Welsh Open 2017 – Cymraeg cronig – Day 4

It was another strange day in Cardiff as more top players exited the tournament.

Two rounds were played: the last 32 and last 16.

At the start of the last 32 only 6 players were standing from the top 25; at the end of it only 3 remained from the top 30 …  Stuart Bingham, Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins. All three won their matches and will be in the QF, where one at least will depart as Trump and Hawkins are set to meet.

Here are the big results in the last 32:

Hossein Vafaei Ayouri beat Ali Carter by 4-1

The match wasn’t on television so I can’t comment much on it. However it’s worth to remember how much problems Hossein faced before he was eventually allowed a visa to play in the UK. He’s now training in the academy in Sheffield. His game is developing nicely. He’s a big scorer when on song: he finished this match with 136 and 123. Hossein wasn’t really able to do himself justice in the evening against Judd Trump: this was his first match on the television table and he obviously struggled with the pace of it, and maybe the tension of being in the spotlights as well, as he was regularly over-hitting the balls. But we will surely see more of him, if the manages to stay on the tour. Yesterday’s win was a big step towards that goal.

Welsh interests in the tournament came to an end yesterday as Judd Trump beat Jackson Page (4-0),  Robbie Williams beat Michael White (4-2) and Igor Figuereido beat Dominic Dale (4-1). Regarding Jackson Page, yes, it’s a great story, and, yes, the boy is only 15 and he’s got talent, and he’s a fighter. But I’ve not been overly impressed with his game: he’s still very, very raw and absolutely not ready for the main tour IMO. That’s nothing personal against the young man at all, he’s the victim from the fact that the amateur game is not properly managed and promoted and there are not strong enough structures in place to coach and support budding talents. As for Igor, it’s a shame he hasn’t the money to develop his career properly. He can only play part-time. He may be able to secure another two years card, and I wish he does: the World qualifiers will be all important in that respect. Finally Lee Walker, the only Welshman standing went out in the last 16 at the hands of Zhou Yuelong, another teenage Chinese talent, and another one coached by Ronnie …

Mark Allen went out to Mei Xiwen (4-2) and I can only guess that this was another case of Mark getting bored and frustrated with a grinder type opponent.

Stuart Carrington beat Robin Hull, knocking in two centuries to finish.

And of course Yan Bingtao beat World n°1 and World Champion Mark Selby by 4-2 just watch below…

I won’t comment much on the last 16. Most results went the way expected. After his win against Mark Selby, it was to be expected that Yan had a bit of an anti-climax, and Kurt Maflin a deadly scorer. Also Scott Donaldson who stayed very much under the radar, beat Mark Davis in a decider. Not a real surprise to me because Scott is much better than his ranking suggests and, if I’m correctly informed, practices with John Higgins. So he’s n all-rounder with a decent tactical game and this match was always going to be close.

Videos of interest

Last 32 and last 16 day preview:

At the start of this one Ronnie reflects on his defeat to Mark Davis and explains why it isn’t the same as what happened in Berlin. He also reflects on the format and how so many top seeds going out early shouldn’t be such a surprise to anybody.

Watch Yan Bingtao beat Mark Selby by 4-2

and the pundits reflect on his win, his talent, game and future, the state of the game in China and the UK