China Championship 2017 – Day 4

There weren’t that many surprises today and all four surviving top 16 players are through to the quarter finals.

Here are the reports on Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session (morning in Europe):

Saturday 19 Aug 2017 01:47PM

Shaun Murphy hammered Stephen Maguire 5-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.

A 62 clearance in the opening frame set the tone for world number eight Murphy, the highest ranked player left in the event. And he followed up with runs of 52, 71 and 104 as he cruised into the last eight, where he will face China’s Zhou Yuelong.

The first frame was massive because Stephen had a chance but I managed to nick it in the end,said Murphy.That set the scene for the first half of the match. I had some good fortune at the right time while he had some bad luck with some kicks which weren’t his fault. On another day it could have been me losing 5-0 and going home so I’m relieved and lucky to get through.

“I played nicely towards the end which gives me confidence. I have been struggling with my game for the last few months which made me re-evaluate things.

“When the top boys go out the rest of us have a look around and think ‘who fancies it?’ When the likes of Selby, Robertson and Trump go home it gives everyone else a better chance and it’s not a negative thing to say that. But you can’t win the tournament in the quarter-finals so there’s a long way to go and there are a lot of good players left.

“I have played Zhou a few times and he is very dangerous, he’s a great player in the making.”

Home favourite Zhou, who knocked out Mark Selby yesterday, wasn’t at his best but still did enough to beat Martin Gould 5-2 with a top break of 51.

Belgium’s Luca Brecel saw off Mike Dunn 5-3 with a top run of 58. Brecel led 3-0 and 4-1, and though Dunn pulled two frames back, Brecel  secured victory in the eighth.

Two-time World Champion Mark Williams, who was runner-up at the China Open in April, booked his quarter-final slot by beating Tom Ford 5-3. Williams compiled two breaks of 64 and one of 58.

Evening session (afternoon in Europe):

Saturday 19 Aug 2017 02:52PM

Ronnie O’Sullivan needed less than an hour to beat Graeme Dott 5-0 and reach the quarter-finals of the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.

O’Sullivan fired breaks of 78, 75, 62 and 139 as he won in 59 minutes to book a meeting with Luca Brecel.

It was a very good crowd, they come here for entertainment and I want to put a smile on people’s faces,” said O’Sullivan, chasing his first ranking title in 18 months. “It’s important for me to show people what I can do. I play to enjoy it and hopefully everyone else does. I like to play quickly, make breaks and play the first shot I see without thinking too much. When I do that I enjoy the moment and forget about everything else. Now the match is over I am happy to have won.

“I want to play the way that allows me to enjoy the game, and tomorrow will be the same.”

Ali Carter eased to a 5-1 win over Mark Davis with top breaks of 51, 73, 50, 53 and 70. He will now face Fergal O’Brien, who came from 4-2 down to beat Alan McManus 5-4 in a marathon 4 hour 50 minute battle which finished at 1am.

China’s Li Hang reached his first ranking event quarter-final by edging out Matthew Stevens 5-4. Li trailed 4-3 but dominated the last two frames with top runs of 41 and 54.

“It has been my goal for a long time to make my first quarter-final. It came true today and I’m so happy,” said Li, who now meets Mark Williams. “I have loved the sport since I was a kid but there was a period when I wasn’t in form and I almost quit.

“I have to thank my family, especially my dad. I dropped off the tour in 2009, my technique was totally out of shape. For some reason I came back and persisted so I’m happy with where I am now. This tournament does not really give me pressure as I’m trying to improve myself as a player and collect as much experience as I can. I’m able to enjoy the game now. You guys (the media) mentioned a potential final of me against Zhou Yuelong and I guess we’re both trying.”

Sunday’s quarter-finals:
Shaun Murphy v Zhou Yuelong
Ali Carter v Fergal O’Brien

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Luca Brecel
Li Hang v Mark Williams

You can read a bit more, and see more pictures, about Ronnies win here.

Fergal O’Brien needing nearly 5 hours to beat Alan McManus raised the question of the shot clock once again, and it was Mark Williams who prompted it on twitter:

Personally, I don’t mind a reasonable shot clock, like the 30 seconds used in the Eleven30 format. I don’t think that any player needs more than that to see the shot and get ready to play it, except in rare occurrences where the situation is really complex, and time-outs are there for those cases. But, that said, rather than having a shot clock, what I would like to see is referees enforcing section 4 of the rules. Indeed taking unnecessary long time either for shot selection, or shot execution, is deemed ungentlemanly conduct by the rules. Of course the issue is that referees have to use their judgement and discretion to determine what is “unecessary long time” and it depends of a lot of factors: the difficulty of the shot,  the situation on the table, the context of the match/tournament, the player natural pace … to list only a few. It’s not easy, but on the other hand a rule that’s never enforced doesn’t make sense in any sport: either it needs scrapping or rewriting, or it needs to be enforced, and I, personally, would love to see this one enforced. The problem is not the length of the match, sometimes it just gets very tactical and it takes time despite the players playing at a normal pace. But we do know that a lot of those marathons always feature the same players, and THAT can’t be pure chance. I think that most fans who regularly watch the sport know who the serial “offenders” are, and, no, NOT Mark Selby, not nowadays certainly. It may be that the players in object don’t do it on purpose, actually it’s probably a case of over-thinking more than deliberate ungentlemanly conduct. But even then, enforcing the rule would probably help them. Players who are over-thinking, and looking for problems, often get bogged down and play better when they play a bit faster and trust their instincts more. And, let’s be honest, it’s no fun for the paying public either. A good tactical battle is interesting and entertaining. Looking at a player contemplating the balls for a couple of minutes before every shot, and eventually taking the one everyone had seen with 10 seconds, is simply boring. I remember a first round match at the Crucible where a lot people left the arena, totally fed up (clue it involved Ricky Walden). People pay to be entertained, not get bored out of their skulls.

One thought on “China Championship 2017 – Day 4

  1. Yes I agree about the need for some kind of time controls, and the problematic nature of a shot clock. Didn’t we all just know that the O’Brien-McManus match would go like that! I was one of the 5 spectators who stayed to the end of the O’Brien-Tian match in the WC qualifiers, which featured a 90-minute final frame and finished at 2:30am! And then two days later was that O’Brien-Gilbert match…

    If snooker had a proper ranking system (like an Elo rating, used by chess, cricket and many online games) then most pro tournaments could be on an invitational basis. This would allow tournament organisers to invite top players, popular players and local favourites, plus a mandatory number feeding through qualifiers.

    A global ranking system which included amateurs at all levels would help the whole game, particularly young players transitioning through a healthy pro-am circuit. Top players could choose how many tournaments they play without damaging their ranking, and middle-ranking pros could decide to travel less, saving overheads.

Comments are closed.