Eve of the China Championship 2019 in Pictures

The China Championship 2019 starts tomorrow, the first ranking event proper since the International Championship some six weeks ago. That’s a long gap and TBH the calendar structure this season is a bit weird. For a lot of low ranked players there is nothing to play in until early October. Anyway…

As usual the players were made to feel welcome, the red carpet was laid and the fans turned up! Here are the pictures shared on weibo.

And more may come up as the late evening unfolds in Guangzhou …

This site … call for help / advice

Ok guys and gals, this is an unusual post and not a happy one.

Over the summer, a friend and myself worked on adding content to this site, and finding/fixing missing content. The friend in particular worked extremely hard in finding lots of footages – mainly punditry stuff – from Asian sources, and publish them. By the end of August, thanks to their help, we had removed/replaced all missing content and added a lot of new one.

Early September, after the Huizhou exhibition, they went to holiday in Thailand … and vanished. I had a message on twitter telling me that they were in Thailand, and ok, but nothing since. They were supposed to come back on September 9, but I have no news and messages stayed unanswered. I have no clue as to what happened and I’m worried. I honnestly hope they are OK.

Simultaneously with their disappearance, the account(s) they used to publish the videos were removed, or made private. I can’t possibly tell. This caused hundreds of broken links here. It’s nothing as compared to the worries over my friends wellbeing, but it’s something I have to try to fix and I’m working on it. I will surely need another week at least. I know there are lots of content I won’t find back easily, but at least I’m trying to identify what’s missing.

Now if anyone can give me advice about a good tool to find broken links, please come forward with suggestions. In particular, the tools I found fail to identify broken embedded youtube video links. This is one of the reason why we favoured vimeo over youtube whenever possible. Broken vimeo links are easy to track.

Thank you in advance for your patience and help.

 

 

 

Reanne Evans would love to play Ronnie in the Champion of Champions

Following Ronnie’s win in Shanghai, Reanne Evans is now certain to be invited to the Champion of Champions 2019 (source WPBSA).

Champion of Champions 2019 – Shanghai Update

18th September 2019

Reigning world women’s snooker champion Reanne Evans is now assured of her place at this season’s ManBetX Champion of Champions following victory for Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Shanghai Masters last Sunday.

With defending champion O’Sullivan already safely qualified for the event, there are now just three remaining counting events between now and November, meaning that 13th placed Evans cannot now fall outside of the 16 qualifiers.

“It’s brilliant news and pretty local to me as well!” said 12-time world champion Evans. “To be involved in an event like that of such high quality is great. I’m going to enjoy it and just stick in there.”

“I’d like to play Ronnie [O’Sullivan] I think. I know I shouldn’t be saying that, but because I have played against him a couple of times in exhibitions and played with him, I would feel more comfortable with him. Being in that environment that I am not used to at all, hopefully it might settle me. But you are just happy to be playing anyone. I’m just really looking forward to it.“

The next player currently in line to qualify is recently crowned seniors champion Jimmy White, with just one more ‘repeat’ winner needed from the remaining three counting events. In the event of there being two or more repeat winners, the field will be completed by players based upon their world ranking, with Mark Williams and Mark Selby currently in contention.

Qualification for the event will be determined by the winners of professional tournaments dating back to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s victory in 2018, events having been ordered in a specific line of priority as set out below.

Current qualification list:

1. 2018 Champion of Champions – Ronnie O’Sullivan (1)
2. 2018 UK Championship – Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. 2019 Masters – Judd Trump (2)
4. 2019 World Championship – Judd Trump

5. 2019 German Masters – Kyren Wilson (3)
6. 2019 World Grand Prix – Judd Trump
7. 2019 Indian Open – Matt Selt (4)
8. 2019 Players Championship – Ronnie O’Sullivan
9. 2019 Championship League – Martin Gould (5)
10. 2019 Tour Championship – Ronnie O’Sullivan
11. 2019 China Open – Neil Robertson (6)
12. 2019 International Championship – Judd Trump
13. 2019 Shanghai Masters – Ronnie O’Sullivan
14. 2019 China Championship – TBC
15. 2019 World Open – TBC

