Six matches were scheduled on day 1 of this year’s Shanghai Masters, each featuring a top 16 player and a Chinese player. All but one were won by the top 16 seed, the only exception being Luca Brecel’s defeat to Zhou Yuelong.
Stuart Bingham has now a bye to the quater finals as Shaun Murphy has withdrawn. Shaun’s newborn daughter Molly is in hospital and she is, rightly, Shaun’s main priority. I want to wish little Molly and Shaun’s family all the best. I hope all will be well soon.
Kyren Wilson extended his hot streak of form with a 6-3 win over Liang Wenbo on day one of the 2018 Shanghai Masters.
Wilson came into this week having won back-to-back titles at the Paul Hunter Classic and the Six Red World Championship. The Warrior claimed the Six Red world crown just two days ago in Bangkok, thanks to an 8-4 defeat of Ding Junhui in the final.
That means Wilson has now won 17 matches on the bounce and is undoubtedly the form player in the field.
The timely nature of the Englishman’s run of form is emphasised by the fact that the new look Shanghai Masters, is now the most lucrative invitational event of all time. The winner will earn £200,000 with there being a total prize fund of £725,000. The elite 24-man field includes all of the world’s top 16 players.
If Wilson were to take the title this week he would become the first player since John Higgins in 2001, to win three tournaments in a row.
Wilson said: “Any win now is very tough. The tour is so good. If I could emulate someone like John Higgins that would be a dream come true.
“My career really kick started when I won this event in 2015. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to go and win more events and maybe that is why I hesitated later on in tournaments after that.”
Stephen Maguire secured a hard fought 6-4 victory against the winner of the amateur Shanghai Masters event, Pu QingSong.
The Scot had trailed 26-year-old Pu 3-0, but he dug deep to claim six out of the next seven frames to progress.
“Not for one second did I take him lightly. I know how good the Chinese players are. Although, I didn’t expect him to be as good as he was,” said Maguire. “It is quite scary. It makes you feel old out there. I think because of the age, a little bit of experience helped in the end.”
Stuart Bingham recorded the only whitewash of the day, demolishing Fan Zhengyi 6-0. While Zhou Yuelong booked a last 16 clash with Mark Selby after defeating Luca Brecel 6-4.
The evening session saw Neil Robertson crush Guo Hua 6-1 and Mark Allen battle past Xiao Guodong 6-4.
You will also find the detailed results, and links to the videos, at snooker.org
Now this is interesting, and I’d like to get Lewis opinion on the subject: Fan Zhengyi, who is an “academy kid” and a hot prospect, was absolutely destroyed by Stuart Bingham. But the two “club players” Pu Qingsong and Guo Hua – who had been coached by Ronnie and Willo – gave a very good account of themselves. This was acknowledged by Stephen Maguire who had to work hard to beat Pu. The 6-1 score in the Neil Robertson v Guo is a bit misleading too. Guo played some great shots and was often first in, but never really got the pace of the table, which in turn prevented him to score heavily as he often ran out of position. Neil eventually managed a big break in most frames, but needed at least 3 or 4 chances before he got going. Had Guo been a bit more used to the conditions – the television Star table plays very differently than a club table – the match would have been extremely close. So, why? Could it be that those club players, who certainly play in local leagues on a regular basis – have mental skills and hands-on experience that can’t be acquired in the “academy” context?
Anyway … if you wonder what coaching Pu and Guo got, here it is, thanks to Nicolay and Silvry