Northern Ireland Open 2018 – Day 4 – L32 and L16

Day 4 in the Home Nations series is always a bit hectic with two rounds to complete.

The last 32 round went essentially the way most would have expected, with one massive exception: Li Hang beat Neil Robertson by 4-0, Neil making a telling impact in just one frame, the second, where he scored 52 points. There is no Worldsnooker report on this round.

I didn’t see much of that round, other than the main table matches, so I can’t really commentate on the results. However, it’s worth noting the good performances of Eden Sharav, Peter Ebdon, and Robin Hull. OK, Robin was beaten in a deciding frame by Ryan Day, but this is a man who said that this season would be his last because of the health issues he’s suffering. A few weeks ago, he looked barely able to hold his cue. Peter Ebdon is another one who hinted that he could retire at the end of the season, because of pains in his back. Clearly, they both want to make this season count. They have pride in their sport and it’s great to see. As for Eden, I was very impressed when I first saw him play, as an amateur, at SWSA, six or seven years ago. As a pro, he hadn’t really been doing his talent justice until this season, but he seems to be doing that now.

The last 16 round saw both Eden Sharav and Peter Ebdon progress further. It’s Eden’s first quarter-final in a ranking event today. Eden beat Ali Carter to get there and that’s a serious scalp.

The Mark Selby v Hamza Akbar match was a complete mismatch. Selby, being World n°1 has the right to be on television, but it didn’t make for good viewing.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker on the L16 round:

World number one Mark Selby clinched his place in the quarter-finals of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, after defeating Martin O’Donnell 4-2 in Belfast.

The three-time World Champion has been in fine form this week, having breezed through all three matches prior to tonight, only dropping one frame in the process. However, O’Donnell provided a sterner test this evening.

The world number 60 claimed the opening frame on a respotted black. From there Selby took charge with breaks of 63, 66 and 81 to move 3-1 in front. That proved to be an unassailable advantage as Selby progressed to book a quarter-final meeting with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

“I feel good. In patches I still played alright there. Martin has had a good season so far,” said Selby. “Thepchaiya is one of the most talented players on tour and one of the quickest as well. He is very dangerous and should have done better in his career than he has so far.”

Un-Nooh produced a phenomenal display to dispatch Robbie Williams 4-0 in just 37 minutes. The Thai rapidly fired in breaks of 138, 104, 99 and 65 to romp to victory. Incredibly, he averaged just 14 seconds a shot during the game.

Ronnie O’Sullivan came through 4-1 against young Chinese star Zhou Yuelong to secure his quarter-final spot.

The Rocket has been adopting an approach of all-out attack this weekand it has paid off thus far, he’s dropped only two frames. Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan compiled breaks of 58, 83 and 132 on his way to this evening’s win. Up next he faces David Gilbert, who downed Lu Ning 4-0.

Judd Trump came through with a hard fought 4-2 victory against Belgium’s Luca Brecel. The scores were locked at 2-2 when the Ace in the Pack accumulated 316 points without reply to seal the win. He will meet Ryan Day tomorrow, after the Welshman beat Andrew Higginson 4-0.

Eden Sharav secured his first ever appearance in a ranking event quarter-final after coming from 3-1 down to beat Ali Carter 4-3. That leaves world number 18 Carter just the UK Championship to force his way into the top 16 in the Race to the Masters.

Sharav will now face Peter Ebdon for a spot in the last four, after the 2002 World Champion defeated Li Hang 4-1.

Luca Brecel has played better in this event than he has for a very long time. He still lost to Judd Trump who looks impressive. I have a feeling that the comments made about Kyren Wilson possibly becoming a World Champion before he does have really fired him up. I’m curious to see what happens from here, in particular, if he comes to meet Peter Ebdon in the SF.

You can read all about Ronnie’s two matches yesterday here.

3 thoughts on “Northern Ireland Open 2018 – Day 4 – L32 and L16

  1. Mark Selby just won his match, which means that Ronnie now knows that a victory over David Gilbert will mean that he has to face The Torturer in the semi-finals. I have to think that facing Selby is the LAST THING Ronnie would have wanted in a week where he’s just trying to have fun and not use up much mental energy…

    • Mark, i honestly believe that you are wrong about this. Ronnie doesn’t hate Selby, they actually go along quite well nowadays. In his posmatch yesterday with the pundit, he actually hinted that he would love to meet Selby, in order to assess exactly where his game stands. And Selby himself is playing quicker and more attacking as well, and he said to the pundits that this has been a conscient decision and that he feels that he”s playing better that way.

      • Hi Monique –

        My point was not that Ronnie hates Selby, but rather that playing Selby would either require Ronnie to (1) play the kind of “match snooker” that he said he was trying to avoid playing this week and that would drain some of the energy he would otherwise like to save for the UK, or (2) play the happy-go-lucky brand of snooker that he played in the early rounds against a guy in the semifinals that most people wouldn’t really appreciate him playing that brand of snooker against. Not to mention that “losing to Mark Selby again” might not be good for Ronnie’s confidence/psyche.

        That being said, I didn’t watch Ronnie’s postmatch interview until after I had written what I wrote above, and I was a bit surprised to hear Ronnie say that he actually fancies a game this week against Selby. I also didn’t realize that Mark was playing a quicker game now, though that wouldn’t preclude him from resorting back to his Torturer ways against Ronnie…

        As a Ronnie fan, assuming that he wins today, I would be a bit torn on whether I would want him to invest energy in beating Selby (and then Trump), or whether I would prefer him to lose to Selby and rest up for the UK…

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