… and before …
At the time of writing this the first round at the Main event, played at the Grand Stage in Shanghai, is about to conclude: only one match is still in progress, between Mei Xiwen and Adam Duffy, and one match, Ronnie vs Gary Wilson has been pushed to tomorrow morning, for obvious reasons.
Before looking at the results, let’s have a look at what happened before that stage.
There wasn’t a red carpet ceremony apparently, which is unusual in China, nor was there a grand launch dinner as no picture of this appeared on weibo. There was however some kind of ceremony involving former winners, in the Bund area judging by the images, a players meeting with the fans, and an opening ceremony before the last session of yesterday. Here are a few images shared on social media, mainly weibo:
Other than that, the main news, a bad news for the promoters, is that Ding Junhui withdrew. Going by what transpired on social media he is suffering from viral conjunctivitis and can’t see properly.
Over the last two days, the schedule was very busy: there was a pre-qualifying round, the held-over matches round and the last 64 round all played to a conclusion except for the Ronnie vs Gary Wilson match. And there weren’t any upsets… except, maybe, Ryan Day being beaten by Yu Delu, but then Yu is always a dangerous player and the match went to a decider anyway. There were a few surprising scorelines though: Mark Allen beating Yan Bingtao by 5-1, for instance, or Luca Brecel beating Matthew Stevens by 5-0.
In Luca’s case it’s not just the scoreline, it’s the circumstances too: his cue, lost in Daqing, didn’t reappear, so he’s playing with a new cue, and, he’s also playing in borrowed cloths and shoes … He picked the wrong luggage at the airport, a bag looking exactly like his own with, quite extraordinarily, the same code on the lock, and only discovered his error when opening it at his hotel hours later. So he was wearing Martin Clark’s and other players shoes, shirt, waistcoat and trousers. Luca’s manager said they were Michael White’s, but going by the green back of the waistcoat, it looks more like Mark Allen’s to me. Whatever, it clearly didn’t affect Luca’s game, but maybe, it did affect his opponent concentration. Indeed, the waistcoat was obviously oversized and, with the belt tightened, looked more like a pinafore on him than like a regular waistcoat.
here is what Luca’s manager tweeted
Thanks to Martin Clark and some of his cloths and some from Michael White and shoes from a stranger Luca made it to his match
So the only match still to be played in the round is Ronnie vs Gary Wilson and it could well be an upset. Gary is a good player and he’s been in China for a few days already. Ronnie probably only arrived today (China time), having played a best of 19 final in Coventry late on Sunday evening, so he’s more likely to be affected by tiredness and jet-lag than his opponent. The match is scheduled at 9:30 am in China, that’s 1:30 am in UK and probably on Ronnie’s body clock too. He said it in his postmatch in Coventry, he doesn’t have big expectations, he will try his best and will try to enjoy it and see what happens. He also said that he’s due to do some promo work for his sponsor. Apparently that involved some kind of “snooker & boxing” exhibition with Zou Shiming, China’s most prominent boxer. Don’t ask …
Of course we know that Ronnie loves his boxing and that his uncles were boxers. Just hope he doesn’t sprain a wrist to go with the sprained ankle.