Zhao Xintong’s winning streak was brought to an end in the first round of the Cazoo World Grand Prix in Coventry as he was beaten 4-2 by the lowest seeded player in the event, Martin Gould.
Gould reached the last 16 of last week’s BetVictor Scottish Open to give himself a chance of qualifying for the first event of the Cazoo Series, and in the end he needed Ronnie O’Sullivan to beat Li Hang in the quarter-finals to keep him in the 32nd and last slot. O’Sullivan obliged with a 5-4 victory, which meant that Gould was sent to Coventry for the £380,000 tournament. And he took full advantage tonight as he came from 2-1 down to win the last three frames.
Zhao enjoyed being welcomed as new Cazoo UK Champion
China’s Zhao came into the event on a high having won his first pro title and £200,000 at the Cazoo UK Championship eight days ago, but this time he failed to live up to his top-seed billing.
A break of 101 put Zhao 2-1 ahead, but he potted just three balls in the rest of the match as Londoner Gould reeled off a trio of frames with breaks of 75, 52 and 79.
“The century he made in the third frame actually gave me the kick start I needed,” said former German Masters and Shoot Out champion Gould. “After that I decided to up the tempo and get a nice rhythm around the table going.
“I didn’t watch any of Ronnie’s game against Li Hang. I was on my way home while they were playing, then I got my washing on and made myself a couple of tea. A mate texted me and told me I was in. I’ll have to treat Ronnie to some dinner next time we have a game! I feel as if I am on a freeroll now.
“I have been playing with a new cue for the last couple of weeks, I feel very comfortable with it and I am enjoying the challenge of something new. I’d had the previous cue for 25 years, then it died on me just before the Scottish Open. I almost pulled out because I felt there was no way I could get used to a new one, but I’m glad now that I played. I’m just looking for that week where everything clicks – it could be this week, you never know.”
Gould’s opponent in the last 16 will be Masters champion Yan Bingtao, who beat Mark King 4-1 with a top break of 111.
Jack Lisowski, runner-up to Judd Trump in this event last year, beat Mark Williams 4-3 in a thrilling match which had six breaks over 50 and an average frame time of just 13 minutes.
From 2-1 down, Williams knocked in breaks of 117 and 77 (helped by a monster fluke) to lead 3-2, then Lisowski took frame six with a run of 74. In the decider, Williams made 35 before missing a tough red to a centre pocket, and Lisowski punished him with a superb 94 which included several difficult pots to keep the run going.
“When you get these opportunities to beat a top player in a deciding frame, you have to step up,” said Lisowski, who now meets Stephen Maguire or Anthony McGill. “It was a pretty sexy break in the last frame, they just kept going in.
“I probably have the worst concentration of any player. I have been talking to Peter Ebdon on the phone and in the last frame I was thinking of the things he has told me. He is the strongest player mentally ever. If he told me to do star jumps during the game I would do it, I don’t need to know why. When I went behind it was time to put what he has told me into practice. I stood up to it when the question was asked, and that’s what the top players do. There’s no better feeling.”
Anthony Hamilton came from 3-2 down to edge out Kyren Wilson 4-3, making a break of 99 in frame six then taking the decider with runs of 29 and 35.