Xiao Guodong came back from 2-0 down to beat compatriot Lyu Haotian in a marathon group final, booking his spot in winners’ group at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker.
Starting the day with just two wins to his name, Xiao’s place in the group play-offs was far from safe with his two remaining matches coming against group leader Graeme Dott and tournament money leader Matt Selt.
Xiao couldn’t stop the Dott train in his opening match, losing 3-1 the former world champion, before a much needed 3-1 win against Matt Selt all but confirming his 4th place finish in the group, setting up a play-off against the impressive Dott.
He exacted his revenge on the Scot, winning 3-1 with breaks of 106, 61, and 41. A win that set up a group final against late call up Lyu Haotian who had been in fine form, beating Stephen Maguire 3-1 in his play off with breaks of 76, 58, and 100. Maguire failing to score a single point in that match.
Both players started the group final as they had finished their play offs, with Lyu Haotian taking early control thanks to breaks of 63 and 128 for a comfortable 2-0 lead.
The remaining three frames were mirror opposites of what was earlier displayed, scrappy snooker saw the pair take just under 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete; a sign that both were clearly feeling the pressure.
Xiao rallied back to 2-2 and force a decider that ebbed and flowed in either direction, before a lengthy battle on the final brown eventually went the way of Xiao, who thumped in the frame and match winning pink to complete the 45 minute decider.
Elsewhere in the group Matt Selt, who had played in all seven groups, equalled the world record of century breaks made in a tournament (23), Selt’s 23rd of the event coming in a 3-1 defeat to group winner Xiao Guodong, joining Kyren Wilson in holding the record.
Xiao completes a stacked winners’ group at BetVictor Championship League Snooker that consists of: Jack Lisowski, Stuart Bingham, Kyren Wilson, Judd Trump, John Higgins, and Neil Robertson.
Winners’ group begins tomorrow (Wednesday, 1st March), live on ViaPlay, DAZN, Matchroom.Live, and Matchroom Multi Sport YouTube from 11am GMT.
The tournament carries a prize fund of £205,000 with players earning £100 per frame won with significant bonuses for their final group position and increased prize money in the Winners’ Group. A place in the 2023 Champion of Champions is also on the line with each group featuring seven players with matches being held over two days.