The 2022 Welsh Open – Day 5 – QFs

These are WST reports on the QF round yesterday in Newport, Wales

Afternoon session

Lisowski Blitz Overhauls Carter

Jack Lisowski admitted his three frame burst to beat Ali Carter 5-4 from 4-2 down was one of the “biggest buzzes” of his career, as he reached the semi-finals of the BetVictor Welsh Open.

The Gloucestershire cueman has struggled to produce his top form this season, having only made one other quarter-final prior to this week at the UK Championship. However, Lisowski summoned his dazzling best in crossing the line this afternoon.

Lisowski reached three of his six career ranking finals last season, but is yet to register a maiden piece of professional silverware. He will be hoping that all changes this weekend. Jackpot will be up against either Ricky Walden or Joe Perry in the last four.

This afternoon’s defeat extends 2009 Welsh Open winner Carter’s recent woes in the event. The Captain went on a fine run to the quarter-finals last year, but was forced to withdraw from a clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan after suffering migraines.

The opening stages of today’s encounter were hard fought, but the pair emerged having shared the first four to head into the mid-session locked level at 2-2.

When play resumed it was Carter who made the first big move, taking the fifth and sixth with breaks of 86 and 53 to move 4-2 ahead. However, from there Lisowski produced a devastating run for the line. After swiftly securing the seventh frame, he fired in contributions of 85 and 135 to make it three on the bounce and wrap up the win.

It was probably one of my biggest buzzes since I’ve been a pro. Everything started going in, I can’t even remember the break at the end,” said 30-year-old Lisowski. “It was such a rush and to beat Ali, in a decider, is very satisfying. I know how hard it is.

After the interval I was going backwards and he was the stronger player. I knew I had to change something. I felt like I was too close to the ball so I held the cue quarter of an inch further back. I’ve never tried that, but everything started going in. I now know that if you hold the cue further back you will be flying!

Judd Trump continued his quest for a first ranking win of the season, by defeating Masters champion Neil Robertson 5-3 to book his place in the semi-finals.

The Ace in the Pack last lifted ranking silverware at the 2021 Gibraltar Open. However, he did become the Champion of Champions earlier this season.

A strong showing this week could strengthen 22-time ranking event winner Trump’s bid for a place at the upcoming Tour Championship. Only the top eight players on the one-year list will be in attendance in Llandudno. Trump is currently 16th in the live standings.

Bristolian Trump stormed to 4-1 advantage this afternoon, before Robertson clawed his way back into proceedings.  The Australian came from behind to win the sixth on the final black and then went on to move within a frame at 4-3.

However, Trump stamped out any hopes of a fightback by crossing the line by winning the eighth with breaks of 31 and 39. He extends his head-to-head lead over Robertson to 13-10.

Trump will now face either Iran’s Hossein Vafaei or China’s Zhang Anda for a place in the final.

Evening session

Vafaei Stages Stunning Fightback

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei came back from the brink at 4-1 down to defeat China’s Zhang Anda 5-4 and reach the semi-finals of the BetVictor Welsh Open.

Vafaei is now through to the fifth ranking semi-final of his career, where he will face 2019 World Champion Judd Trump. This is the second time Vafaei has reached a semi-final in this particular event, the first came in 2019 when he was defeated 6-0 by Neil Robertson.

He will be hoping to fare better this time around against Trump, having arrived at the ICC Wales this week with a whole new mindset. Vafaei made history last month by becoming the first Iranian to win a ranking title at the BetVictor Shoot Out, he is now just two wins away from doubling his silverware tally.

Following his success at the Shoot Out, Vafaei is currently in 8th position in the live BetVictor European Series Standings. The player who collects the most prize money over the eight qualifying events scoops a bumper £150,000 bonus. If he were to win the title this week he would go to pole position with only the BetVictor Gibraltar Open to go.

This evening’s encounter had appeared to be going the way of Zhang, when breaks of 108 and 67 helped him to establish a 4-1 advantage. However, from that point Vafaei wrested the momentum and turned the match on its head. Breaks of 68, 55, 63 and 96 saw him surge to four consecutive frames and emerge the 5-4 victor.

It was unbelievable. This is one of the tastiest comebacks I’ve ever had in my life,” said 27-year-old Vafaei.

If you say to any player about being 4-1 down, they will know how hard it is to win from there. As soon as I started this tournament I wasn’t showing good performances at all. Whatever happens, I accept it as a challenge. I am trying to enjoy it.

Winning the Shoot Out gave me so much belief. I actually did it and the hard work paid off. That is why I can believe. I am the kind of player that can win five or six frames in a row as soon as I get into rhythm. The Shoot Out showed me that I can do it.

Joe Perry is through to his first semi-final since 2019, after scoring a comprehensive 5-2 win over Ricky Walden.

The Gentleman had been enduring one of his worst seasons in recent memory prior to a recent revival in his form. His first appearance in the last 32 of a ranking event this season only came last week at the BetVictor European Masters.

Perry has negotiated a difficult draw in this event, beating David Gilbert, Cao Yupeng, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson on his way to the quarters.

Walden came into this evening’s encounter full of confidence after scoring an impressive 4-3 defeat of six-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan yesterday evening. However, it was former Players Champion Perry who dominated proceedings.

The Cambridge cueman composed breaks of 51 and 118 on his way to victory and will now face Jack Lisowski in the last four.

Of all the players still in action at this stage, Joe Perry is the one who impressed me the most. Unless Jack manages to out-pot him completely I can see him reaching the final and give whoever he would face there a very strong challenge.

That said, Jack’s comeback is an encouraging sign for his fans. Finally, he seems to be learning how to win when things get though.

Neil Robertson played terrible, and in his “normal” form should have won his QF match comfortably because Judd Trump didn’t convince me at all. But of course, he will grow in confidence with every win.

Regarding his poor performance, here is what Neil had to say:

Hit by a truck with the news just leaving my hotel about Shane Warne,” Robertson told Eurosport. “National hero, an idol of mine growing up as a kid and was fortunate to meet him.

The worst news would be a family member, but as close to, and as much as I tried today I could not do anything.

“My arm felt heavy, my head felt heavy on my shoulders sitting in the chair.

The more I tried to delete what happened overnight from my brain, the more it was in there and I just could not concentrate. I could not think properly and could not do anything.

An awful situation for myself to be in as waking up this morning I felt really good and looking forward to the match.

I felt deflated and could not get anything going.

I fought well and tried hard, I even had a chance to make it 4-4 when 99 times out of 100 I would make it 4-4, but I just felt terrible coming to the table,” he said. “I have never felt like that before, so I can’t really compare it to anything else playing professional snooker. It is just awful.

Robertson says the whole nation will be grieving for a national hero.

All of Australia will be in mourning,” Robertson said. “It is devastating, he is our national hero.

What he did for a couple of decades for Australia and for cricket around the world.

This is like when [Diego] Maradona died for Argentineans. This is as bad as it gets.

One thought on “The 2022 Welsh Open – Day 5 – QFs

  1. For those that are not knowledgeable about cricket: Shane Warne was charismatic, uniquely skilled and inspirational. He had his ups and downs, was outspoken, and had brushes with authority. He was almost the exact cricket equivalent of Ronnie O’Sullivan. For him to die suddenly at the age of 52 is a shock to everyone, and would certainly be distracting to anyone who knew him.

    For Judd Trump at the moment, performances don’t matter. He just needs to win something. If he does win this tournament, it could trigger a return to form. Joe Perry’s form has completely changed, but there has to be a question whether he can keep it up, or hit the buffers.

    It makes for an interesting semi-final line-up. Whatever happens will be significant in some way.

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