International Championship 2019 Qualifiers – Day 3

The trend continued with basically the players you would respect to win, actually winning and booking their place in Daqing.

Ricky Walden definitely seems to be returning to form and made very light work of Chen Zifan. Chen should be sharp from the Q-school but it didn’t show at all. Ricky was solid, reliable in the balls ans always in control. Ricky might have an un usual stance – due to his heigth and back problems – but, when at his best he’s really good to watch.

David Grace beat Anthony Hamilton by 6-1 – that’s what the official score says – but I doubt that the very kind person he is enjoyed the  manner of the win. Actually Anthony forfeited the match mid of frame 5, because of health issues. David later came on social media, wishing well, and I’m sure he meant it 100%

Luo Honghao lost by 6-3 to Mark Joyce, despite being the one with the big breaks. Yesterday we had a similar story with Lyu Haotian against Duane Jones. For me it’s obvious that for many young Chinese players, the tactical side of the game is where they are found wanting. Ronnie said the same a couple of times about Zhao Xintong. Mark Joyce is notoriously difficult to play (ask Mark Allen 😎), and Luo had no answer to his style.

Chang Bingyu on the other hand impressed with a 6-2 win over Michael Georgiou, scoring breaks of 51, 85, 55, 76, 50, 51 and finishing with a 111. Worldsnooker awarded him the “performance of the day” tag. That said, it could have been shared with David Gilbert, who demolished James Cahill by 6-0, with breaks of 66, 94, 72, 63, 96! Shame on you David, there was a frame without a 50+ break there in the middle 😜 ! Much has been made of James Cahill win over Ronnie in Sheffield; he played well to qualify for the last 32, no question, and he played well against Ronnie as well. He was however playing with freedom in that nobody expected him to win, and against an opponent who – for all his records – was clearly unwell and unable to perform at his normal level. Now that he has done that, eyes are on James, and expectations as well. It will be interesting to see how he copes.

Mark Williams was taken to a decider by John Astley. Mark gradually improved as the match unfolded but overall was a bit rusty. John Astley is one of those players who stays under the radar but is very solid and you can’t afford too many mistakes against him.

Ben Woollaston and Thor Chuan Leong had a right hard slog that finished well past midnight (around 0h40 local time). Ben eventually won by 6-4.

Today might beat that though as Fergal O’Brien will be in action against Nigel Bond in the last session of the day (and the event).

You can follow all the results on snooker.org