Players Championship 2019 – Day 4

Once again, I missed the action yesterday, completely this time!

So here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session:

Neil Robertson scored a 6-4 win over Mark Williams at the Coral Players Championship – then revealed he is on red alert as his partner could go into labour with their new baby at any moment.

Robertson and his fiancé Mille are due to have their second child on March 20th. And the Aussie hopes the baby will not come early while he is battling for the title this week in Preston. He faces Judd Trump in the semi-finals at the Guild Hall on Friday evening, needing just two more wins to take the £125,000 top prize (limited number of tickets still available, for details click here).

“If the baby comes early then I will have to dash off home, maybe Judd is hoping that happens!” said the 37-year-old. “It is strange, it could happen at any point and I have to prepare myself for that. The fortunate thing is that I’m in the UK and only a few hours drive away. Hopefully the baby will come when it is due in a couple of weeks.”

Robertson, who has been in fine form this season having won the Riga Masters and Welsh Open, lost the first two frames today against World Champion Williams, but then stormed back to take five in a row with top breaks of  63, 62, 95 and 75.

Welshman Williams made a 56 to take the next then got the better of a scrappy ninth frame to close to 5-4. And he had chances in the tenth but couldn’t take advantage. Robertson came to the table 17 points behind with the black, pink and baulk colours all safe on cushions. But he fashioned an excellent break of 54 by potting eight reds with blues, and that proved enough for victory.

“At 2-0 down it wasn’t looking good,” said 15-time ranking event winner Robertson. “I battled my way back to 2-2 then after the interval I managed to find some kind of rhythm. I was delighted to get through in the end.

“My game is really good. Myself and Judd are two form players. He is going for the big  jackpot (£500,000 prize money available for winning all three Coral Series events) but this tournament is big enough as it is so he won’t be thinking about that. It’s a chance to get to a final. He got me in the semi-finals of the Masters in a close one so hopefully I can return the favour.”

Evening session:

Mark Allen recovered a 3-0 deficit to beat Stuart Bingham 6-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Coral Players Championship in Preston.

Allen topped this season’s money list with £364,000 coming into this week and he is now guaranteed at least another £30,000 having made it to the last four at the Guild Hall. He will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins on Saturday evening  (limited number of tickets still available, for details click here).

Last month at the Coral World Grand Prix, Allen rashly conceded his match against Ali Carter when he was 3-1 down with 11 reds still on the table in the fifth frame. He admitted he had lost his appetite for snooker, but he has since regained his enthusiasm and tonight he showed determination in abundance as he fought back after a slow start.

Bingham raced into a 3-0 lead with top breaks of 71 and 76, before Allen hit back to take four frames in a row with top runs of 72, 108 and 54. Frame eight also looked like going Allen’s way until he ran out of position on 51 with two reds left, and Bingham later cleared for 4-4. Northern Ireland’s Allen regained the lead by taking frame nine with breaks of 35 and 29, then clinched victory in the next with a 75.

“I made a good break in the fourth frame which settled me down,” said 33-year-old Allen. “Stuart was on top before that, then after the interval it turned. Once I got back to 3-2 it was game on. I felt as if I played better than I have done in the last couple of tournaments, though there is still much improve on. I’m happy to win because Stuart is a very tough competitor.

“I have been fighting myself over the last few months. With a lot of chat on the phone to Terry (Griffiths) in the last week or two, I am in a better place now. I am giving it my all. I feel I am slowly coming into form and if I can keep improving match by match then I will be excited about my chances next month in Sheffield.

“No matter whether it’s Ronnie or John next, I know I am going to have to perform. They are two of the best three of all time in my opinion, along with Stephen Hendry. It will be a classic between those two tomorrow.”

It isn’t the first time in his career that Mark Allen has to battle depression and lack of motivation. Clearly Terry Griffiths is doing a great job in supporting him with the mental side of the sport.

For Stuart Bingham this defeat means that he will need to perform in Gibraltar and that his spot in the Tour Championship also depends on Kyren Wilson and David Gilbert results there. Kyren is only 500 points behind him. He would only need to go one round further than Stuart in Gibraltar  overcome him. David is 6000 points behind Stuart, which means that whatever happens David will need at least a semi final to catch up with him or Kyren, but in a rather depleted field it’s certainly not impossible.

And the there is John Higgins. He needs the title to get past any of the three above, but if he does he will get ahead of all three, meaning only one of them can still qualify for Llandudno. John faces Ronnie this afternoon, he seems to get back to form and Ronnie always finds it difficult against John. Should John win he would face Mark Allen next, and then possibly Judd Trump or Neal Robertson.


2 thoughts on “Players Championship 2019 – Day 4

  1. only one good points about today’s match is the h2h since 2018 summer: 5-2 to Ronnie and Higgins’ victories came right after ROS titles (=Ronnie was tired maybe).

    But as I write you Mon, I think Higgins is the favourite.

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