UK Championship 2016 – Last 32 round-up

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the last 32 round and there were a few more unexpected results and drama aplenty. The biggest name to go out yesterday  was Ding Junhui who was outplayed by Jamie Jones.

Read here the official reports by Worldsnooker:

Monday afternoon

Monday 28 Nov 2016 06:02PM

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby both scored emphatic 6-1 wins at the Betway UK Championship on Monday to reach the last 16.

O’Sullivan conceded a frame for the first time in the tournament, having won his first two matches 6-0, but then reeled off six in a row to beat world number 99 Michael Georgiou.

Breaks of 82, 84, 67 and 69 helped five-time UK Champion O’Sullivan book a fourth round meeting with Joe Perry or Matthew Stevens. Georgiou described his opponent’s ability as “not human” after being blown off the table.

“That’s a big compliment from a fellow professional,” admitted 40-year-old O’Sullivan. “There’s a lot of hard work and discipline behind being able to play well. When people talk about it being natural and effortless, I find that insulting because I work as hard as anyone. Someone once asked Muhammad Ali about his natural talent and he said it only looks that way because he gets up at 6am and spends the whole day running and training.”

Selby saw off Robert Milkins with top runs of 77, 120 and 64. He now faces Mitchell Man or Zhang Anda.

David Gilbert made a brilliant clearance in the deciding frame to beat Ali Carter 6-5. Gilbert came from 3-0 down to lead 5-3 with top breaks of 126 and 108. Carter recovered to 5-5 with 95 and 116 and looked favourite when he led 52-4 in the last frame. But Tamworth’s Gilbert dished up with 55 to set up a match with Ding Junhui or Jamie Jones.

“It’s the best clearance I’ve ever made,” said Gilbert, who could earn a place in the top 16 and the Masters if he reaches the final. “It means a lot because this is a massive tournament and I want to get in front of the TV cameras and show what I can do.”

Peter Lines’ dream of meeting son Oliver in the semi-finals ended as he lost 6-2 to Liam Highfield, whose top break was 110.

Monday evening

Monday 28 Nov 2016 11:05PM

John Higgins stepped up his bid for a third title within a month as he beat Ben Woollaston 6-2 to reach the last 16 of the Betway UK Championship.

Higgins had Dominic Dale to thank for the result as his cue tip was damaged during his previous match Noppon Saengkham, and Dale happily met his request to put on a new tip. Three-time UK Champion Higgins looked comfortable among the balls tonight as breaks of 94, 52 and 89 helped him to a comfortable victory.

“I’m really happy with how things are going, it couldn’t be better to be honest,” said Higgins, who has already won the China Championship and Champion of Champions this month and earned well over £300,000. “I know Ben missed a couple of shots, but I played pretty well to go to 3-0. He got back to 3-2 and then the sixth frame was a massive turning point as Ben had a couple of good chances and he’ll be really disappointed he didn’t capitalise on those to make it 3-3. That really changed the game because I was in front and won the last two frames pretty easily.

“Dominic put a new tip on for me and told me to just go out and play with it. Hopefully he’ll give it another shape for me before the next round. He says I owe him a meal!”

Zhou Yuelong edged out Yan Bingtao 6-5 in a battle of two of snooker’s hottest young prospects.  Yan led 4-1 before Zhou won five of the last six frames with top runs of 96, 71, 53 and 84. In another Asian derby, Marco Fu beat Mei Xiwen 6-4 with a top break of 128.

Luca Brecel impressed in a 6-1 win over Yu Delu, his top break 80.

It’s a real shame that the match between the two young Chinse wasn’t on television, it would have been far more interesting than the John Higgins drubbing of an out-of-sorts Ben Wollaston. Those guys are the future of snooker and it went to the wire.

Yesterday afternoon

Tuesday 29 Nov 2016 04:47PM

Oliver Lines kept his superb run going at the Betway UK Championship with a 6-0 thrashing of Jimmy Robertson

Talented 21-year-old Lines beat Judd Trump 6-2 in the previous round and kept his momentum going with another excellent display against Robertson, knocking in breaks of 90, 51, 67 and 72.

The world number 61 from Leeds is through to the last 16 of a ranking event for the second time in his career and now meets Marco Fu on Wednesday evening.

“If I had lost today after beating Judd the other night then it wouldn’t have meant much,” said Lines, who won the Rookie of the Year award after his debut season in 2014/15. “Judd actually messaged me before the match today and said I better not lose.

“I played really well and handled the occasion. I have been working on my scoring and I made good breaks at the right times today.

