English Open 2018 – Quarter Finals Day

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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 grassroot snooker.

Here are Worldsnooker reports on yesterday’s action

Afternoon session

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.

Evening sesssion

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.

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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.

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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.

Stephen Maguire reached his second ranking semi-final of the season by beating Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 5-3. Glasgow’s Maguire will now face Stuart Bingham on Saturday at 1pm.

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 that to rely on his instincts and it’s somehow disrupting his fluency. Of course it’s only with practice, practice and more practice that automatism 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 grassroot snooker in the Western.

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And again, big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these 

 

 

7 thoughts on “English Open 2018 – Quarter Finals Day

  1. There is NO suggestion that Ronnie lost on purpose. I think he just felt really bad and as if he didn’t deserve to be there in the SF. There was nothing like a conscient decision to lose, I’m certain.

  2. I just watched Ronnie’s match against Luo this morning, and I went into it knowing about the foul. The funny thing is that, even though I knew that the foul had occurred, I didn’t see it when watching the match until Dave Hendon pointed it out. I was watching the pot and then the white ball, like (presumably) everyone else was doing.

    It’s too bad that it happened and wasn’t spotted by Ronnie or the referee at the time, and I agree with Lewis that Ronnie might feel badly enough about it that he will lose to Mark Davis as a result.

    On the bright side, the result of the foul itself arguably had no impact on the frame, and if anything, the position of the balls after the foul was worse for Ronnie rather than better because the red he hit with his cue moved closer to the pink, which tied up both of the balls…

    • The foul however would have brought Luo back at the table, at the position Ronnie found himself after the foul. Ronnie won the frame from that position. The way Luo was playing it certainly wouldn’t have been past him to make it 4-2, which psychologically is very different from 3-3 in a best of 9. He could very well have won from there. That’s what Ronnie was thinking for sure and why he was so mortified.

      • Yes, there’s no question that “The match if the foul had been called” would likely have been different from “The match without the foul having been called.”

        I’m referring to a less important issue that “The match with the foul having occurred” wasn’t meaningfully different from “The match without the foul having occurred”. Ronnie did not gain any advantage from the foul itself, though he was clearly better off (in terms of winning the match) without the foul being called.

        All of that being said, there’s no doubt in my mind that Ronnie would have played much better against Mark Davis if either (1) the foul hadn’t occurred, or (2) the foul was called but Ronnie still defeated Luo anyway. It seems pretty clear to me that Ronnie is the type of person that would prefer losing over winning a tournament in a way that would be questioned and criticized for the rest of his career…

        Now then, whether Ronnie lost on purpose to Mark Davis is a separate question from whether the controversy had a negative impact on his performance…

  3. Yes Luo was terrific in the middle part of the match, but obviously started and finished nervously. He’ll get stronger, as he clearly learns very quickly.

    Before the match, they played the interview with Luo Honghao, and the audience were so charmed, they gave him a lot of support (at least until the second half when there were some drunks calling out). This belies many of the comments on social media that the Chinese ‘takeover’ will be a turn-off for British snooker fans, although it might be different when they become winners, rather than gallant losers.

    In terms of the unnoticed foul, nobody in the arena appeared to notice it at the time. Of course there has been a twitter storm (as always). However, it might actually affect Ronnie in the remaining matches, if he feels a certain amount of guilt having benifited from it. Bingham looks very strong and would be a serious threat. If it’s Maguire, then I can only see one winner.

    • Yes, Lewis, agree on everything. And Rolf Kalb actually made a good point. Both Ronnie and Tatiana had their focus on removing the implements in a hurry. But Andy Yates, the marker, could have seen it too – he didn’t – and he had the power to call it if he had. I’m not blaming anyone. Those things happen and in snooker they are pretty rare.

    • Well, I’m afraid you were only too right Lewis. Ronnie looked completely out of sorts and I wouldn’t be surprised if what happened yesterday affected him deeply.

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