David Gilbert avoided a shock defeat against amateur Ross Muir in the qualifying round of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, making a century in the decider to win 4-3.
The next few tournaments are crucial for Gilbert as he is in 17th place in the Race to the Cazoo Masters so needs to climb into the top 16 of that list by the end of November’s Cazoo UK Championship in order to book a place at Alexandra Palace in January. So today’s result gives the Tamworth cueman a boost, but it was far from plain-sailing for the former Crucible semi-finalist.
From 2-0 down, he won three frames in a row with top breaks of 104 and 89, but then missed several match-winning opportunities in frame six. Muir made it 3-3 but then went for a risky long red at the start of the decider and failed to convert, handing Gilbert the chance to make an excellent 125.
Sam Craigie won a 62-minute decider to edge out Ryan Thomerson 4-3. Noppon Saengkham top scored with 84 in a 4-0 win over Ben Mertens while Jamie Clarke won three frames from 64, 44 and 43 points behind as he beat Marco Fu 4-2.
The BetVictor Northern Ireland Open at the Belfast Waterfront runs from October 16-23. Mark Allen will be defending the title, with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and John Higgins also in the field. For ticket details click here.
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