Those are the results of round 1:
Three players currently in the relegation zone have still a chance to stay on tour: Jimmy White, Xu Si and Zhang Yong. However they need to qualify for the main event to do so, and, should more than one of them manage that, they would need Nigel Bond and/or James Cahill to lose next round.
Among the professionals who are relegated, we do have a number of players who have been around for years: Joe Swail, Rory McLeod, Peter Lines, Paul Davison, Robin Hull…
Peter Lines will feel a bit aggrieved. Indeed his opponent, Zhang Jankiang, withdrew, and was replaced by another “veteran”, Michael Judge, a former pro who has been a regular on the Seniors Tour all season. A win or a bye would have placed him in the top 8 of the one year list.
Joe Swail was gutted to lose his professional status, but has been suffering with tinnitus for years (Joe is partially deaf). It has affected him both in his every day life and at the table. Despite the sore disappointment of dropping off the tour, Joe has vowed to take care of his health first and then consider playing in the Seniors Tour.
Robin Hull also suffers health issues and had previously announced that he could retire at the end of this season. He suggested that his decision would be made after the World Championship. Now, it is rumoured that he’s entered the Q-school. If that’s true then obviosly he does want to give it another go.
Dominic Dale is safe through the one year list, but should he win his round two match as well he would climb into the top 64. He would then send Mike Dunn in the relegation zone and free one spot in the one year list, currently benefitting Alexander Ursenbacher.
Liang Wenbo broke a record in his demolition of poor Basem Eltahan: he set a new points without reply record for the World Championship – 493 (Previous record 485, Higgins v Hamilton in 2000).
And Noppon Saengkham made a 146 against Adam Stefanow:
Largely unknown amateur Pang Junxu, 19 years old, beat Stuart Carrington, and quite comfortably too. Not many saw that coming! If I’m not mistaken he’s CBSA nominee in this.
Ng On Yee ran Alan McManus extremely close. She had been trashed in those qualifiers previously, but this time she stayed with a the very experienced “Angles” up to the last MSI. Alan then pulled away. In fact it was 6-6 at the last MSI and On Yee had never been behind.
To the surprise of many – but not me – Fergal O’Brien comprehensively beat Jackson Page. Page went 3-0 up … before “diesel engine” Fergal kicked in. After that it was largely one way traffic. Even if Jackson had gone 5-0 up, I would still have fancied Fergal to win. To me Jackson Page is over-rated. I’m not doubting his talent, but his game is still very incomplete. That’s not unusual for someone that young, and he has a lot of time to learn. I’m not convinced however that the hype around him is doing any good.