English Open 2018 – Last 128 Round-up

The 128 became 64 and only one top 16 player fell by the wayside: Kyren Wilson who lost to Sunny Akani by 4-3. This certainly is unexpected given Kyren’s form of late, but, of course, Sunny is a very good player; he has proven that in the past, notably by giving Ronnie a right scare last season. Yet, Kyren lead 2-0, with two big breaks and, at that stage,  Sunny had potted just one ball. In the next frame though, the young Thai made a great 133, a new career-high break, and got on the scoreboard. Kyren took the next, to lead three one … and then lost three on the trot, and the match.

The highlight from day 2 though came thanks to “Theppy”. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh made a 147 … on a side table. But you can still watch it here:

So it was a great day for the Thais!

Here are the reports on the last 128 by Worldsnooker:

Day 1

World number one Mark Selby took just 49 minutes to beat Sanderson Lam 4-0 in the first round of the BetVictor English Open in Crawley.

Selby is looking for his second title of the season, having won the China Championship last month, and looked in fine form against Lam as he knocked in breaks of 78, 106 and 79. He now meets Ben Woollaston on Wednesday (tickets available – click here for details).

“I only played one or two bad shots in the match so it was nearly faultless,” said Leicester’s 35-year-old Selby. “I made a good break to win the first frame then after that I played well.

“Last season I won two big tournaments in China but lost early doors in the big BBC tournaments. This season I am working harder and hoping to change that in the BBC events. So to get a tournament win under my belt in China gives me the confidence to kick on for the rest of the season. I feel in good shape.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan began the defence of his title with a 4-1 victory over Kurt Maflin. O’Sullivan, playing in a ranking event for the first time this season, set up a second round match with Allan Taylor by knocking in breaks of 104, 70 and 82.

Shaun Murphy top scored with 66 in a 4-1 win over Mike Dunn while World Champion Mark Williams eased to a 4-1 win over Dominic Dale, firing breaks of 116, 54 and 109. Neil Robertson made breaks of 100 and 112 in a 4-2 win over Ross Muir.

China’s promising Luo Honghao came from 3-0 down to beat Adam Duffy 4-3 with a top break of 128. Ryan Day made a 141, the highest break of the tournament so far, in a 4-0 win over Ashley Hugill.

Day 2

Judd Trump and John Higgins were among the first round winners as snooker’s top stars thrived at the BetVictor English Open in Crawley on Tuesday.

Trump beat Robin Hull 4-1 with a top break of 104 to set up a last 64 match with Zhao Xintong. World number five Trump hasn’t won a ranking title for over a year but hopes he is coming into form.

“I played some good stuff in spells, we both struggled a bit,” said 29-year-old Trump. “I feel as if my scoring is coming back. For me it’s about enjoying my snooker, practising hard and trying to learn from some of the other top players while they are still around.”

Higgins beat Li Yuan 4-1 with top runs of 75 and 88 to set up a second round match with Nigel Bond.

“I have been struggling this season and that was probably as well as I have played,” said Higgins, who was runner-up to Mark Selby at the recent China Championship. “I haven’t been practising or playing well since the start of the season. I was surprised that I got to the final in China because my play was terrible. I can try to win matches this week and build a bit of momentum and confidence.”

Highlight of the day was a 147 for Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first frame of his 4-1 win over Soheil Vahedi, earning him a possible £17,000 bonus. Read more on that story here.

European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson kept his momentum going with a 4-1 win over Michael Holt, making breaks of 81, 71 and 68.

“I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment and full of confidence,” said Bexhill’s Robertson. “I played really well tonight. I know a lot of people in this area, when I was growing up I was playing in clubs all over Sussex. Quite a few people are here to support me.”

Veteran Jimmy White scored an impressive 4-2 win over China’s Lyu Haotian. That made it back-to-back wins for 56-year-old White as he beat Fergal O’Brien in last week’s International Championship qualifiers. Today, the Whirlwind fired breaks of 81, 74 and 63.

World number nine Kyren Wilson became the only top-16 ranked player to lose in the first round as he went down 4-3 to Thailand’s Sunny Akani. From 3-1 down, Akani took the last three frames with top runs of 78 and 62.

