Vafaei Beats Selt 6-1 In R2! | MrQ UK Championship

Fantastic Ford Into Tianjin Showpiece

Tom Ford is through to the third ranking final of his career, after a burst of three straight centuries helped him to beat close friend Jordan Brown 9-6 in the last four of the International Championship in Tianjin.

Ford has already made a title match earlier this year, when he beat the likes of Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski on his way to the German Masters final. Unfortunately, he struggled to produce his best in the final and succumbed to a 10-3 loss at the hands of Ali Carter. However, he goes into this Sunday’s final with the knowledge that this is already a hugely significant week for him.

The Leicester cueman is now guaranteed to move into the world’s top 16 and qualify automatically for the MrQ UK Championship. That means Iran’s Hossein Vafaei will now need to go to qualifying. Ford can also earn a place in next week’s Champion of Champions if he wins the final.

Sunday’s showpiece will see Ford take on either world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan or China’s Zhang Anda. It will be played out over the best of 19 frames, with a top prize of £175,000 on the line.

Defeat ends a brilliant week for Northern Ireland’s Brown, who enjoyed a return to form. He sensationally won the Welsh Open back in 2021 as a 750-1 outsider. However, following that he has struggled to hit those heights and this week marks his first ranking semi-final since. He scored momentous wins over David Gilbert, Kyren Wilson, John Higgins and Stephen Maguire, before bowing out today.

Ford and Brown couldn’t be separated in a tight afternoon session, which saw them share the first eight frames and finish level at 4-4. When the evening got underway, Brown came flying out of the traps with a sublime run of 134 to take a 5-4 lead.

The next two frames were shared, to leave Brown holding a 6-5 advantage, before a devastating burst from Ford saw him career towards the finish. He fired in consecutive breaks of 133, 101 and 109 to move to the verge of victory at 8-6. Ford got himself over the line in the next with a steely break of 57 and wrapped up a momentous win.

“I felt really good out there to be honest. As soon as I got in the balls I felt I just needed one chance, but I’ve got to up my game. It was fine once I was in, but it was getting in. There were some frames where I couldn’t beat my dad and there were some frames that I could beat anyone,” said 40-year-old Ford.

“There have been a few of us all going out for food together this week. That dwindled down to the last few and then just me and Jordan. When it came to last night we knew we were playing each other, but we still went out for something to eat. In the mid-session interval today we shared a car back and both had a walk to McDonalds  We distanced ourselves in the practice room and got ourselves ready for the match. You are friends, but you still had to play the match.

“I don’t feel as though I’m going to fall apart this week. It doesn’t matter who I play, I feel like I can get in the balls and play as well as anybody.”

Brown said: “I was disappointed with the way I played to be honest. I don’t want to take anything away from Tom. I thought he finished off the match very well. I think I just ran out of gas in the end. Ultimately, I’m proud of what I achieved this week. From where I was, especially a couple of months ago, I definitely would have taken this.”