Jack Lisowski made an error which he described as “unforgiveable” but he recovered in time to beat Zhao Xintong 5-3 to reach the semi-finals of the matchroom World Grand Prix.
The incident came in the fourth frame when Lisowski, leading 2-1, was on a break of 25. He potted a red, had the white cleaned, then absent-mindedly forgot that he needed to play a colour next, and instead potted another red. Referee Nigel Leddie called the foul, and Zhao was handed the chance to make a break of 59 which proved enough to take the frame.
To his credit, Lisowski bounced back to take the three frames he needed after the interval to set up a semi-final with Mark Selby.
“It was a Jack Lisowski moment – pure stupidity,” smiled the 29-year-old after the match. “It was unforgiveable. I saw the funny side of it and we were both cracking up, but then I was stewing over it during the interval. It was a massive frame, but I’m glad I was able to forget about it and go on to win.”
After sharing the first two frames, Lisowski made a break of 111 to lead 2-1, then that error left them all square at the interval. A run of 109 saw world number 15 Lisowski regain the lead, then China’s Zhao made a 64 in the sixth as he recovered to 3-3.
Frame seven came down to the last two reds and Zhao, leading 60-29, played a poor safety which let Lisowski in for a superb 42 clearance which included several difficult pots. And Lisowski got the better of a fragmented eighth frame to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event for the sixth time in his career. The Gloucestershire cueman has made three finals – most recently at the 2019 Scottish Open – but is still waiting for his first title.
“Zhao is a similar player to me, today’s match was always going to be about who potted more, it wasn’t going to be a tactical battle,” said Lisowski. “I just had a bit more nous on the safety side and picked him off. I made a great clearance at 3-3, that was a big moment under pressure.
“I was really struggling at the start of this season but I turned it around at the UK Championship (reaching the quarter-finals) which got me into the Masters and into this week’s tournament. Now it’s turning into a very good few weeks. I still have a brick wall in front of me if I want to win the tournament, with Selby and then Judd Trump or Ronnie O’Sullivan, but I’ll try to punch my way through it.”
Leicester’s Selby built a 4-1 lead with a top break of 100. Iran’s Vafaei took a scrappy sixth frame then made a 78 to close to 4-3. Frame eight came down to the colours, Selby trapping his opponent in a touch snooker on the yellow. Vafaei went in-off, handing Selby the chance to wrap up the match.
“I missed a few balls and Hossein fed off my mistakes,” said world number four Selby after reaching his 51st ranking event semi-final. “My game didn’t click today but after playing so many matches recently I was bound to have a bad performance at some point. The main thing was to get the result.”
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