last eight with a tense 5-3 win over former Players Champion Joe Perry.
World number one Trump is aiming to hit the ground running in 2021, having missed the first event of the year due to returning a positive Covid-19 test at the Masters.
The Ace in the Pack has already notched up three ranking titles this campaign, after winning the English Open, the Northern Ireland Open and the World Grand Prix.
Trump led 4-3, but the match had looked set to be going to a decider when Perry led 65-8 in the eighth frame. However, Trump produced a crucial clearance of 58 to steal on the black and win 5-3.
Trump said: “It is always tough against him. You never win easily against Joe. He is the sort of player you need to beat to win these big events. In the end I made a good break to finish the match.”
Tom Ford defeated Stuart Carrington 5-2 to set up an all-Leicester quarter-final against Joe O’Connor, who whitewashed Fergal O’Brien 5-0.
World number 14 Jack Lisowski booked his place in the last eight with a 5-2 defeat of Luca Brecel.
Ding’s quotes are interesting for two reasons: first because he explicitly mentions how Yan’s win at the Masters will help the other young Chinese players to truly believe that they can do the same and win tournaments. Ding is their hero, but Yan is one of their own. Psychologically that makes a huge difference. The other notable thing here is that it’s been a very long time since Ding has actually expressed that much hunger for winning. Yan’s victory at the Masters means sharing the weight of expectations, which must be a relief for Ding, but it also means that he now has an actual challenger on the Chinese scene. This could become very competitive … bring it on!
Again, Jack Lisowski provided a lot of entertainment, this time with Luca Brecel. There were some incredible shots from both, and they were not hanging around! In complete contrast, Stuart Bingham’s win over Robbie Williams was hard work, as was Jordan Brown’s win over Jamie O’Neill. Jordan came back tom 4-1 down to win by 5-4. Tom Ford was in high scoring mode against Stuart Carrington; Stuart made the best start, winning the first frame, aided by a 58, then scoring a 61 in the next, and, yet losing it. Tom took over from there with breaks of 55, 66, 124, 77 and 89. Unfortunately for Tom he rarely seems to be able to produce that sort of snooker on the main table in the latter stages of tournaments.
This all leaves us with an unusual quarter-finals line-up. The four remaining top 16 members play each other:
Judd Trump v Ding Junhui
Jordan Brown v Barry Hawkins
Joe O’Connor v Tom Ford
Stuart Bingham v Jack Lisowski
The German Masters has yielded surprise winners in the past: Martin Gould and Anthony Hamilton. Could we have another one this year?