Luca Brecel and Lu Ning won Groups 10 and 29 respectively to progress to Winners’ Week at the 2022 BetVictor Championship League Snooker at the Morningside Arena, Leicester live on FreeSports, Matchroom.Live and networks worldwide.
Brecel came into Group 10 alongside Robbie Williams, Zhao Jianbo, and Oliver Brown with hopes of following on from a fine season last term. The Belgian Bullet looked cool and composed throughout his opening match as he rattled off a 3-0 win in quick time over Zhao that included a break of 76 and 85 in the second and third frames.
Competition in the group came from Williams who had drawn his opener with Brown before dispatching Zhao to all but end the Chinese cueist hopes of making the next stage. Williams made 70 in the first against Zhao before he bit back with a beak of 90 only for the former to come good for a 3-1 win.
The evening action got underway with Brecel overcoming Brown 3-1 thanks to breaks of 89 and 66 after Brown, making his professional debut, has taken the opener to wake Brecel up. Brown’s loss to Brecel did mean that he and Zhao would do battle for third and last place respectively and it was Zhao who came good with a whitewash win to claim prize money whilst Brown would go home empty-handed.
Brecel met Williams in the last of the action to decide the group with the picture clear for both. Brecel only needed a point whilst only a victory would guarantee progress for Williams. Williams got off to the better start and looked likely to top the group after breaks of 44 and 68 but Brecel leaped into life from there. A granite 67 in the third put Williams on red alert and Brecel’s composure saw out a draw with a break of 98, his best of the day, to become the second Top 16 player to reach Winners’ Week after Zhao Xintong progressed earlier in the week.
“I played some really good stuff today, I think. I made a lot of breaks and felt like I was the best player in the group. To be 2-0 down against Robbie, I felt like I would’ve been disappointed if I didn’t win the group. I practiced a lot during the summer. I’ve been playing some good stuff in practice. It’s not a surprise. It’s always nice to do it on the match table. I feel like I am playing a lot better than last season. Hopefully, it can be another good season again.” – Brecel after claiming Group 10 win.
“I don’t have many points to defend this season, so the only way is up. If I can get some good results like last season, I could finish maybe top four by the end of the season. There’s a lot to play for. I am feeling good. Relaxed and playing well,” Brecel added.
Lu’s passage was of a similar ilk to Brecel with high breaking aplenty on his way to a comfortable group victory with a maximum return of nine points. World No.34, Lu, got off to the best of starts beating John Astley in the opener 3-1 with breaks of 97 and 91 in the last two ensuring all three points and putting the group immediately under it. Both Chen Zifan and Astley took three points off Oliver Lines to wrap up the afternoon session without either dropping a frame to keep the group open.
Chen took on Lu in the opener of the evening and was on the receiving end of his own whitewash as Lu powered through 3-0 thanks to a break of 54 in the last in a comprehensive scoreline.
Lu’s fate was sealed after Chen and Astley shared the spoils for both to finish on four points. It didn’t stop Lu from making sure of being undisputed at the top though with a 3-1 win over Lines in the final match of the day.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker returns on Monday with Ronnie O’Sullivan in action in Group 1 with Alexander Ursenbacher, Farakh Ajaib, and Alfie Burden. Table 2 live on the Matchroom Multi Sport YouTube sees Jamie Jones, Sam Craigie, David Lilley, and Andres Petrov do battle.