‘Panicking’ Lisowski Holds Nerve To Beat Saengkham
Jack Lisowski admitted he almost “collapsed” at the end of his Cazoo World Championship battle with Noppon Saengkham, but recovered in time to win 10-7 and reach the last 16 at the Crucible for the third consecutive year
There were nervous moments for Lisowski as Saengkham came from 9-4 down to 9-7 and had a chance to close the gap further. World number 13 Lisowski has not always shown a killer instinct at the business end of matches but this time he was able to edge over the line to book a second round meeting with Judd Trump or Anthony McGill.
Gloucestershire’s Lisowski reached the quarter-finals for the first time a year ago, notably knocking out Neil Robertson before a narrow 13-12 defeat against John Higgins. Coming through another tough test today will boost his confidence as he looks towards his next assignment which starts on Saturday.
“I was panicking a bit at the end because he looked like he really fancied it,” said the six-time ranking event finalist. “He was relaxed, and when your opponent is like that it’s tough. I wasn’t think about the scoreline all match, but then when I got to nine I though it would be over quickly. Then at 9-7 he looked good and I felt I was all over the place. I felt as if I was collapsing but I was also aware that it probably wasn’t as bad as that. That helped me, knowing I have won matches like that before and I could get out alive. It was a tough draw but it was an open attacking game which suited me.”
Lisowski led 6-3 overnight having made breaks of 102, 50, 78 and 58 in the first session. The opening frame today came down to a safety exchange on the colours, and Saengkham got the snooker he needed on the green, but then missed the free-ball blue into a top corner. A grateful Lisowski rolled in the green to go 7-3 ahead.
Frame 11 was another tense affair and was resolved on a respotted black. Lisowski played a series of loose safety shots, and after missing two opportunities at the black, Saengkham potted it at the third attempt to pull one back. A run of 65 from Lisowski put him 8-4 up, and he dominated the next to go five ahead with six to play.
After the interval came Saengkham’s fight back as he took three in a row with breaks of 62, 47 and 130. And the Thai ace had a chance to win frame 17 but ran out of position with two reds left when he led 51-33. It came down to the blue and Lisowski showed tactical maturity as he got the better of a safety tussle before potting the blue which proved enough for victory.
“I would prefer to play Anthony McGill next,” added Lisowski, who has reached the semi-finals of the Cazoo UK Championship and German Masters this season. “It’s hard to concentrate against (close friend) Judd. But Judd and I have had some cracking games. On paper, Judd is more dangerous, but then McGill comes alive here every year, he is a Crucible specialist. It will be tough either way. I have a few days at home now to be ready.”
On the other table, Kyren Wilson ended the session 6-3 up on Ryan Day, making a historic Crucible maximum break in the process.
The Warrior arrives in Sheffield in good form, having made the final of the recent Tour Championship, where he was beaten by Shaun Murphy.
However, it was Day who made the strongest start this morning, taking the opening two frames to lead 2-0. Wilson responded emphatically and breaks of 133 and 83 saw him draw level ahead of the interval at 2-2.
When play resumed Wilson fired in that magical 147 break, the 13th in Crucible history, to lead for the first time at 3-2. Further contributions of 54 and 52 helped him to three of the next four frames to end 6-3 in front. They play to a conclusion this evening from 7pm.