The semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open are here, promising thrilling snooker action at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. In the second Home Nations event of the season, four English contenders vie for the prestigious Alex Higgins Trophy. Let’s dive into the exciting matches and schedule for the semi-finals.
Semi-Final 1: Jack Lisowski vs. Chris Wakelin
Saturday, October 28th – 1pm
In an impressive quarter-final display, Jack Lisowski outclassed Ricky Walden with a 5-1 victory. His confident start was marked by a clutch clearance in the opening frame. The 32-year-old Lisowski’s performance was a blend of remarkable scoring and strong safety play, showcasing his progress in both departments.
Lisowski, often referred to as the best player without a ranking title, seeks to change that narrative. He has come agonizingly close before, with nine runner-up finishes in various competitions, including six in full ranking tournaments. Now, he has a prime opportunity to break this streak.
His opponent, Chris Wakelin, has been on the rise, securing his maiden title at this year’s Snooker Shoot Out. He transformed from a player just inside the top 50 in the world’s rankings to a potential top 20 contender. In the last round, he defeated Shaun Murphy 5-2.
Notably, Lisowski has won all four of their previous meetings on the main tour, making their semi-final clash even more intriguing.
Semi-Final 2: Judd Trump vs. Barry Hawkins
Saturday, October 28th – 7pm
The second semi-final features the two most in-form players of the 2023/24 snooker season, Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins. Both players secured dramatic victories in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Trump, a frequent comeback artist in October, defeated Stephen Maguire in a thrilling decider. Hawkins, on the other hand, fended off a late surge from David Gilbert to win by the narrowest of margins.
This clash sets the stage for a showdown between the winners of three of the last four ranking events on the calendar. Hawkins bested Trump to claim the European Masters title in August and is one of the few players to beat the world number three this season.
Judd Trump, riding an 18-game winning streak, is eyeing a remarkable hat-trick of successive ranking titles. He recently triumphed in the English and Wuhan Opens this month, making him a strong contender.
While Trump has a superior overall head-to-head record against Hawkins, their matches have often been closely contested, with Hawkins enjoying his share of successes. With both players in top form, the outcome is uncertain, setting the stage for an electric atmosphere in Belfast’s one-table setup.
Northern Ireland Open Schedule and Results
Let’s take a look at the schedule and results for the Northern Ireland Open:
Quarter-Finals (Best of 9 frames)
Ricky Walden 1-5 Jack Lisowski Chris Wakelin 5-2 Yuan Sijun Judd Trump 5-4 Stephen Maguire Barry Hawkins 5-4 David Gilbert
Semi-Finals (Best of 11 frames)
Jack Lisowski 1-6 Chris Wakelin Saturday, 7pm Judd Trump vs Barry Hawkins
Final (Best of 17 frames)
Sunday, 1pm and 7pm Chris Wakelin vs. the winner of Trump/Hawkins
The Northern Ireland Open promises high-stakes snooker action and thrilling encounters in the semi-finals, with the winner setting their sights on the prestigious Alex Higgins Trophy. Stay tuned for more updates on the road to the final championship match!