Last Chance Saloon For Lisowski
Jack Lisowski made a century in the deciding frame to beat Louis Heathcote 4-3 in the first round of the WST Classic in Leicester, and hopes he hasn’t left it too late to qualify for the upcoming Duelbits Tour Championship.
Lisowski is currently outside the top eight of the one-year ranking list but is one of 15 players this week trying to leap into that elite group and earn a place in the lucrative final event of the 2023 Duelbits Series, which runs from March 27 to April 2 in Hull.
The 31-year-old needs to reach at least the quarter-finals this week to have a chance, and he could have fallen at the first hurdle when Heathcote came from 3-1 down to 3-3, but Lisowski finished in style with a break of 129.
Asked about qualification for Hull, he said: “I have been one game away, one frame away, three or four times this season. Have I left it too late? Do I deserve to be in it? I have had so many good chances. I have only got myself to blame. But I’m just trying to do as well as I can in this tournament and not think about the next one. I want to make it to the last day because then it’s the quarters, semis and finals.”
Neil Robertson is yet to land a ranking event this season and he must win the tournament this week to have a chance of making it to Hull to defend a title he captured last year. He started smoothly by beating Luke Simmonds 4-2 with top runs of 100, 99 and 103.
Anthony McGill top scored with 135 in a 4-0 defeat of Peng Yisong while Stuart Bingham made a 109 as he beat three-time World Women’s Champion Ng On Yee 4-0.
Noppon Saengkham’s tie with Ian Burns went to the final black in the deciding frame, and a clever cross double to a baulk corner from the Thai gave him a 4-3 success.
Hossein Vafaei made a 135 in a 4-2 victory over John Astley while Mark Allen eased to a 4-0 win over Peter Lines. Rookie Ben Mertens once again highlighted his potential as he beat Ricky Walden 4-1 with a top run of 107.