“Hopefully this is the start of something good. I remember when David Grace got to the semi-finals here last year, and I said to my dad ‘that will be me next year.’ It will be tough against Marco Fu though because he is world class.”

Oliver’s dad Peter lost to Liam Highfield last night, ending their dream of a semi-final meeting, but it has still been a lucrative week for the family, with £25,000 in prize money already banked. “I keep getting texts off my sisters saying what they want for Christmas,” joked Lines Jnr. “I’m really proud of what me and my dad have done here.”

Shaun Murphy came through a dramatic tussle with Dominic Dale, winning 6-5 to earn a match with Zhou Yuelong. Murphy, the 2008 UK Champion, built a 5-2 lead with top breaks of 63, 89, 65 and 103. Dale battled back to 5-5 and looked favourite in the decider until he missed a red to a top corner leading 34-15. Murphy seized his chance with a 34 clearance.

“I missed chances to win at 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, and it really didn’t look like I deserved to win the game in the end as I was making mistake after mistake,” said Murphy. “I wasn’t able to get to the line and think clearly. I made a mistake at 5-2 and punished myself throughout the next few frames. I wasn’t able to put one foot in front of the other.

“It’s a horrible feeling, thinking you’ve messed it up, and it’s very hard to play through. Dominic commented on the number of chances we both had at the end there. We made that look very difficult out there – snooker can do funny things to you. Maybe the trick is not to care and got out and play with a bit of freedom, but my problem is that I do care.”

 “I’m just pleased to still be here and have the problem of wondering where to go to dinner in York this evening. That’s a nice problem to have, rather than to have to drive home down the A1 after another disappointing, devastating loss. I’m 34 now and I’ve been doing it a long time, but every defeat still hurts, and that disease-ridden feeling of loss started to circle then.”

Mark Williams also came out on the right side of a 6-5 scoreline, beating Ricky Walden. Chester’s Walden led 5-3 with a top break of 86 but he missed chances in the next two frames and two-time UK Champion Williams eventually won the tie with a run of 91 in the decider. The result means that Walden will miss the Masters for the first time since 2012, having dropped out of the world’s top 16. Williams now meets :Liam Highfield.

Matthew Stevens set up a match with Ronnie O’Sullivan by beating Joe Perry 6-2. Welshman Stevens, the 2003 UK Champion, compiled beaks of 64, 57, 93 and 61.

Ricky Walden looked absolutely devastated at the end of the match. Shaun Murphy here above explains very well how a player feels when a match is slipping out of their hands, for Ricky there was the additional factor of dropping out of the top 16 and missing the Masters.

Matthew Stevens seems to be playing well again, but how well exactly is hard to assess as he’s not been on a television table yet and Joe Perry, to his own admission, has been struggling badly in this tournament. We’ll soon find out though, as he will be Ronnie’s opponent this afternoon on the main table.

Yesterday evening

Tuesday 29 Nov 2016 10:34PM

Jamie Jones scored one of the best wins of his career with a 6-2 defeat of two-time UK Champion Ding Junhui in the last 32 of the Betway UK Championship.

World number five Ding became the latest top star to crash out of the tournament in York, following the likes of Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham out of the exit door.

And he was soundly beaten by an excellent display from Welsh 28-year-old Jones, who is through to the last 16 of this tournament for the first time.

Jones won the opening frame with a break of 61 and the second with a 46 clearance. Ding recovered to 2-2 but then Jones dominated after the interval, winning four frames in a row with top runs of 55 and 51.

“It ranks high among my best ever wins,” said world number 39 Jones, who now meets David Gilbert. “I felt calm throughout and I put Ding under pressure. If you do that against anyone they will miss, and then you’ve got to punish them when you get chances.

“My philosophy this week has been to just treat every match the same and not think about how far I am in the draw or the prize money.”

Mark Allen made a tremendous comeback from 4-0 down to beat Ryan Day 6-5.  Allen made a 136 to launch his fightback and eventually won a tense 41-minute decider on the colours.

“I felt at 4-0 down that if I could get a couple of frames back I’d have a chance,” said Allen, who now meets John Higgins. “When it got to 4-3 I noticed Ryan was shaking all over the place and I knew I could win. I’m chuffed with the result but I need to improve.”

Stephen Maguire came from 5-3 down to edge out Fergal O’Brien 6-5 while China’s Zhang Anda saw off Mitchell Mann 6-3.

Ryan Day, who is a trememdous player and very good to watch when relaxed, often looks vulnerable when the pressure is on, and he was again yesterday.

Here are bits of the drama for you to enjoy if you missed it: