As we reach the QF stage of the World Open 2017, Ding Junhui is the only top 10 player remaining in the draw. Today, Mark Allen came from behind to beat Neil Robertson in a decider and David Gilbert beat John Higgins fair and square by 5-2.
Regarding this last result, contrary to many, I wasn’t surprised. John Higgins had beaten Alexander Ursenbacher by 5-0 with some big breaks and many immediately saw him as the favourite for the title. I wonder how many of them had actually watched the match because, although John hit a few big breaks, the truth is that Alexander had been very poor on the day and had handed his opponent a zillion opportunities. Alexander should have won two frames at least. Yesterday, Matthew Selt could and probably should have beaten Higgins as well, but seemed to totally lose the plot in the deciding frame. David Gilbert is an excellent break builder and is not intimidated by big names; he did the job.
Mark Williams comes across as the man in form. He’s only lost one frame in this tournament so far. Willo has an excellent record in Asia, he’s won the 6-reds World Championship earlier this month and he could well win this one as well. Ding Junhui though might have other ideas. I haven’t watched him play, but dismantling the usually solid Joe Perry by 5-1 doesn’t happen that often.
Both Mark Allen and Luca Brecel came through extremely hard-fought matches, winning in a deciding frame, having trailed most of the match. To be fair, Luca was helped by the mother of all flukes in the decider, but, to get there he had shown a lot of patience and applied himself in long safety battles.
To find Anthony McGill and Kyren Wilson still in the mix is not surprising, both have been solid and consistent in recent weeks. Li Hang is the surprise guest to the party, but in fact he’s currently n°7 on the one year list so he’s been very consistent and quite efficient this season … he’s just flying under the radars. We shouldn’t underestimate him!