21 april 2021 publish date

First deciders at Crucible this year. World Snooker Championship 2021

Jack Lisowski played one of the best shots of the tournament so far at a crucial moment as he beat Ali Carter 10-9 in a superb match in the opening round of the Betfred World Championship.

In the first match of the event so far to go to a 19th frame, Lisowski potted a fabulous long red early in the decider, judging position perfectly to finish on the black. That set him up for a break of 60 which proved enough to set up a fascinating second round clash with Neil Robertson.

It was a fitting conclusion to a high quality match, though Carter was annoyed to have missed important chances from 8-6 ahead.

First chance at decider went to Carter but he potted just one red before missing an awkward blue. Lisowski’s tremendous red gave him his opportunity and his run of 60 put him in control. Carter had one half-chance to counter but scored just 7 before failing on a tough pink, and the elbow-bump soon followed.

“Ali was the one player out of the 16 qualifiers I didn’t want to face,” admitted world number 14 Lisowski. “When the draw came out I knew it would be tough. But you have to beat the best players to have a chance. We both missed a few balls. To win 10-9 after losing 10-9 last year is a big relief. I held myself together well from 8-6 and 9-8 down. It’s a game I would have lost a few years ago".

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“I was losing it, my concentration was going a few times. But overall I’m more composed, my game is getting better, my safety is better. It wasn’t a great performance but I did what I had to do to win. I’ve been to three finals this season so I am doing something right in terms of consistency. I want to do better than the second round here and build my way into it".

“Neil is playing as well as anyone, I will have to be on top of my game to have a chance.”

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Carter said: “The turning point was the red I missed at 8-6, it lipped out of the middle pocket. Then early in the last frame I missed the blue but I was closer to the side cushion than I wanted to be. I have had a good second half of the season and I’m heading in the right direction.”

Mark Allen won a match at the Crucible for the first time in three years, and did so in emphatic style as he fired three centuries in a 10-2 victory over Lyu Haotian at the Betfred World Championship.

The Pistol needed just 55 minutes in the second session tonight to end the challenge of Lyu. He did most of the damage in the first session as he surged 7-2 ahead, making breaks of 139, 102 and 116. 

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And he added the three frames he needed with a top run of 64: “It was a steady performance all day, I didn’t miss much in the first session,” said the world number 13 from Antrim. “It was a bit scrappier tonight but I was just happy to win. It’s good to conserve some energy, because when you win 10-7 or 10-8 they are gruelling matches. I can have an early night now, a few days off and plenty of practice.

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“I have had no form since the Champion of Champions. It has been a very poor season. I lost early in the UK Championship and the Masters and haven’t gone deep in any ranking events. I have been working hard on the practice table, working on the right things and it hasn’t clicked so far, so hopefully it can click here. I love playing here, it’s great to have fans and the crowd will grow through the event.”

Stuart Bingham summoned a crucial break of 70 in the final frame to edge out Asian number one Ding Junhui 10-9 at the Betfred World Championship.

The pair played out a keenly contested afternoon session, which saw Ding peg 2015 World Champion Bingham back to 9-9 after trailing 9-8. It was at that point that they were pulled off to allow the evening session to get underway.

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“I’m over the moon to get through that game, it was a classic match. I was gutted to get pulled off at 9-9, but it probably did us both a favour to chill out for a few hours. The first eight or nine minutes of that deciding frame had some unbelievable safety. We weren’t giving each other a chance,” said 44-year-old Bingham. 

“Luckily for me, he missed after he got in and I produced one of my best 70 breaks and one of the best at the Crucible Theatre".

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“It’s going to be tough against Jamie Jones. It’s his first season back on and he is probably playing the best snooker of his life. After what he went through and coming through Q School straight away, at the end of the year he is in the last 16 of the World Championship. He is going to be one hell of a tough player.”

The article is based on WST.TV