UK Championship 2017 – Day 2

There weren’t any shocks yesterday in York, but there was a surprise and a good one. Basem Eltahhan from Egypt was due to play Mark Selby in the evening on the main table and I must confess that I didn’t expect anything from this match as Basem, who is in his first year as a pro, had only played two matches until now, and lost both by 4-0. I had planned to watch Allen vs Kleckers and only turned to the other table because the streaming on table 2 was bad and because Kleckers was playing badly as well. Well, Basem Eltahhan gave Mark Selby a serious challenge and the match turned out to be quite interesting. Basem is a rookie, he made a few mistakes – in particular he overhit the cue ball a few times – but he still ran the World Champion very close. He should be proud of his performance. And, I have said it before, first round losers should get something, even if it does not count towards their ranking. It takes two to play a match and yesterday both players gave the paying public and the promoters a lot of value through their performance. It would only be fair that both get something for their work. Giving something minimal to the first round losers shouldn’t be seen as “rewarding mediocrity” – those who lose all the time won’t make it anyway – it should be seen as an investment so that newcomers on the main tour are put in the best conditions to develop to their full potential. Not everyone is a quick learner. Mark Selby was 24, and his ninth year on the tour when he won his first ranking title in 2008, and then had to wait until 2011 before he won another. He was then in his 12th season. He has now turned into a serial winner and the dominant force on  the circuit.  Neil Robertson also was 24 when he won his first ranking title, the 2006 Grand Prix and he had dropped off the tour twice before finding his foot. His game was very raw when he arrived from Australia, he needed time to learn. Could he do it under today’s circumstances? Not sure. He had no money and needed a side job to support himself. That would difficult nowadays with a full calendar.

Anyway here is the day 2 report on Worldsnooker

Judd Trump eased into the last 64 of the Betway UK Championship with a 6-0 whitewash of Matthew Bolton.

World number two Trump top scored with 137, the highest break of the tournament so far, as he set up a second round meeting with Chris Wakelin or Lee Walker.

Bristol’s Trump captured this title in 2011 and comes to York in good form having won the European Masters and reached the final of the Shanghai Masters in recent weeks.

“I felt good, I’ve practised hard for this and I felt sharp out there,” he said. “I didn’t really give him a chance until the final frame, so hopefully I can keep that up.

“This is one of the better tournaments and it was a nice crowd out there for the first round. I’ve done well twice here but I’ve been inconsistent and not done well the past couple of years. I’m due a run here.”

Trump was asked about last week’s Northern Ireland Open when he lost in the first round to Stuart Carrington, and conceded the last frame early, with seven reds still on the table, by pushing his cue into the pack.

“It’s not something that I regret. I think everyone has done it over time,” said the 28-year-old. “I didn’t do anything horrible to Stuart, I didn’t punch the table like other people have done or bang my cue. I just gave up too early when he was going to win because the balls were everywhere.

“I said good luck to Stuart and didn’t mean it in a bad way. I was just down on myself and too tired having done a lot of travelling. When you’re not sleeping, you’re not thinking straight.”

World number one Mark Selby had to battle for nearly four hours to beat Egypt’s Basem Eltahhan 6-4. African champion Eltahhan made breaks of 79 and 99 in sharing the first four frames. Selby made 58 and 76 to lead 4-2 but his opponent, ranked 131, kept fighting and took two of the next three to trail 5-4. Defending champion Selby eventually sealed victory in frame ten with a run of 63.

Selby said: “It was unbelievable. To perform like Basem did throughout the match, he played like a top 32 player. He has only played a couple of matches before (losing both 4-0) but he did himself proud tonight.”

Shaun Murphy enjoyed a comfortable win, beating Pakistan’s Hamza Akbar 6-1. World number six Murphy lost the opening frame but then reeled off six in a row with top runs of 74, 55, 129, 52 and 74.

Anthony McGill showed his break-building class in a 6-2 win over Ashley Hugill, knocking in 84, 66, 105, 108 and 110.  Luca Brecel came from 4-3 down to beat Soheil Vahedi 6-4.

Mark Allen saw off Germany’s Lukas Kleckers 6-2 with top runs of 81, 101, 99, 104 and 72. “I scored well but I didn’t really play well, I was getting chances that I won’t get against the top players,” said Northern Ireland’s Allen. “I’m just happy to get over the line because the first round here is not easy. I feel my game is in good shape.”

China’s Lyu Haotian, a semi-finalist last week in Belfast, beat Anthony Hamilton 6-1 with a top run of 107 while Iran’s Hossein Vafaei top scored with 93 in a 6-4 win over James Wattana. Ricky Walden made a 118 in a 6-1 defeat of Duane Jones.

Leeds cueman Peter Lines edged out Zhou Yuelong 6-5 so remains on course for a possible third round meeting with son Oliver Lines, who beat Mei Xiwen 6-3.

India’s Aditya Mehta potted pink and black in the deciding frame to beat Sam Baird 6-5 while Jack Lisowski made a 124 in a 6-4 win over Wang Yuchen.

As for Ronnie he was also in action in the evening … in WHSmith with a pen

According to Jason Francis the famous spoon with the 108 dots, that Ronnie used to try to keep his focus during his SF against Selby at the UK Championship 2007, turned up for signing …

2 thoughts on “UK Championship 2017 – Day 2

  1. Yes Basem was terrific, and won over the crowd. He was mortified when he realised he’d have to settle for a 99 brea!. I had seen the video of him winning the African Championship and it was pretty awful and lasted for hours. It’s extremely good news that there is a credible player getting that card, which hasn’t been successful the last few times. Let’s hope he keeps it up!

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