Jack Lisowski and Matthew Stevens will face each other in the first round of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
Jack Lisowski’s season so far
After a 2020/21 campaign in which he came so close to breaking his ranking event duck, this term has been less promising for Lisowski.
Only one semi-final appearance and one other quarter-final run do not make for particularly good reading.
Lisowski was able to hang on to a place in the top 16 mostly on the back of his results last year, but next term could be a struggle with so many points to defend.
Now 30, the Englishman is at a stage of his career where he should be using his talent to push himself forward to the higher echelons.
There is a constant battle between his natural desire to produce attacking snooker and the obvious need for him to develop a more tactical B-game approach.
Lisowski’s failure to listen to the advice pertaining to the latter is the primary reason he loses so many matches he should win.
Matthew Stevens’ season so far
Towards the end of this season, former UK and Masters champion Matthew Stevens found himself in a battle for tour survival.
But the 44 year-old finally woke up to his perilous position in the standings and recorded some morale-boosting victories in Wales, Turkey, and Gibraltar.
Those wins gave him the confidence he needed to emerge from the qualifiers, and with £20,000 in his back pocket he’s guaranteed to finish this term well inside the top 64.
A 10-8 victory over fellow two-time World Championship runner-up Ali Carter on Judgement Day would have done the confidence no harm either.
The days when Stevens challenged for world titles are long gone, but he has always had a good record in Sheffield and remains dangerous on his day.
Lisowski leads the head-to-head 2-1, but all three of their matches were spread out over a long period, and they haven’t actually played each other since 2017.
This fixture represents one of the most eye-catching of the entire first round draw at the Crucible.
Both players have an attacking style and prefer to keep things open, so it has the makings of a high-scoring affair.
Which Lisowski actually turns up is anyone’s guess, though, and with several victories in the preliminaries under his belt Stevens may just pinch this one.
Prediction: Jack Lisowski 8-10 Matthew Stevens
Tuesday, April 19th – 7pm
Wednesday, April 20th – 2:30pm
Featured photo credit: WST