It was last 64 Day in Belfast and the biggest casualty was the local favourite, Mark Allen, who lost by 4-3 to Tian Pengfei. Quite ironically, Mark played a lot better than he had in his first-round match, but still got beat in what was a high-quality match. Allen, who can be outspoken at times and got criticism for it as he sometimes comes across as “rough”, is actually a very warm-hearted person and will donate his earnings to charities. Already two of the logos he was wearing were for charities. Hats off Mark!
The day saw another top 16 player going out to a Chinese lad as Ali Carter was well beaten by Xiao Guodong. The “Class of 92” is still in it as are Neil Robertson and Ryan Day, two players who need results to secure their spot in Alexandra Palace come January.
Mark King, the defending Champion is through as well and will now face Yan Bingtao. The defending champion was again playing at a time that wasn’t the best: in the morning, without television coverage, just streaming. That’s not right IMO.
The veterans, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White both won yesterday as well, which somehow gave the local crowd a bit of solace. Ken, of course, is very popular in Ireland and Northern Ireland and Jimmy remains the “Peoples’ Champion”.
Ronnie looked tired out there and struggled but found enough to secure a quick win. He will play Elliot Slessor today, someone with a similar game to Duane Jones but with a bit more experience.
Here is the report on Worldsnooker:
Mark Allen’s hopes of winning his home event were ended by a 4-3 defeat against Tian Pengfei at the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
The Antrim potter’s exit finishes off the chances of a winner from Northern Ireland following first round defeats for Joe Swail, Gerard Greene, Declan Brennan and Jordan Brown.
There was never more than a frame between the players today. With the score at 2-2, Tian looked to be heading one from victory before missing a pink down the cushion to allow Allen the simplest of opportunities to clinch the frame on the black and go 3-2 up.
However, runs of 50 and 51 helped the world number 63 Tian to restore parity and force a decider at 3-3. He then burst to the win with a break of 109.
Allen said: “I’ve been playing well for the last two months. I’ll just try and block out these performances as I feel my game is in good shape. Hopefully some day I can lift the trophy for the people of Northern Ireland. I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself. Just because I am the home favourite it doesn’t mean those fairy tales are going to come true. Hopefully in years to come I will be able to handle it better.”
Allen has pledged to donate the £2,500 of prize money he has earned this week to local charities, the Welcome Organisation and Cure4Cam.
Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated Welshman Duane Jones 4-0 to ease into the last 32.
The 30-time ranking winner is the only man who has a chance to win snooker’s £1 million bonus attached to winning all four Home Nations events. He claimed the title at the English Open in Barnsley after a 9-2 demolition of Kyren Wilson.
Welshman Jones had looked set to take the opener, but couldn’t get position on the final black and went in-off attempting to play safe, handing O’Sullivan the lead. From there the Rocket compiled runs of 65 and 81 as he booked a last 32 clash with Elliot Slessor.
John Higgins remains in the hunt for a 30th title after progressing to the last 32 with a 4-2 win over Iran’s Hossein Vafaei.
“I was concentrating a little bit better tonight. I knew I probably had to,” said the four-time World Champion. “It was a more free flowing game and I am pleased to beat him. He is a very dangerous player and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Defending champion Mark King booked a last 32 clash with Yan Bingtao thanks to a 4-1 defeat of Ashley Hugill and Neil Robertson continued his quest to qualify for the Masters with a 4-0 win over Billy Joe Castle.
Joe Perry secured an impressive 4-0 win over Matthew Selt, but agonisingly missed out on an opportunity for a 147 break.
The Gentleman found himself in prime position to make the perfect break in the opening frame, but snookered himself on the blue behind the pink.
Perry said: “I was disappointed. It is one of the things I wanted to achieve, make a televised 147. I just have to keep plugging away.”
Jimmy White and Ken Doherty both secured their progress to the last 32. The Whirlwind whitewashed Welshman Jak Jones 4-0. While Doherty defeated China’s Niu Zhuang 4-1.
For full results click here.
Videos of interest:
Ronnie vs Duane Jones
Ronnie once again insisted that it’s all about enjoying it at this stage of his career and that he wants a good balance in his life. It hasn’t worked badly for him this season…