2023 German Masters Qualifiers – Day 4

This is WST report on day 4 at the 2023 German Masters Qualifiers

Lisowski Reaches Final Stages

Jack Lisowski edged out Jackson Page 5-3 in a quick-fire encounter at BetVictor German Masters qualifying, to make the final stages in Berlin.

Victory for Lisowski sees him immediately bounce back from a cruel defeat in the semi-finals of last week’s UK Championship. The Englishman went on a fine run to reach the last four for the first time, but was denied a place in the final after a 6-5 loss to eventual champion Mark Allen.

This afternoon’s tie lasted just an hour and 40 minutes, with Lisowski marginally getting the better of an entertaining encounter. The six-time ranking event finalist fired in breaks of 73,119, 63 and 74 on his way to victory.

China’s Xiao Guodong held his nerve to edge out Iran’s Hossein Vafaei 5-4 and earn a place in Berlin. Xiao crafted a match winning break of 80 in the deciding frame.

Ali Carter secured his progression with a 5-2 win over Robbie Williams. The four-time ranking event winner, who is a former runner-up in Berlin, top scored with 139 on his way to the victory.

Amateur Ross Muir booked a place in the final stages with an impressive 5-3 defeat of Liam Highfield, while Elliot Slessor edged out Sanderson Lam 5-4.

In the morning, Ben Woollaston beat Stuart Bingham 5-2 to reach the final round of qualifying. He now faces Chris Wakelin, who defeated John Astley 5-2.

Andy Hicks progressed after defeating David Gilbert 5-2. With Hicks leading 3-2 and set to move 4-2 in ahead, Gilbert shook hands and conceded the tie.

I’m not sure what determines which matches are reported on or not but clearly the evening session matches are often overlooked. A late schedule however can’t be the reason why there is no mention of another good performance By Joe Perry who beat Oliver Lines by 5-3 in a match that featured 6 breaks over 50, including a 102 by Perry in the last frame.

The evening session featured some good matches and one really terrible performance.

Ding Junhui, the UK Championship runner-up, beat Jordan Brown by 5-1, finishing with a 143, currently the highest break of the tournament. Luca Brecel also won, beating Chang Bingyu by 5-2. Robert Milkins got the better of Graeme Dott; he won 5-3, despite Graeme scoring breaks of 100, 117 and 81. Unexpectedly it was Rob who won all the close frames. That’s for the good ones…

Then we have Matthew Stevens beating Stephen Hendry by 5-0 without playing particularly well. Stephen had chances and played a few good shots in the first two frames. He really should have won frame 2. Hendry missed too many balls, but also, IMO, his shot selection was too aggressive considering where his game stands right now. After that, basically,Stephen was a beaten man and Matthew just did his job. I know that players must play the shots the way they see them, but surely Hendry should know that his own form is not great AND that the mid-ranked players nowadays are much, much better than they were in the early 90th. You can’t afford to give them 3 or 4 chances. I don’t know if Hendry refuses to compromise on his all out attack philosophy or if he just doesn’t know another way to play but this isn’t working at all.

Finally, young Ben Mertens was beaten by 5-4 by veteran Barry Pinches. Barry is a very hard match player and hopefully Ben will learn something from this match. I doubt he enjoyed it though.

As for Gilbert … if WPBSA/WST are consistent with their “punishments” he should be in for a very hefty fine.

PS (for Kathrin): Ali is indeed a German Masters runner-up (2017), but he’s also a German Masters winner (2013). Some of us are old enough to remember. Some were even there in 2013 actually …