The qualifiers for the 2022 European Masters resumed yesterday.
Ajaib Stuns The Pistol
Amateur Farakh Ajaib scored a stunning 5-3 win over former Masters champion Mark Allen to reach the final stages of the BetVictor European Masters.
Ajaib lost his professional status at the end of last season, when he was relegated following a campaign which saw him win only five matches. Defeat for Allen will come as a huge surprise after the Northern Irishman progressed from his BetVictor Championship League group yesterday with three wins from three matches.
Breaks of 52, 62 and 87 had given world number 14 Allen a 3-1 advantage this afternoon. However, Ajaib rallied to claim four on the bounce and snatch victory. He capped off the win by taking the eighth frame on the black.
Zhou Yuelong, who was runner-up to Neil Robertson in this event in 2020, was made to work hard for a 5-4 win over John Astley. China’s Zhou had led 4-1, before Astley came roaring back to force a deciding frame. It was Zhou who held his nerve to secure a trip to Furth.
Jack Lisowski sealed his spot in the final stages with a 5-1 defeat of Zhang Jiankang. The six-time ranking event finalist compiled breaks of 55, 76, 73 and 136 on his way to victory.
As usual, a lot of matches are overlooked in this report.
Mark Allen didn’t look too aggrieved. To be fair Farakh Ajaib, free of the ranking points’ pressure, played extremely well, particularly after the MSI. Actually, I’m not sure that playing in the CLS the day before on a Rasson table, did Mark any favour.
The same applies to Julien Leclercq who struggled badly yesterday. The young Belgian couldn’t reproduce the form he showed in the CLS and he certainly would have needed it against an excellent Ashley Hugill, who beat him 5-1. Hopefully, Julien can later analyse this match with his coach/team because he could learn a lot from it.
Steven Hallworth is another ex-pro who got a win yesterday against Robbie Williams who didn’t play badly himself.
Michael White got a 5-0 win over Martin Gould. Michael played OK, without reproducing the heavy scoring he had shown in the CLS. Martin however was completely out of sorts. Maybe he was unwell? We don’t know, but, for sure this is the worst I have ever seen Martin play! It was painful.
Chris Wakelin beat Jamie Clarke by 5-4. This was an extremely close and tense match. Both players produced very good snooker. This was a though draw for both of them and it’s a shame that Jamie won’t be in Fürth.
I can’t comment on the other matches as I didn’t see any of the action.
On a diffrent topic, Ronnie was yesterday doing a charity event to help a family of friends who are facing very difficult times. Pete Cohen is a mental coeach who helped Ronnie, notably when he went through a bad patch in the mid noughties