Luca Brecel top scored with 109 in a 4-0 win over Niu Zhuang while Mark Allen beat Anthony Hamilton 4-2 with a top break of 91. Jack Lisowski came from 2-1 down to beat Fergal O’Brien 4-2

One thing that Worldsnooker didn’t report though was that Higgins, speaking to the ES pundits, very bluntly said that losing two World finals has “taken the stuffing out of him” and that he isn’t enjoying his snooker one bit. He actually said he “hates” it at the moment.

Shaun Murphy didn’t play well – and honestly acknowledged it – but still won. Judd Trump played some fantastic snooker mixed with some bad shots, he needs to find consistency; the 104 he made in frame 2, however, was truly remarkable.

Jimmy White beat Lyu Haotian, by 4-2, with three big breaks. I have a feeling that Jimmy has been working his socks off in preparation for his Seniors UK Championship defense next week in Hull. Should he and Ronnie win today, they are on course to play each other!

Of course, Ronnie won on day 1 and you can read all about his win and what happened next here

With Jimmy playing, Ronnie was in the studio for the afternoon and evening sessions.

MissingClip – Afternoon session

MissingClip -Evening  session

Quite a few interesting points made in these discussions too.

Regarding his comments on Monday, Ronnie didn’t back-off but clarified what he meant, and it’s hard not to see his point. Also, despite claims by WS that other players were unanimously happy, it became clear that this isn’t the case, with Maguire and Allen expressing similar concerns as Ronnie did, and sure enough, Peter Ebdon, even if he didn’t say anything, must not have been too amused either.

It’s also interesting that Ronnie believes that Higgins, in fact, feels burnt-out and that this is why he’s so negative. It could well be the case. Jimmy went the same way when he observed that lower-ranked players, not getting to the latter stages of tournaments, don’t play that much and therefore probably feel OK with the busy calendar, but that indeed top players are at risk of burn-out unless they pick and choose.

Ronnie, on twitter, had launched two polls.

This one, in particular, sparked a discussion in the studio

Ronnie's poll

Barry Hearn replied that “top 16 are seeded”. Yes, they are, but it takes a good dose of bad faith not to understand what Ronnie meant, which was “seeded into the last 32” like it was earlier. That’s a quite overwhelming majority and it was over 5000+ votes. It’s clear that the fans want to be guaranteed to the best players at the latter stages. My guess is that the broadcasters and sponsors would agree too. Yes, it’s a form of protection… unless it’s, like at the Crucible, and whatever money the top players might get in the last 32 wouldn’t count towards the rankings if they lose. In that case, it’s actually added pressure.

As you can guess, most headlines in the press revolved around Ronnie’s comments.

Hector Nunns though made this niece piece about Luo Honghao and his talent as a pianist



2 thoughts on “English Open 2018 – Last 128 Round-up

  1. The fact that the top 16 are seeded but not given bys in the early rounds is what is making the extremely busy schedule so boring to watch.

    The China Championship was probably the worst tournament I’ve ever watched with only 2 matches worth watching (Higgins vs Trump & Higgins vs Selby). If Higgins had lost his semi-final, Selby wouldn’t have had to play a player in the top 45 never mind the top 16 to win what is meant to be one of the most prestigious events on the tour! Even the top professionals can’t seem to hide their boredom with some pretty weak snooker in the early rounds.

    It’s like if the FA scrapped the league system and instead held the FA Cup every 2 weeks. Yes, you’d get “giant-killers” every tournament but they never go on to succeed and most matches would be pretty boring until you got to the final rounds.

    I’ve heard people in this country say that they only watch the 3 majors now, and I fear that when the class of 92 finally retire they probably won’t even bother with those.

    • People do say that, but of course not many are hard-core fans who would watch more than 3 tournaments in a year anyway, even if they were free TV. As for the “class of 92” arguments, there is always a danger when people paint themselves into a corner. For example, this week I was sitting in the middle of a crowd of Jimmy White fans, cheering every mundane shot as the work of a genius. It was a bit sad really, although Jimmy did play rather well, against an inexperienced opponent. I do hope the same thing doesn’t happen with Ronnie in a few years.

      The current system is basically hamstrung by the ranking system, which they probably won’t change, because apparently we’re all too stupid to understand other models, and someone at the top likes to have the word ‘money’ involved somehow. But they’d better watch out, as there could be a possibility that Ronnie and a few others might break away from regular tournaments in favour of pre-arranged matches.

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