UK Championship 2017 – Day 4

Saturday in York saw the start of the television stage and half of the last 64 matches played. Some of the World Disability Snooker players were welcome and met some of the players involved.

Pictures shared on social media

On the table we had another major shock in the afternoon, with young Scott Donaldson sending the World Champion and World n°1, Mark Selby, home. Scott had arrived in York on the back of 11 consecutive defeats, and winless this season. From 0-2 down, he managed to win 6-3. In the evening there weren’t big surprises, although some scorelines are IMO a bit misleading. Judd Trump did whitewash Chris Wakelin in no time, but frankly he didn’t play well at all. At the MSI his pot success was only 81% if I remember correctly. Chris was just plain awful.

Here are the reports on Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session.

Defending champion Mark Selby suffered a second round exit at the Betway UK Championship as he lost 6-3 to world number 66 Scott Donaldson.

Perthshire’s Donaldson enjoyed the best win of his career so far as he reeled of a trio of big breaks to win the last three frames against world number one Selby.

Donaldson, age 23, reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Open last season but then had a terrible start to the 2017/18 campaign, losing ten matches in a row. He ended that barren spell by beating John Astley 6-2 in the first round at the York Barbican and today’s win over Selby sets up a last 32 clash with China’s Li Hang.

Selby looked comfortable in the early stages as he went 2-0 up with a top break of 68, but Donaldson hit back to win three frames in a row with top runs of 88 and 51. World Champion Selby won the sixth for 3-3, but he didn’t score a point in the last three frames as Donaldson fired breaks of 90, 77 and 84 to win in style.

“In terms of the difficulty of my opponent it’s my best win,” said Donaldson, who turned pro in 2012. “I’m quite calm, it’s just another win for me and I’ll be preparing for my next match now.

“It has been well documented that I’d not won a game this season but I actually had a lot of cue problems. I have to say thanks to Raymond Cohen from Exquisite Cues because he has done a brilliant job with it, and I’ll stop messing about with it now. I feel I’m back to where I was last year.

“I got good chances in the balls today and I capitalised on it. It doesn’t always happen like that, on another day I wouldn’t have had a look in. I took my chances and that’s what you need to do in any game regardless of who you are playing.”

Selby said: “Everyone seems to be playing at that standard against me at the moment. I rate Scott as a player, he’s got a good all round game, he scores well as you’ve just seen today. It didn’t surprise me him playing like that because I’ve played him before four or five times and he’s performed like that every time. He closed the match out really well

“If I had kept missing and not taken my chances then it would have hurt a lot more. I’ve got no excuses.”

Neil Robertson made three consecutive centuries for the second match in a row as he beat Ken Doherty 6-2. Australia’s Robertson trailed 2-1 but then took five straight frames with high scores of 102, 124, 129.

“I have been practising for the last two months and I feel as though something has really clicked now,” said Robertson, the 2013 and 2015 champion. “I’m 100% focused on snooker now and that’s showing so far in my performances this week.

“I had a chance to make four centuries in a row but didn’t land on a red when I went into the pack. I was looking at doubles, I was looking at plants, I was looking at everything but it would have been taking the mick a bit if I went for something silly.”

Robertson is still in 17th place in the race to the Masters because 16th-placed Ryan Day beat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-3 with a top run of 81.

Northern Ireland Open champion Mark Williams extended his winning streak to nine consecutive matches with a 6-2 win over Andrew Higginson. Williams indicated that he will continue to play in the tournament as it stands, despite his wife Joanne suffering an illness which has required hospital treatment.

Mark Allen came from 3-2 down to beat Oliver Lines 6-4 with top breaks of 101 and 127. That ended Lines’ hopes of playing his dad Peter in the next round.

Chinese teenager Lyu Haotian made a 106 in a 6-3 win over Peter Ebdon.

Neil Robertson opened up last season about his video games addiction, and this time revealed that his family has been facing tough times. It can’t be easy for sure. Neil is still in with a chance to be at the Masters but he needs to get past Ryan Day who also won yesterday.

Evening session.

Judd Trump made it two consecutive 6-0 wins at the Betway UK Championship by white-washing Chris Wakelin, but admitted he wishes he could play stress-free snooker.

World number two Trump followed up his 6-0 first round win over Matthew Bolton with another comfortable victory, needing just 99 minutes to beat Wakelin with a top break of 61.

Trump won this event in 2011 but that remains his only Triple Crown title and the 28-year-old believes that he needs changes to his game and his mindset in order to fulfil his potential.

“I want to do better in these Triple Crown events where there is more pressure,” said the Bristolian, who has won eight ranking titles overall including this season’s European Masters. “I have been working hard but so has everyone else. The way I have played this season has been my worst for about five years.

“I think I got into the mindset that I didn’t have to practise hard, and now it has caught up with me. My game isn’t where it should be and I’d be surprised if I do well in this tournament. I am trying a few new things and that takes a while to take effect.

“The confidence I had when I broke through is not there any more. Now there is no real freedom and I want to get back to the time when I could just enjoy playing and not worry. It’s more stressful now. Maybe I have too much expectation and I need to be more relaxed, and play the way I do at the end of a frame when it’s already won.

“There was a massive crowd tonight, it felt like a semi or a final instead of a second round game. I am disappointed with how I played but happy to win my first two matches 6-0.”

Liang Wenbo top scored with 110 in a 6-1 win over Mitchell Mann which maintains his cushion over Ryan Day and Neil Robertson in the race to the Masters.

Jimmy White couldn’t build on his first round win over Ali Carter as he lost 6-2 to Kurt Maflin. Norway’s Maflin made a top break of 77 in building a 5-0 lead and sealed victory in frame eight.

Stephen Maguire, the 2004 UK Champion, thrashed Jak Jones 6-0 with top runs of 84, 70, 94 and 93 while Graeme Dott edged out Dominic Dale 6-5.

Marco Fu saw off Zhao Xintong 6-4 while Leeds cueman Peter Lines beat Xu Si 6-2. Joe Perry earned a 6-3 victory over Jack Lisowski.

Judd’s assessment of the situation is very honest, credits for that, and, yes, he should be worried because unless he improves significantly he won’t go deep in this.