Ali Carter put on a steely display to beat Jack Lisowski 10-6 in the opening round of the Betfred World Championship in Sheffield.
World number 19 Carter, who came through qualifying to book his Crucible place, is making a 17th consecutive appearance at snooker’s Theatre of Dreams. That run is made even more impressive by the fact that Carter has battled and beaten cancer twice during that period and suffers from Crohn’s disease.
39-year-old Carter, nicknamed the Captain, enjoyed a memorable result last year at the Crucible, defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan in a fiery second round encounter. He was then beaten by eventual winner Mark Williams in the quarter-finals. Carter is a two-time World Championship finalist, he was runner-up to O’Sullivan in 2008 and 2012.
Lisowski arrived in Sheffield as a seeded player for the first time in his career this week. A fine season, where he has reached finals at the Riga Masters and the recent China Open, has seen him ascend to 11th in the world. However, it was Carter who proved to be too strong in the Crucible cauldron this afternoon.
Carter edged to a narrow 5-4 advantage after yesterday evening’s opening session. When the pair came out today, Essex cueist Carter ramped up the pressure on Lisowski.
He took the opening two frames, before a break of 73 made it 8-4. Carter then claimed a tight 13th frame on the colours to make it four on the bounce and move one from victory at 9-4.
Carter had then looked set to wrap up the tie, after a stunning long range green set up an opportunity to clear the colours. However, he missed a difficult black with the rest and left it over the pocket for Lisowski to make it 9-5.
Gloucester’s Lisowski then turned on the heat with a century run of 124 to close within three frames at 9-6. However, a break of 46 helped Carter to get over the line and book a second round meeting with China’s Zhou Yuelong.
“Jack is so talented, he’s such a great young player. He has a lot of special moments to come here, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve never seen a talent like him apart from Ronnie O’Sullivan,” said Carter. “It was a horrible match because me and Jack have been through similar sorts of things and he is a really good friend.
“Zhou Yuelong is another tough young opponent. I am looking forward to that match and to the challenge. You have to relish it out there. It is tough, but it’s what we all play snooker for.
“There have obviously been a few shocks this year. Ronnie got beat and he didn’t really look up for it to be honest. That was very strange, but he is under a lot of pressure.”
Lisowski said: “I’m pretty gutted. I just didn’t quite get into it today. I definitely didn’t have the run of the ball. I was just hanging on yesterday and hoping I could put him under a bit of pressure. He was probably the worst draw out of the 16 qualifiers that I could have got. I knew I had to be on it and I was quite impressed with how he played. It has been a good season for me. I can have a break now and come back stronger next season.”