Switzerland’s only snooker professional Alexander Ursenbacher produced a sublime display of break building to defeat Triple Crown winner Shaun Murphy 4-1 at the Dafabet English Open in Barnsley.
Ursenbacher is beginning his second spell on the World Snooker Tour after regaining his place by winning the European Under-21 title in March. He joins a youthful last eight lineup, with six of the players under the age of 30.
The Swiss potter was relentless in today’s clash with the 2005 World Champion and there were no signs of nerves as he stormed to the biggest victory of his career, reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. Ursenbacher compiled runs of 76, 82 and 123 on his way to victory.
“It is a buzz, I was quite nervous when I beat Stuart Carrington in the last 16. I was struggling. Now I have played Shaun Murphy and done very well. I wasn’t nervous,” said the world number 91. “First I am trying to represent myself, to play good snooker and win some games. Then I am thinking of my country. I am very happy if I can promote snooker in Switzerland and make it bigger.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins met in yet another classic encounter, with the O’Sullivan coming out on top 4-3.
It was the 62nd clash between the pair and it certainly lived up to the billing, with a run of over 50 in every frame.
The Wizard of Wishaw was the first to impose himself on proceedings with a brilliant break of 138, after a misjudged safety from O’Sullivan. The Rocket responded immediately with a break of 88 as they went blow for blow with big contributions.
There were further runs of 73 and 78 for Higgins and 84 and 60 for O’Sullivan as the match went down to a decider at 3-3. The five-time World Champion made a superb long red from Higgins’ break and compiled a break of 91 to claim a tremendous win.
O’Sullivan said: “We are pretty even in our record. That is a compliment, I’ll take that all day. If somebody said to me you will have an even career with John Higgins I’d take that. I’m happy to be compared alongside him.
“Nothing gets you focused like playing a top player. I think I got more out of that match than my last six or seven games.”
Jack Lisowski defeated good friend Judd Trump 4-3 to set up a showdown with O’Sullivan.
It’s will only be the third quarter-final of Lisowski’s career. His previous appearances in the last eight came at last season’s Gibraltar Open and the 2013 China Open. Defeat for European Masters Champion Trump ends his hopes of winning back-to-back events for the first time in his career.
Lisowski trailed 3-2 this evening, but made a break of 67 to force a decider, before a run of 80 saw him cross the line a 4-3 victor. (Watch Lisowski’s winning moment here.)
Lisowski said: “Having practised alongside O’Sullivan he is still pretty intimidating to play. It will be tough for me, but in terms of concentration definitely not as hard as tonight.”
Iran’s Hossein Vafaei backed up a brilliant last 16 win over Stuart Bingham with a 4-1 defeat of Andrew Higginson. He’ll face Kyren Wilson who looked to be in sublime form as he demolished Xiao Guodong 4-0. There were breaks of 109, 106 and 97 for the Warrior.
Anthony McGill and Neil Robertson set up a last eight meeting with impressive wins. McGill came through a decider to defeat young Chinese star Yan Bingtao 4-3. While Robertson eased to a 4-1 victory against India’s Aditya Mehta.
Friday’s Quarter-final line up:
12pm Neil Robertson v Anthony McGill
Not before 2pm Kyren Wilson v Hossein Vafaei
Not before 7pm Ronnie O’Sullivan v Jack Lisowski Michael White v Alexander Ursenbacher