Judd Trump came from 5-2 down to beat Jack Lisowski 6-5 at the Coral Players Championship, becoming the first player into the semi-finals in Preston.
Lisowski looked set to beat his close friend but missed chances in the closing stages as Trump battled back and sealed victory with a century in the decider. The Ace in the Pack goes through to meet Neil Robertson or Mark Williams at the Guild Hall on Friday evening (limited number of tickets still available, for details click here).
Bristol’s Trump is enjoying the best season of his career having won the Masters and two ranking titles, including last month’s Coral World Grand Prix. Victory this week and at the Coral Tour Championship would see him complete the Coral Slam and earn a total of £500,000 – he is now just five matches away from that cash bonanza.
Lisowski made a top break of 81 and won several scrappy frames as he went 5-2 ahead, Trump’s only responses coming with runs of 106 and 70 in frames three and six. The tide turned as world number five Trump made breaks of 75 and 51 in recovering to 5-5.
Early in the decider, Lisowski had a scoring chance after his opponent had gone in off, but after potting one red he attempted a risky thin cut on the black to a top corner and missed his target. Trump made him pay with an excellent 113.
“At 5-2 I felt the game was going against me, Jack had the run of the balls,” said 29-year-old Trump, who has now made 62 centuries this season, more than any other player. “In the last couple of frames it turned around. The break in the last frame wasn’t easy, the balls were awkward.
“I take massive pleasure from beating anyone from 5-2 down, but it is bittersweet against Jack. I’m disappointed for him because if he had beaten me he could have gone on to win the title and that could have been his big break through. But I still have to try my heart out when I’m out there and do anything possible to try to come back and win. It’s nice to be in with a chance of winning another tournament.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be on this winning run, I don’t know how long it’s going to last. To have sustained this form over nearly a whole season is very pleasing. I love the challenge of competing against top players and World Champions so I’m looking forward to my next match.”
Asked about the tough black Lisowski went for in the last frame, Trump said: “You have to weigh up your options at the time. He had been shut out for three frames so maybe he didn’t have the confidence to really go for it. I’ve done it plenty of times in the past and people have questioned my shot choices. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t. Maybe he could have studied the situation and what had happened before and picked another shot, but I’m not going to criticise his shot choice.”
The result means that Lisowski is now out of the running in the race to qualify for the eight-man Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno, which runs from March 19-24.