Snooker: Career-best result for Leslie

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Bonnyrigg’s Michael Leslie produced the best performance of his career in a 5-1 victory over World No.10 Mark Allen at the Metrodome in Barnsley, earning a place at the final stages of the China Open in Beijing at the end of next month.

Leslie lost the first frame, despite making a run of 53, but responded in perfect style to win five on the spin, including a break of 70 in the fourth to secure a memorable victory.

Leslie said: “I am absolutely delighted. I played a very solid match and although it was not all big breaks, I put a lot of pressure on him and took my chances really well. It is without doubt the best I have played since turning pro.”

The previous day, he let a 2-0 lead slip before going down 4-2 to China’s Cao Yupeng in the qualifiers for the Indian Open.

Leslie said: “It has been tough. Since doing well at the Australian Open I have struggled and haven’t been playing well. You have to play really well to compete at this level as the standard is so high and I haven’t been playing anywhere near where I can. However, against Cao yesterday, even though I lost, I was happy with how I played and I went into the match against Mark feeling a lot better.”

Leslie will now travel to Cardiff to get ready for his opening round of the Welsh Open against four times World Champion John Higgins. He added: “John has always been my favourite player. It is going to be very difficult but I have gained a lot of confidence from this result and hopefully I can play a good match.”