Today we reach the quarter finals in Lommel, and not many would have predicted the line-up.
I did watch a bit of the last 32, but none of the last 16 as I was attending the Challenge tour, so here are the reports on Worldsnooker
Mark Selby came from behind to defeat Mark Davis 4-2 on day three of the D88.com European Masters in Lommel.
Selby came into this week straight off the back of his sensational 10-9 win over John Higgins in the final of the China Championship in Guangzhou. Having only arrived home on Monday, the Jester From Leicester undertook a six hour car journey with Barry Hawkins yesterday before his first round match.
Despite having to contend with the time difference and the travelling, Selby once again finds himself in a position to contend in the latter stages. He did start the slower of the pair today, as Davis established a 2-0 advantage. From there Selby burst into life, winning four frames on the bounce to secure victory.
The three-time Crucible king has occupied the world number one position since February 2015. However, he is projected to be overtaken by Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan before the end of the season.
“I’ve got a lot of money to defend this year,” said Selby. “It would be nice to finish the season world number one again, but at the moment it is more in Mark’s hands than it is in mine. I have a lot of work to do to try and keep that number one place.”
Judd Trump’s two-year reign as European Masters champion was brought to an end by Tian Pengfei after a 4-2 defeat.
Trump hadn’t lost a frame this week going into the clash. However, it was Tian who progressed to book his last 16 clash with Liang Wenbo.
Kyren Wilson defeated Allan Taylor 4-2, despite having to take a medical break due to heavy nosebleed.
The Warrior was leading 2-1 when he had to take the timeout. When he returned he polished off two of the next three frames, making breaks of 81 and 67 to ensure his progress.
Wilson said: “It just wouldn’t stop bleeding. I felt a bit shaky after it. Losing a lot of blood and then going on to play snooker makes you a bit nervous anyway. I’m just pleased to get through.”
Home favourite Luca Brecel overturned a 3-0 deficit to defeat Alan McManus 4-3 in a late night clash. The Belgian now faces Anthony Hamilton in tomorrow’s last 16.
Anthony Hamilton put on a superb display to defeat Belgium’s home hero Luca Brecel 4-3 at the D88.com European Masters in Lommel.
World number 12 Brecel has made a habit of staging dramatic fightbacks this week having come from behind in each match and overturning a 3-0 deficit to defeat Alan McManus 4-3 in the previous round.
On this occasion he was once again chasing his counterpart. Hamilton surged out of the blocks to take move one from victory at 3-0, making breaks of 51 and 68 along the way.
The Belgian spectacularly clawed his way back into the tie, compiling runs of 72 and 78 on his way to forcing a decider. However on this occasion, it wasn’t to be, as the 2016 German Masters champion Hamilton edged a tight frame to book his quarter-final spot.
“It was probably the best snooker I have played for a calendar year,” said Hamilton. “He showed himself to be a good character this week being 3-0 down twice. He is dealing with the pressure better than most would.”
World number one Mark Selby’s run was ended by Ryan Day, who came through a 4-2 victor.
The Welshman claimed his first and second ranking event victories last season after 19 years as a professional. He is now potentially three wins away from a third and will face Mark King for a place in the last four.
King is showing tremendous form so far this week having recorded some impressive victories. He defeated three-time ranking event winner Ricky Walden 4-1 this afternoon and saw off Chinese star Zhao Xintong and 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham in the earlier rounds.
King won an emotional maiden ranking crown at the 2016 Northern Ireland Open and admits it would be equally special if he could double his title tally this week.
King said: “It is alright winning one event, but then you get people saying you are a one hit wonder. It would be lovely to win any title. Every event I enter I try to win every match. Things are going pretty sweet this week and hopefully the momentum will stay and I’ll keep winning.”
Jack Lisowski is still in the hunt for his maiden ranking title after defeating Zhang Anda 4-2. While Joe Perry recorded an impressive 4-1 defeat of the in form Kyren Wilson.
Perry will face Tian Pengfei in the quarters after the Chinese potter defeated compatriot Liang Wenbo 4-2.
Mark Allen is through to the last eight after holding off Ross Muir’s comeback charge to win 4-3. He’ll face Jimmy Robertson tomorrow who defeated Anthony McGill 4-3 on the final black. Remarkably all of Robertson’s games so far this week have come down to the final ball.
What I can add, only about the last 32, is this:
Joe Perry v Andrew Higginson and Ryan Day v Elliott Slessor were very good matches. Both Andrew and Elliott played better in this tournament than some who went through to the next round. Joe Perry and Ryan Day are playing very well and I see them as contenders for the title. The same goes for Mark Allen. Mark King and Anthony Hamilton, those two hard never-say-die warriors, seem to be back to the level and the mood that gave them their first and only ranking titles (for now) two years ago.
Judd Trump hadn’t lost a frame, but I’m not surprised one bit that he lost to Tian. Tian may be unspectacular, but he’s very capable and patient, something Judd isn’t. Unless Judd changes his mindset and approach, I can see only one way for him: down.
Anthony McGill wasn’t playing well and it’s only his will to win that carried him that far. In the last 32 his opponent was Ali Carter, who, in truth played better than Anthony. But in total contrast to Anthony’s application, Ali was showing signs of frustration as soon as things weren’t going his way. Twice he conceded a frame with only one snooker needed and still reds on the table.
Mark Selby should be commanded for playing in Lommel in the first place. Yesterday, to his own admission, he ran out of steam. He actually was the only thing, or rather person, that i saw from the main tour yesterday. We were both on our way to the bathrooms and Mark still took a few seconds to say hi, and ask how things were for me. He might be ruthless at the table – that’s his job – but privately he’s a very nice person and professional too.