Day 3 saw the completion of 4 out of 8 last 16 matches, all played in the main arena, one table setup. So I had the opportunity to watch everything. Thanks ones again to the promoters, Thiess-McCann.
But before saying anything about the matches… this day was Jan Verhaas 50th birthday!
A very happy birthday young man!
Now about the business on the table …
Alfie Burden 4-3 Ricky Walden
Alfie had never reached a QF in a ranking event before this season, and now this is his second already this season. So, congratulations to him! The match however was one that failed to get me involved. Maybe it was too early, maybe I was just a bit tired, I don’t know. Fact is that I just couldn’t really get in it. Ricky started with a fluent 73 to win the first frame. After that, Alfie managed to win the next three without any break to speak of. It was a bit of a start/stop affair, lacking rhythm; at least it’s how it felt to me. Ricky rallied to 3-3, getting a very good 69 in the sixth. Alfie duly seized his chance and the match with an excellent 64 in the deciding frame.
John Higgins 4-3 Tom Ford
Many will feel that Tom Ford should have won this match. Indeed John Higgins made an unusual number of errors, and Tom Ford got to a 3-2 lead with breaks of 61, 72 and 79. At that point John had failed to string any telling break together. He did however in the next and forced a deciding frame with a 71. The last frame was very tense but it went to John Higgins after Tom Ford wasted two really good chances. The feeling was that Tom was the better player on the day, but that’s of course deceiving. Being the better player is often about how well you handle it when the heat is on, and, in that department he was no match to John Higgins.
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Mark Allen
Neil Robertson 4-1 Rhys Clark
This was a high scoring affair with a 50+ break in every frame: 82, 61, 103, 67 for Neil, 73 for Rhys. Despite the severity of the final score, Rhys certainly showed a lot of potential and gained the heart, and the support, of the Romanian audience. He’s out of the tournament, but we will no doubt see more of him in the future!