International Championship 2017 – Day 2

Day 2 in Daqing was more eventful than the first one, with both Ronnie and Ding crashing out. Those two are the Chinese crowds favourites and I’m not sure that the sponsors feel really happy tonight, but it is what it is.

Ronnie’s defeat is covered here

Ding went down by 6-4 to Oliver Lines and, although the scoreline looks a bit more honourable, he played worse than Ronnie IMO. He had loads of occasions as neither player were able to finish frames in one visit for most of the match. As a comparison, Ronnie and Yan had 6 breaks over 50 in the seven frames they played, Ding and Oliver had 3 in 10 frames. That said Oliver deserves a lot of credit for this win, in particular for being able to up his game with the winning line in sight. Only too often lower ranked players “freeze” at that stage, as if overwhelmed by the enormity of what they could achieve. Oli won the last three frames of the match and made his only two big breaks precisely in those frames.

Speaking of lower ranked players “choking”, this is exactly what happened in the Mark Selby v Cao Yupeng match, in my opinion. The match was close and both players scored big breaks during the first seven frames, Cao leading 4-3 at this stage. Mark then won the next three to take the match. It’s not that he upped his game – both were struggling to make any telling break at that stage –  but he stayed calm and made fewer mistakes than his opponent whose game disintegrated.

I haven’t seen anything of the Shaun Murphy v Mei Xi Wen match, so it’s hard to figure out what happened there, but Mei lead 3-0 and had 6 breaks over 50, for 3 to Murphy, and still lost.

Liang Wenbo as well had to battle hard, as he needed to win the last two frames to overcome Lee Walker in a decider. And Mark Williams led Yu Delu 5-1, but was pegged back to 5-4 before eventually finishing a 6-4 winner.

Other big names going out were Barry Hawkins and Anthony McGill, both soundly beaten 6-2 by Jack Lisowski and Mark Joyce respectively.

So it wasn’t all plain sailing for the top boys….

But the most unfortunate player was Hossein Vafaei whose flight was delayed so much that he never arrived in time to play his match.