China Open 2018 – Day 4 in Beijing

All last 16 matches were played today in Beijing and here are the results:


There were four Chinese players in the draw this morning, there is none left this evening…

Mark Selby is definitely getting back to form and he had far too much for his young opponent Lyu HaoTian, who, in addition, hasn’t much experience on the main table. I expected Zhou Yuelong to give Neil Robertson a bit of a match, but he didn’t. Zhou can play better than that, but either he had a bad day or he was under pressure of expectations playing in front of  “home” crowd.

I didn’t see any of the other two matches, but Jack Lisowski looks in good form; again I was expecting a closer match; It was 2-2 at the MSI, but then Jack stepped up a gear or two and finished with breaks of 88, 81 and 60. Tom Ford, winner over the young Luo Honghao, is impressive considering the health issues he had recently, but what he can do in the latter stages of this tournament remains to be seen. He’s been vulnerable under pressure in the past.

The evening session (afternoon in Europe) was something else.

Mark Williams ran to a 3-0 lead and he was truly impressive in doing so. The third frame was quite special: Williams, having earlier given Allen 34 points in penalty, trying to escape a particularly devilish snooker,  had nevertheless potted frame ball leaving Allen needing two snookers to tie. Allen duly got them and earned a re-spotted black: it was 84-84, before Willams sank the re-spotted black to win the frame. After that, Williams, all of a sudden, started to miss, and to make mistakes. Back came Allen. It went 4-4, and 5-5. Allen had the first chance in the decider … and missed the match ball red. Williams needed not second invitation: he cleared to win on the black.

Switching to the other table, Kyren Wilson was 5-4 up on Ding Junhui, and Kyren had a chance to win the match, but missed the last (difficult) red and Ding took his chance very well. Ding was first in the decider, lead 61-0 and missed a routine red in a middle pocket, and, with 6 reds left,  Kyren made a good 67 break to take the match.

Both matches well worth watching!

Barry Hawkins came back from 5-2 down to beat Cao Yupeng by 6-5. That’s more battle scars for Cao … Stuart Bingham won the only one-sided match of that session, ending Graeme Dott’s hopes to avoid the Crucible qualifications.

As it stands, Mark Selby, Ronnie and Ding, currently seeded n°1, 2 and 3 for the World Championship can’t be caught. They will stay there. The others are still subject to permutations. Ali Carter though is now certain to be seeded. Mark Allen, currently n°16, can still be sent to the EIS next week if Jack Lisowski or Tom Ford win the title. Unlikely but mathematically possible.