Judd Trump crushed Jimmy Robertson 6-0 at the Coral Players Championship and is now just six wins away from a possible £500,000 pay day.
Trump is through to the quarter-finals in Preston for a Wednesday evening showdown with close friend Jack Lisowski, who beat Kyren Wilson 6-4.
Bristol’s 29-year-old Trump won the Coral World Grand Prix last month, one of three events in the 2019 Coral Snooker Series, along with this week’s tournament and the new Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno later in March. If he captures all three trophies to complete the Coral Slam, he’ll have his prize money for those events rounded up from £375,000 to a massive £500,000.
And the world number five looked at the peak of his powers tonight as he whitewashed Robertson in just 81 minutes. Breaks of 105, 71, 50, 104 and 115 helped him to an emphatic victory.
“I started off well, scored heavily and my long potting was good,” said Trump, who has also won the Masters and Northern Ireland Open this season. “When you are winning tournaments, playing well and practising hard, you can relax from the start of matches, rather than worrying about how you are going to play as I have done in the past.
“This is an enjoyable period of the season with a lot of big tournaments and a lot of prize money. I really enjoy playing when there are one or two tables and longer matches, the atmosphere is a bit more special and there is prestige attached to these events.
“Jack has been consistent this season and when he wins his first title he will shoot up the rankings and you’ll see another level to his game.”
Asked about the possible £500,000 jackpot, he added: “Six matches is less than you would need to win a home nations event so it is reasonably close. But to do it I’ve got to beat six top players so it will be tough. If I can keep playing consistently the same way I will have a chance, or at least it will take someone playing unbelievably well to beat me.”
Lisowski reached the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the sixth time this season with an impressive display against Wilson.
From 1-0 down, world number 15 Lisowski took five of the next six frames with top runs of 50, 65, 121 and 59 to lead 5-2. Wilson won a scrappy eighth frame then made an 83 for 5-4. But a superb pot on a red to a centre pocket early in frame ten set Lisowski up for a match-winning 110.
“I felt pretty calm,” said 27-year-old Lisowski. “I have been working on a few things to calm me down in the big arena. I managed to keep my concentration in front of the cameras. I’ve got great people around me and I’m listening to them to try to get better.
“I let Kyren off the hook a bit at 5-2 and it nearly cost me because he’s a great competitor and he wasn’t fazed by being behind. So in the end it was nice to pot a good red, get a bit of luck and make a century. My season has gone a bit quiet for the last few months so I’m not too high on confidence but I’m happy to be in another quarter-final.”
He and Trump are set to meet for the fourth time this season. Lisowski has only won one of the previous three, though that was also a best-of-11 meeting, at the International Championship when he scored a 6-2 success.
“He’s pretty much the best player in the world at the moment so it doesn’t get any harder than” said Lisowski, before heading with Trump to a late night pancake house in Preston. “If he has an off day and I can score then anything is possible. I’m looking forward to it.
“We’re so used to playing each other, we know it’s tough but we’re mates anyway. We’ll get some pancakes now then I’ll ignore him all day tomorrow.”