But before looking at those stages … Ding surely can be excused for, maybe, not being fully focused on his snooker this week. Indeed, his first child, a little girl, was born on Wednesday!
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Congratulations to the Ding family and all the best to the little one!
The last 16 stage saw both Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson depart, at the hand of Noppon Saengkham and Jack Lisowski respectively. Both matches ended in a long scrappy decider. Noppon could have won by 5-2, Mark needed a snooker in frame 7, but in typical Selbiesque fashion he got it and went on to force a deciding frame. I watched only the decider, it wasn’t pretty! However Noppon wasn’t to be denied, and Mark honestly stated that he wasn’t playing well enough to win. Jack was 3-0 down, despite making two breaks over 50 in those three frames whilst Kyren had none, but then found another gear and proved to be the better player.
Marco Fu put up a remarkable performance, beating Robert Milkins in double-quick time, by 5-2, with 6 breaks over 50, including 2 centuries and two other breaks over 90.
Here are the results of the QF stage:
Marco Fu wasn’t able to repeat his last 16 performance and bowed out to a very solid David Gilbert. Barry Hawkins v Gary Wilson was a good match with both playing well. Jack went 3-0 up Mark Williams, with breaks of 60, 82 and 100, in about half an hour and then lost his way … allowing Williams, who was far from perfect, to win 5 on the trot. I can’t comment on the last match, having seen none of it.
Today will see Barry Hawkins take on David Gilbert, and I expect a close affair, whilst Mark Williams will face Noppon Saengkham. If Mark wins, which I expect, he will overtake Ronnie as n°2 in the rankings. Not that it matters much as Mark Williams himself explained
“All the players know that the best player in the world is Ronnie O’Sullivan, and the only reason he isn’t number one is that he doesn’t play in a lot of tournaments. It makes virtually no difference now what your ranking is, because in most tournaments everyone starts in the same round. To be world number one might sound nice but it means nothing now.”