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Players Championship LIVE

On table two

Ding Junhui 1-2 Gary Wilson

Brecel 2-3 Lisowski

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Which he misses. Still, 85 is decent, and that’s five frames in 55 minutes of play.

Brecel 2-2 Lisowski (0-85)

Jack is just beautiful to watch; Luca is more about power and improvisation, he’s more defined by touch and feel. There’s a 132 on the table but a tricky red next…

Brecel 2-2 Lisowski (0-35)

Jack breaks the pack off a red sending balls oozing everywhere. The frame is at his mercy.

Brecel 2-2 Lisowski (0-17)

And Jack gets in right away, sending a lovely black along the rail into left corner on nine; that wasn’t easy, and in co-comms, Stephen is purring and rightly so.

We go again

On table two

Ding Junhui 1-1 Gary Wilson

Brecel 2-2 Lisowski

Yup, Luca completes a fine mini-sesh with another fine run that isn’t a ton, and we go to the interval all-square. I’ve no clue who’s going to win this, but I’m enjoying every second of it.

Brecel 1-2 Lisowski (45-0)

Nope, that next black leaves him without an angle to return, so it’s all focus on securing the frame at this visit and he really should.

Brecel 1-2 Lisowski (32-0)

A poor safety from Jack – and a it a straightforward shot too – threatens to undo his good work of the last two frames. Luca has a split pack, all colours bar yellow at home, and after three red-blacks he might play for the blue, but returns to the big dog. Come on Luca!

On table two

Ding Junhui 0-1 Gary Wilson

Brecel 1-2 Lisowski

Jack doubles a red and misses, but he’s in front nonetheless. Another one to him might be telling.

Brecel 1-1 Lisowski (0-77)

Fighters often say they want “to be like water”, which sounds ridiculous but makes sense – it’s about flowing over, around and through – and I think about that often when I watch Jack play. He makes everything looks so easy and so smooth.

Brecel 1-1 Lisowski (0-36)

it’s Jack in again, and he’ll know that if he can ease onto the gas, Luca might start to wonder. This is lovely stuff too, so unfussy and unflustered – it took him a frame to settle, but he looks good now.

On table two

Ding Junhui 0-1 Gary Wilson

Brecel 1-1 Lisowski

Yeah, no snookers but yes foul, and Luca concedes.

Brecel 1-0 Lisowski (19-42)

Or is he? Jack misses a red and Luca returns to the table 50 behind with 42 left, the balls in fair position for snookers.

Brecel 1-0 Lisowski (19-42)

Luca gets in and out, adding just one, then Jack guides a fantastic oblique red to left-middle. It’s so hard to find the middle bags when you can see almost none of them, but Jack went after it without a thought for what he might leave, backing the extreme intensity of his touch, and he’s going to level the match here.

Brecel 1-0 Lisowski (19-26)

Luca gets in first, but in missing a red to left corner, he sends pink to right-middle; problem for Jack is it goes back on the black spot, so when the black goes down it goes back on the yellow spot, and he soon runs out of position, playing safe close to the top rail.

On table two

Ding Junhui 0-1 Gary Wilson

Brecel 1-0 Lisowski

Luca maintains the run with a double – but with the rest, not often you see that. He does miss the green on 99, but he won’t mind, and he hits the front in double-quick time.

Brecel 0-0 Lisowski (83-0)

There’s a real ease about Luca when he’s in nick – Ronnie’s a big fan, what else is to say? – and he quickly secures the frame. This has the makings of a very decent tussle.

Brecel 0-0 Lisowski (35-0)

But another poor safety Jack sticks Luca back in and he finds a terrific cluster-plant to left corner to keep things going. This is a chance, black now available to both corners.

Brecel 0-0 Lisowski (7-0)

Rob Walker was careful not to ask Jack about not having won a ranking title, but we can be sure that if it’s on our mind every tournament, chances are that, whatever head-work Peter Ebdon’s doing with him, it’s on his. Anyhow, a dreadful shot from Jack leaves an easy starter, despatched by Luca with the rest, but he soon runs out of position, unable to persuade himself that black can be sent to green pocket.

Righto, off we go!

The prize for the winner

Is a quarter against Joe O’Connor, followed by a semi against Carter or Milkins. I hate to say it because the German Open was this, but this too is a good chance for Jack to win his first ranking title.

Luca and Jack speak

Luca happy with his game. He’s not got past the last 16 for a bit, but has got to the last 16 most of the time, and just needs a big win to get his confidence going – increasingly, I think that’s his issue, as before he lost to Ronnie in the Masters I watched his interview and thought he doesn’t believe he can win. Jack, meanwhile, says that no one’s dominating this term, it’s just whoever does the necessary at the right moment. Both men want to get into the Tour Championships next month, so there’s plenty riding on this.

This afternoon we have

  • Luca Brecel v Jack Lisowski
  • Ding Junhui v Gary Wilson

Of course, we’ll be focusing on the first match, which should be an absolute beauty: two terrific players, improving all the time, committed to attack. I’m leaning Jack, but I’d not be remotely surprised if it was Luca.

Hello and welcome to Wednesday!

It should be a goodun.

Wednesday’s schedule

Last 16

13:00

  • Luca Brecel v Jack Lisowski
  • Ding Junhui v Gary Wilson

Quarter-finals

19:00

  • Ali Carter v Robert Milkins

Murphy slams ‘ridiculous accusations’ of losing concentration after Selby win

Shaun Murphy has slammed “ridiculous” suggestions that he had lost concentration during parts of his win over Mark Selby at the Players Championship.

Murphy came through 6-3 against the Jester from Leicester, but at one stage looked as if he would let slip his 5-1 lead, with Selby bringing it back to 5-3, before Murphy eventually got the final frame he needed.

The match came hot on the heels of his Welsh Open final defeat to Robert Milkins – a tight turnaround Murphy was also critical of – but despite prevailing, Murphy was angered by suggestions that losing concentration might have been responsible for his up-and-down play during the encounter.

Speaking to ITV Sport, Murphy said: “I think accusing players of lapses in concentration is one of the laziest pieces of journalism in the world.

“For people out there in snooker land to think that at the most important part of a frame or match my concentration wanders, is ridiculous.

“There are quite some interesting technical reasons why you miss those balls.

“The one with the rest in the fourth frame – I hate straight shots.

“I remember Sir Nick Faldo saying ‘the ball isn’t supposed to go in a straight line’. It’s complete rubbish [the suggestion players might be thinking ahead to their next shots].

“It’s one of those things that gets my goat.

“You don’t lose your concentration, there are always reasons why, you might be thinking about the cannon, but you are focussed.

“It’s the most important game of the season, at this time you’re thinking about Tour Champs, you’re thinking about qualification. It’s so important, to accuse players of wandering off is ridiculous.”

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