Scottish Open 2018 – Day 1

The Scottish Open 2018 started yesterday in at the Emirates Arena, in Glasgow, and, to be honest, what happened off the table was just as interesting as what happened on it.

Here is the Eurosport Preview, with Neil Robertson who is looking to defend his title:

With a review of the previous Home Nations event, the Northern Ireland Open and the UK Championship, that just finished on Sunday night.

And also, Neil’s Robertson interview ahead of his title defence

Of course Ronnie pulled out and this was Neil Robertson opinion on that:

He is right, playing at the level Ronnie did in York, for nearly two weeks, is extremely demanding mentally and emotionally and, coming to a setup like this one, in front of a comparatively poor crowd, is difficult. Fans are of course disappointed that he isn’t there, but then they would probably also be disappointed if he was there and didn’t perform. All the more credit though to Mark Allen who is playing in Glasgow. I hope that he has a good tournament and doesn’t run out of energy.

It wasn’t a great day for the Scots. Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill lost in the first round, losing to Billy Joe Castle and Zhang Yong respectively. Maguire’s “performance” was terrible. Ross Muir, John Higgins and Graeme Dott progressed, but John Higgins played very badly, except in the decider. It transpired that he was suffering from broken ribs, after a “football accident”.

“It’s a floating broken rib, it’s happened before,” he told Eurosport.

“It’s a football injury. It was the League Cup final up here last weekend (Celtic beat Aberdeen on 2 December) and I’d had a few drinks…”

Asked if he would pulled out if it had been any other tournament, the Scot replied: “Yes, without a doubt.

“My family and friends were coming to see me. It’s the only chance they get. They’ve not seen me in a final lately.”

….

John’s notion of a football accident had me smiling. Isn’t that rather a “drinking accident”? Anyway, I can’t see him going much further playing that way!

But it’s not just a rib John Higgins broke, he also broke a record yesterday, as this was his 1000th professional match win (source cuetracker.net )

John was also asked about Ronnie’s “breakaway” ideas. Here is his answer, during his post-match interview:

So, we now have John Higgins, Mark Allen, Mark Williams, Joe Perry and Stephen Maguire wanting changes, and John definitely interested in an alternative platform.

Eden Sharav also progressed, as his opponent, Hossein Vafaei, didn’t show up. Eden is a local boy, but now plays for Israel, his father’s country. That’s twice that they are set to play each others, and twice that Hossein withdraws. There were suggestions that this was related to religious beliefs – and it might be – but I rather think it’s related to the consequences he could face, being an Iranian athlete, if he accepts to play an Israeli. To get you an idea of what I mean, I suggest that you follow those links and read what happened in other sports.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian-wrestler-who-threw-match-to-avoid-israeli-banned-for-6-months/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/2-players-banned-for-playing-against-israeli-team-selected-for-iran-world-cup/

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/pg5937/israel-politics-and-the-curious-case-of-tennis-pro-malek-jaziri

It’s hard to know what could be the consequences for Hossein, or his family,  if he was to play Eden, so I would refrain from judging. What I do know though is that this places the WPBSA in a very difficult position. They obviously can’t condone such attitude, but on the other hand, it might not be the player’s choice at all, and by forfeiting their match, they lose money and ranking points.

Other than that, there weren’t many “shocks”. You can follow the tournament on snooker.org

 

 

6 thoughts on “Scottish Open 2018 – Day 1

  1. No, I’m convinced he didn’t lose that match on purpose. He probably thought he’d won in frame 16, but the black wobbled and missed. But that won’t stop a significant number of people regarding EVERY match he ever played as suspicious. You know what the online community is like! If you ask anyone in 5 years’ time about that match, they will probably not regard it as an amazing comeback by Robertson, or an almighty choke by Cao. Instead they will refer to Cao’s match-fixing credentials.

    So I don’t think we can airbrush the 2017 Scottish Open from history. If anything, Cao’s demise makes it even more poignant and dramatic. There are many lessons that players can learn from the methods Cao used to turn his career around, his ultimate collapse, and the way Robertson exploited it.

    Obviously, we won’t see Yu Delu again (unless, like me in the past, you end up in a Beijing snooker-hall at 3am!). Whether Cao can make it back is questionable. Even if he serves his ban and requalifies, he’s going to be treated like an outcast by almost everyone in snooker. It won’t be pleasant.

  2. On the note of John Higgins winning his 1,000 match, Ronnie has moved (at least temporarily) into 2nd place on the list with 935 wins, 1 ahead of Mark Williams.

    More importantly, Ronnie’s career match winning percentage is now over 75% (75.1%), which is pretty remarkable when you consider that #2 on that list is 69.16% (J. Higgins).

      • Actually I think Csilla’s point is that there will always be doubts about the match (whether justified or not). If Cao Yupeng had won the match, then it would actually be LESS disturbing, because there wasn’t the possibility of him trying to lose. Then of course if Cao had won, there are fewer reasons to be broadcasting footage from the match, because he’s not around for there to be features about him.

      • Now Lewis, you know the Chinese players better than any of us. Do you think that Cao did possibly lose on purpose? If he did, he should really go for a career in acting!

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