The last 64 round concluded yesterday in Antalya and the last 32 round started in the evening.
Here are WST reports:
Allen Knocked Out / Trump Survives
Jak Jones took one of the biggest scalps of his career as he registered a 5-4 victory over Mark Allen to reach the third round of the Nirvana Turkish Masters in Antalya.
World number 48 Jones scored a superb break of 79 in the deciding frame to beat the player ranked 37 places higher and earn a meeting with Hossein Vafaei. Welshman Jones has shown consistent form this season and is through to the last 32 of a ranking event for the fourth time in the current campaign.
“It’s a big win for me particularly because I missed chances to close the match out earlier, but then made a good break in the last frame,” said 28-year-old Jones, who top scored with 129 in building a 4-2 lead before his opponent recovered to 4-4. “I missed a red on 34 in the previous frame and I was angry with myself, I felt I was making the game too complicated rather than getting on with it. In the last frame I had a chance at a long red and I had no doubt I was going for it because I’m a better player when I attack.
“Before Christmas I was struggling with my game because I moved back to Wales from my previous base in Sheffield but I was practising on a club table. In the new year I had a Star table fitted which allowed me to replicate tournament conditions and that has made a massive difference to my performances. I feel I can really build on that for the rest of the season.”
Judd Trump was pushed hard by Chris Wakelin but came through 5-3 to set up a match with Liang Wenbo. Trump’s top break was just 47 but he secured the result by scrapping his way through a 48-minute eighth frame, getting the better of a long safety battle on the colours.
Jack Lisowski scored a dramatic 5-4 win over Martin O’Donnell in a match which came down to the final black. Both players missed chances at the black before Lisowski slotted it home to set up a tie with Martin Gould.
“It was looking as if I had lost a few times but in the end I managed to fall over the line,” said Lisowski, who reached the semi-finals of last week’s BetVictor Welsh Open before losing 6-5 to Joe Perry. “I’m really happy to get that first win under my belt and I can see how the week will progress now.
“I was gutted to lose to Joe last week but I would have taken semi-finals at the start of the week having had a bad season. It’s nice to have a bit of momentum now. I have got something going and I want to keep building. The World Championship is going to be bigger than usual for me.”
Perry’s winning streak ended as he went down 5-2 to Liang, while Vafaei won a high quality encounter with Ben Woollaston by a 5-3 scoreline, knocking in breaks of 98, 91, 52, 69 and 70.
Matthew Stevens top scored with 93 as he won a Welsh derby with Mark Williams, a repeat of the 2000 World Championship final.
Wakelin will be very disappointed. He certainly could have won this match. Trump has a bit of luck here and there but that wasn’t the main thing. The most important factor was that Trump is used to win, Wakelin is not: that was the main psychological difference and it mattered in the latter stages of the match.
Matthew Stevens win over Mark Williams is a bit of a surprise. But only a bit. There are two factors here that probably explain this result: Matthew needed this win, he’s currently out of the top 64 “projected end-of-season” rankings, but this win pushes him to number two in the list of those to be redeemed via the “one year list”; Mark Williams is safe, has nothing to prove and is in Antalya with his family… totally different mindset.
Selt Sees Progress On Snooker’s Long Learning Curve
Matthew Selt ended Zhao Xintong’s hopes of winning a third ranking title with a 5-2 success at the Nirvana Turkish Masters, before describing himself as a “poor man’s Mark Selby.”
China’s Zhao is undoubtedly one of the players of the season so far having won the Cazoo UK Championship and BildBet German Masters, but this time he falls at the last 32 stage. World number 31 Selt goes through to round four to face Jordan Brown or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Selt took each of the first three frames on the colours, and later compiled breaks of 70 and 80 to record one of his best wins of the season. The Essex cueman won the Indian Open in 2019 but feels he is still well short of reaching his potential.
“I am playing at 60 of 70 per cent of the way I can play in practice,” said the 37-year-old. “I am sensationally good on my own table when I practise with the likes of Ali Carter, Joe Perry and Shaun Murphy. When I start being able to play like that in matches, that when I’ll be enjoying snooker as a profession. That’s what separates the very best players, they are relaxed out there.
“I am slowly getting there. If you collapse in matches a few times and learn from it, that’s part of the journey. The only time I have really felt good in a match was at the UK Championship this season when I went 3-1 up on Barry Hawkins, but I ended up losing.
“Luckily I have got one of the best safety games, that allows me to win matches when I am not scoring well – I am a poor man’s Mark Selby.
“I absolutely love snooker and I want to keep progressing. But it’s not the most important thing in my life, I have other passions. I hear certain other players say that and I think they are talking absolute nonsense. I genuinely have a lot more to my life and other things I enjoy.”
John Higgins also booked a last 16 berth with a 5-0 demolition of Michael Holt, making breaks of 121, 54 and 69. That result leaves Holt still outside the top 64 in the provisional end of season rankings and needing wins in either the BetVictor Gibraltar Open or Betfred World Championship to keep his tour card.
Higgins will now face an all-Scottish clash with BetVictor European Masters semi-finalist Graeme Dott, who saw off Jackson Page 5-2 with a top break of 135. Amateur Si Jiahui, recently crowned the the WSF Open champion, continued his blistering recent form by beating Tom Ford 5-1 with a top run of 93.
It was obvious to me that Zhao is working on his game, particularly the safety side of it. He still has a lot to learn though and, as always when a player makes changes, it may take some time before he finds the right balance and the changes start paying dividents.