Time to take stock of four days in Preston….
Indian Open 2017 Qualifiers
When the television stages will start, with the last 64 round at the Novotel Varun Beach on the East coast of India, there will be only 4 of top 16 players present, one of them, Shaun Murphy, still having to play his last 128 match against a wildcard. The other three are John Higgins, Stuart Bingham and Mark Allen. It was a depleted field from the start, with Mark Selby, Judd Trump Ding Junhui , Marco Fu, Liang Wenbo, Mark Williams, Ryan Day and Ronnie all giving it a miss. But to make it worse Neil Robertson withdrew, and, Ali Cater and Kyren Wilson failed to qualify.
I don’t think the motivation for the top players to play in this event is very high and there are several reasons for this: the format is short, the prize money modest, the trip is very long (the place isn’t close neither to Delhi, nor to Mumbai) and there is always a sanitary risk.
That of course offers an opportunity to lower ranked players to go deep in the tournament and, maybe, to boost their career. Neil Robertson withdrawing came a bit as a surprise. Neil had a terrible season in 2016/17, so much so that he might not be at the Masters come January. So I would have expected him to enter about everything during the first half of this season. But, maybe, winning in Hong Kong, gave him the confidence that he will be able to rescue his top 16 place without taking the trip to India.
European Masters 2017 Qualifiers
I was beaten writing this part by Michael Day who put an excellent article on his blog, The Cue View
OVERSEAS PLAYERS THRIVE IN PRESTON
The venue stages of October’s European Masters will have a significant portion of players from outside of the continent involved, following the conclusion of qualifying in Preston yesterday.
19 of those qualifiers who emerged are non-European. The figure is impressive, more so when you take into account that Ding Junhui, Marco Fu and Liang Wenbo didn’t enter.
The main percentage of that number is predictably made up of the ever growing and improving Chinese contingent. Chen Zifan, Zhang Yong, Yuan Sijun, Fang Xiongman, Yan Bingtao, Cao Yupeng, Chen Zhe, Zhou Yuelong, Mei Xi Wen, Li Yuan, Lyu Hoatian and Zhao Xintong all advanced to Lommel.
…. read more
Michael is telling the story better than I could do.
And we may have a clue about why Ronnie isn’t there and has not entered the European masters or the World Open either. He is in London attending the Athletics World Championships. As a keen runner and big fan of Athletics, I’m not surprised, especially considering that this event sees both Mo Farah and Usain Bolt taking their farewell from the professional sport.
Ronnie had the best seat in the house and shared that picture on twitter:
He arrived at the event with no other than Sebastian Coe
It’s extremely likely that this was already decided last May when Ronnie attended the “Night of the 10,000m PBs”
At this stage of his career, with nothing to prove, no points to defend until January, and considering his passion for Athletics, it’s a completely understandable decision. I’m fairly certain however that he intended to be at the Shanghai Masters, a tournament he likes, in a city he likes. But WPBSA change of plans didn’t enthuse him as he clearly expressed on twitter. And Preston is no match for an Athletics World Championship in London!
BTW an emotional Mo Farah won the 10000m last night with panache …