Jack Lisowski held off a Stuart Bingham fightback to clinch an exhilarating win 6-5 in their quarter-final meeting at the XingPai China Open in Beijing.
Lisowski was playing with a new tip today, after requiring a replacement during his narrow victory over Li Hang in the previous round. He now faces Scotland’s Scott Donaldson over 19 frames tomorrow, for a place in the final and a chance to compete for the £225,000 top prize.
27-year-old Lisowski, who made his Masters debut earlier this year, will compete as a seed at the Crucible for the first time later this month, after securing his place in the world’s top 16 ahead of the World Championship.
2015 World Champion Bingham leaves Beijing with the consolation of having made the fifth 147 break of his career earlier in the week. Bingham stands in line to pocket a £27,000 payout if nobody makes another before the end of the event.
Lisowski asserted himself on today’s tie from the off. Breaks of 93 and 108 helped him to move 3-0 ahead in the early stages. Bingham responded with a fine contribution of 118 to stay in touch at the mid-session and make it 3-1.
They traded frames, as Lisowski maintained his two-frame cushion at 4-2. Bingham then snatched a dramatic 45-minute seventh frame on the black, before Lisowski compiled a break of 74 to move one from victory at 5-3.
After taking the ninth frame, Bingham forced a decider with a superb century run of 108. The final frame provided plenty of drama.
Lisowski was first in after a loose break off from Bingham. However, he missed a red to middle on 14 to allow Bingham his first opportunity to clinch the tie. The six-time ranking event winner had looked to be on course to seal a comeback victory, before breaking down on 57. Lisowski pounced with a superb clearance of 52 to take the match on the final black and reach the fourth ranking semi-final of his career.
Lisowski said: “It was an amazing break to win at the end. I don’t know how I did it. I felt quite nervous in the last frame, but the way Stuart was looking I just thought if I get one chance then go for it. It was a great feeling.
“It was quite a scrappy match in places, but I think the way my game is going I am able to put up a fight in those sorts of matches now. I’m accumulating the experience I’ve built up in the last few seasons. I’m just going to try and get some sleep now. I didn’t sleep much last night worrying about my tip.”
Donaldson, who will be competing in his fifth ranking semi-final tomorrow, booked his place in the last four with a hard fought 6-4 win over Ben Woollaston.
The Scot is now the only remaining threat to David Gilbert’s top 16 place in the Race to the Crucible. Donaldson, currently ranked 52nd in the world, would have to win the event to overtake Gilbert.
The Perth potter clinched his quarter-final victory in style with a sublime break of 130 to cross the line in the tenth frame.
Donaldson said: “This is the best run of my career in terms of the size of the event. That game was very difficult for me. Ben is a really good friend of mine so it was hard to play him. I’m gutted for him, but you have to do what you have to do.”