Fan Zhengyi has reached the semi-finals of the 2022 Cazoo Champion of Champions beating Ryan Day 6-5 in the Group 3 final at the University of Bolton Stadium, Bolton live on ITV4 in the UK and on broadcasters worldwide.
Fan’s debut at the tournament couldn’t have gone much better. The youngster overcome Cazoo Masters winner Neil Robertson in a final frame decider to start the day’s action. The pair struggled early doors as Fan took the opener before Robertson fired in a 122 to level things up at one apiece. Robertson was no stranger to Fan having overcome the Chinese cueist in Belfast just a few weeks ago 4-2 but it was clear his work was going to be cut out this time. The fourth frame went the way of Fan before Robertson hit the front for the first time at 3-2. It seemed as though Robertson had found a way through, but he was left in his chair as breaks of 94 and 98 wrapped up a 4-3 win for Fan.
Day returned to the tournament after claiming his biggest title win to date at the British Open last month and the Welshman continued his imperious form with a gutsy display that saw him dispatch European Masters champion, Kyren Wilson, 4-3 in the afternoon.
Wilson was going to be a tough cookie for Day with the Warrior thriving as of late in the tournament after first reaching the final in 2018 narrowly missing out to Ronnie O’Sullivan. The opening two frames were shared as both made contributions of 50+ before Day made 82 to move ahead. That 2-1 lead was soon 3-1 for Day who was now only one away from the evening’s group final. Wilson came back though in the following two frames to force one more where it was Day who showed his steel to make 86 and wrap up a big victory or Dynamite.
The group final began at some pace with the mid-session interval reached in just under an hour as both Day and Fan moved through the gears. Fan made 135 in the opener, but Day replied with 87 in the second to bring things square before proceeding to take the following two frames to look comfortable at 3-1. Table time was limited for Fan after his 135 but he came back out firing after the interval with 130 and 52 breaks pulling him back level at 3-3.
Fan was fearless when clinching the European Masters crown earlier this year beating O’Sullivan in the final 10-9 and he underlined his ambitions to win the Cazoo Champion of Champions in a turnaround that saw him make 68 to lead at 4-3. It could’ve soon been five but a routine miss on the blue at 57-0 up allowed Day in for a huge steal to get level pegging again.
Neither was fancied by the bookies heading into the day, but they were putting on a contest worthy of any final let alone a group final as Fan made another break of 57 in the following rack which this time did prove to be enough to edge ahead once again. The day wasn’t done just yet for Day as he stole the penultimate frame for the third straight decider of the day. Fan had 35 on the board before he was swept away by a clearance of 93.
World number 37, Fan was making his mark in the tournament and a wry smile appeared from him as he wrapped up another notable day on his ever-growing resume to complete victory. Fan returns on Saturday against the winner of Group 2 consisting of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Zhao Xintong, Robert Milkins, and Mink Nutcharut.
Tomorrow sees defending champion Judd Trump take on the Scottish Open winner Luca Brecel before 2020 winner Mark Allen meets the Welsh Open champion Joe Perry live on ITV4 in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Italy as well as on Viaplay in Scandinavia and the Baltics and Matchroom.Live if you are in a country without a broadcaster. See the full list of where to watch here.