Those are the results from the quarter-finals played yesterday in Crawley. Stephen Maguire at 37 is the “baby” in this line-up, proving once again that the Hearn system isn’t favouring the young players’ development. Of course, there are young players coming through, Noppon Saengkham and Luo Honghao proved that yesterday, but they come from Asian countries where there is active support to grassroots snooker.
Here are Worldsnooker reports on yesterday’s action
Local favourite Mark Davis reached the semi-finals of the BetVictor English Open in Crawley with a 5-1 thrashing of Ryan Day, while Stuart Bingham scored a 5-2 victory over Ali Carter.
Hastings ace Davis is through to the sixth ranking event semi-final of his career and is aiming to reach his first final. The 46-year-old admitted before the tournament that his career will feel incomplete if he never win a ranking title, and he is now just two matches away from achieving that lifetime ambition. World number 45 Davis will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Luo Honghao in the semi-finals on Saturday.
He went 2-0 up on Day with breaks of 66 and 95. Welshman Day pulled one back with a run of 85 before Davis took the fourth for 3-1. World number 13 Day was playing with a damaged cue tip and decided to change it for a new tip during the interval. But there was no stopping Davis as he won the last two frames with runs of 92 and 48.
“I felt really good and enjoyed the match,” said Davis. “It was a good atmosphere. I have tried to speed up my game this season rather than getting bogged down, and I played fluently today. It gives less time for negative thoughts to come in. Ryan didn’t play well today, I don’t know whether his tip was on his mind. He has been so good over the last year so I didn’t expect him to play like that.
“If I do play Ronnie next it will be a great occasion, probably the biggest match of my career. I have beaten him in the past a couple of times, but he can be unplayable. He beat me 5-1 once and I only played three bad shots.”
Bingham reached his first ranking semi-final since the 2017 European Masters and is targeting his fifth career ranking title. His next opponent will be Stephen Maguire or Noppon Saengkham.
World number 15 Bingham was off to a superb start as a 138 total clearance gave him the opening frame. The second came down to the colours, and both players missed chances at the pink before Carter potted it for 1-1. Bingham regained the lead with a 70 clearance, then world number 21 Carter replied with a run of 80 for 2-2.
Former World Champion Bingham took the fifth on the colours to lead for the third time. Carter looked set to square the match again but missed a tough red to a baulk corner on 69 in the sixth, and his opponent punished him with a clinical 70 clearance. That proved the crucial moment as Bingham wrapped up the result with a 52 in the next.
“That was probably the worst I have played all week, though I still played pretty well,” said 42-year-old Bingham. “The fifth and sixth frames were massive. Ali would have been hurting to lose those.
“Ali is a class player, you don’t get to two world finals otherwise. We have had our differences over the years but we have out that behind us, he is a good lad. If he had won today I would have wished him well.
“Hopefully I can go a step or two further. It would mean everything to me to win another title.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 3-2 down to beat rising star Luo Honghao 5-3 and reach the semi-finals of the BetVictor English Open.
China’s 18-year-old tour rookie Luo was in with a chance of causing a massive shock when he led 3-2, but he missed chances in the closing frames as defending champion O’Sullivan took control. The Rocket goes through to face Mark Davis in Crawley on Saturday at 7pm for a place in the final. It will be his 70th ranking event semi-final and he has converted 33 of the previous 69 into titles.
World number three O’Sullivan started strongly with breaks of 118 and 90 to go 2-0 ahead. Luo showed his class as he fought back with 90, 67 and 136 to take the lead. He was 21 points ahead in frame six but O’Sullivan made a 73 clearance which proved the turning point. Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan trailed 56-0 in frame seven but cleared with 83, and he sealed victory in the next with 31 and 41.
“I was second best out there all night, he is a great talent, a special player,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan. “This is his first year on tour, imagine what he will be like in a few years. He is dangerous and I think the best young player from China out there. I got away with that one.”
O’Sullivan was asked about an incident in the sixth frame when he brushed a red with his cue tip as he pulled it away after potting a red with the rest.
“I am devastated,” said the Essex cueman, having been shown a replay of the incident after the match. “I was only aware when they showed me in the TV studio. It’s not in me to not call a foul if I know I have done it. I feel gutted.
“It was one of those things, sometimes when you are holding the rest you are watching the white. If there are people saying stuff on social media, what can I do? Most have watched my career and 99% would know that I have owned up to fouls even when there hasn’t been a foul. And I don’t blame the referee either, she is like me, watching the white.”
Luo said: “I didn’t see it – and anyway now the match is gone and it is over.”
The first six frames were shared, Maguire making breaks of 94 and 102 while Saengkham knocked in 68, 71 and 100. World number 16 Maguire then took the last two with 58 and 75.
“It’s a great result, I rate Noppon highly, he has beaten me a few times,” said Maguire. “I haven’t played a top 16 player yet this week but tonight was a test because it was a high quality match. For the last two months I have had back trouble so I have been struggling to play and my results have shown that. But this week the sciatica has gone away so I can play with my own stance.”
Here are all the action and interviews with Ronnie.
One interesting point raised by Ronnie is that working with Sightright, at this point, means that he has to “think” about his sighting, rather than to rely on his instincts and it’s somehow disrupting his fluency. Of course, it’s only with practice, practice, and more practice that automatisms are created. So for the time being he, and we as fans, have to accept, that there will be trials and errors. Patience is key and only time will tell if Sightright works for him. However, yesterday, from 3-2 down, Ronnie decided to just trust his instincts and see what happens, and this works.
As for Luo, he’s an outstanding player, and for all, I can see and read, really a very nice, good-natured, lad too. Ronnie couldn’t stop praising him, and rightly so. Just like Chang Bingyu, who will turn pro next season, Luo is a pupil of Roger Leighton in his academy, i20 Snooker Academy in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, in Hong Kong. Roger is from originally Australia. He’s a former pro, a coach and at a point moved to Britain, in Horwich, where he practiced with Tony Knowles. The fact that he eventually opened his successful academy in Hong Kong, after trying Brazil, Denmark and Serbia is telling about the state of grassroots snooker in the Western.
And the controversial moment:
And again, big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these