Ryan Day clinched the final remaining place at next week’s Players Championship by making the last 16 of the Jojobet.com Gibraltar Open.
The Welshman has now amassed an unassailable total in 16th spot of the one-year money list and will take his place in Llandudno.
Day came from 3-2 down to beat Luca Brecel 4-3 this evening and faces John Astley on Sunday in Gibraltar.
World Grand Prix runner-up Day could still have been pipped by Joe Perry or Mark Williams. The former had to reach the final to stand a chance, but was defeated 4-1 in the last 32 by Jamie Jones. Meanwhile Williams needed to win the event to pip his compatriot, however Day’s performance now means there is no more the two-time World Champion can do when he gets underway tomorrow.
Qualification for the 16-man event in Llandudno next week earns Day a guaranteed £10,000 and the chance to play for the top prize of £125,000. It could prove to be crucial for the Welshman who lies in 16th spot on the provisional world rankings, which could see him qualify directly for the World Championship in April.
“It’s been a battle all day really,” said the four-time ranking finalist. “To make the Players Championship is a massive opportunity to hopefully get enough points so I don’t have to go to the qualifiers for the Crucible.
“I feel I’ve really improved since the start of the new year. Playing in the Championship League has given me match practice and sharpened me up.”
Judd Trump produced a break building clinic as he charged through to the last 16. The Ace in the Pack made seven breaks over fifty, including three centuries across his three matches. He rounded off a good day’s work with 4-1 defeat of world number 30 Matthew Selt. He’ll face Sanderson Lam next on Sunday.
Mark Allen defeated four-time World Champion John Higgins 4-1 in a dominant last 64 display. The Pistol fired with breaks of 69, 82, 56 and 135 on his way to the victory. He then secured his place in the last 16 with a 4-1 win over David Gilbert.
His next opponent will be Jack Lisowski, who put on the performance of the day in his win over German Masters Champion Anthony Hamilton. Lisowski blitzed through to Sunday thanks to runs of 104, 106, 83 and 129. The victory taking just 42 minutes.
Neil Robertson progressed with a 4-2 defeat of Scotland’s Rhys Clark. The Thunder from Down Under, who didn’t enter the upcoming China Open, will be looking to hit top form in Gibraltar with next week’s Players Championship marking his last competitive action before the World Championship.
Sanderson Lam ensured his best ever ranking performance by reaching Sunday’s last 16. He defeated 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon in the last 32. Meanwhile John Astley progressed thanks to a 4-1 win over 2015 Welsh Open finalist Ben Woollaston.