Not a new stunt by Ben Mertens. Our 16-year-old fellow countryman narrowly lost in the first round of the World Cup qualifications against the Chinese professional player Lei Peifan (17). It became 6-5.
Mertens was nevertheless immediately at the appointment at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. He won the first three frames against Peifan, the number 100 in the world. The East Flemish, who made a name for himself last year by being the youngest player ever to win a World Cup preliminary match, even rose to a 1-5 lead and thus one frame of victory. Few who would have dared to predict this – Peifan was also the favorite according to the bookies.
But then it went completely wrong. Peifan showed himself very strong mentally and won no less than four frames in a row. With a 5-5 score, Mertens could no longer stop the advance of his Chinese opponent in the decisive eleventh frame: 6-5.