16. 2018 Northern Ireland Open – Judd Trump
17. 2018 Scottish Open – Mark Allen (7)
18. 2019 Welsh Open – Neil Robertson
19. 2019 English Open – TBC

20. 2019 Gibraltar Open – Stuart Bingham (8)
21. 2019 World Championship runner-up – John Higgins (9)
22. 2019 Riga Masters – Yan Bingtao (10)

23. 2019 World Cup – John Higgins
24. 2019 World Cup – Stephen Maguire (11)

25. 2019 Shoot Out – Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (12)
26. 2019 Six Red World Championship – Stephen Maguire
27. 2019 World Women’s Snooker Championship – Reanne Evans (13)
—————————————————————————————-
28. 2019 World Seniors Snooker Championship – Jimmy White

The next counting event to qualify for this year’s ManBetX Champion of Champions will be the Evergrande China Championship, which runs from 23-29 September 2019 in Guangzhou, China.

I’m sure a few other competitors would be happy to let her have it her way…

The South West Snooker Academy is closing…

Paul Mount shared this on the SWSA Facebook page

Message from SWSA owner Paul Mount :

After almost 10 years creating amazing events and memories I have decided to permanently close the South West Snooker Academy (SWSA) and the Capital Venue on 30th November 2019 so that I can use the space for a variety of other things including a private snooker room containing 4 tables.
As I agreed with Barry Hearn many years ago the SWSA to me is like Leighton Orient football club to him; a labour of love which will costs us money and give us lots of fun. When the fun stops it’s time to stop.
There will be one final competition on the weekend of 1st November after which I will be selling most of the assets including the bar, most hardware within the bar, bar stock, 6 star snooker tables, a large number of new snooker cues, sets of G1 snooker balls and catering equipment. A full list of items for sale will be published shortly, including details on how to bid, and each item will be sold to the highest bidder.
I would like to thank all those that supported the SWSA, especially the Pink Ribbon, and trust you have enjoyed your visits to us and have some of your own magical memories from this place.
I would especially like to thank all the staff of SWSA and Capital venue, both the permanent staff and those that have worked casually or volunteered for some of our charitable events. A big “shout out” has to go to Andrew Norman who has been the nucleus of all things snooker for some years and has developed into a first class coach.
The private snooker room will be available to SWSA snooker teams, for their matches and practice, and for invited tour professionals, to practice. Opening times will be limited and I will provide more detailed information to SWSA team captains in a meeting to be organised in the coming weeks.

This is sad news … I don’t really have words to express how it feels right now.

Thank you for the memories, there are so many great ones. Thank you for ten fantastic Pink Ribbons, for the friendship, the laugher, the buzz.

The place, and above all, the SWSA people  … I will be missing you. Badly.

Good luck in your future endeavours.

 

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Ronnie is your champion!

Shanghai2019ROSFinal-Result

Ronnie beat Shaun Murphy by 11-9 to win the Shanghai Masters 2019.

He has now won this title three years in a row, and four times in total.

ShanghaiMasters2019Ceremony-5

Congratulations Ronnie!

Those are the frames scores

ShanghaiMasters2019FinalScores

Ronnie came back from 3-0 down to finish the first session at 5-5. Just as it had been the case all week, his long potting was the weak part in his game, whilst Shaun was potting nearly everything at distance. Ronnie could have been ahead at the intersession but missed the frame ball in frame 9, allowing Shaun to clear and steal it. He did it again in frame 10, but this time, Shaun couldn’t get ideal position on the last yellow, missed it, and Ronnie needed no second invite.

This is Worldsnooker report on the first session:

Shanghai2019ROSFinal-8.jpgRonnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy have shared the first ten frames of the Shanghai Masters final to emerge from the opening session locked together at 5-5.

They will return this evening to play the best of 21 encounter to its conclusion. There is a top prize of £200,000 up for grabs, with the runner-up taking home £100,000.

O’Sullivan is competing in the final of this event for the third consecutive year, having won the title in 2017 and 2018. Murphy is aiming for a maiden Shanghai Masters title in his first appearance in the final.

2005 World Champion Murphy got off to just the start he needed when he took the first three frames. He then looked to be in position to add a further frame to his lead, before breaking down on a run of 43. That gave O’Sullivan the chance to establish a foothold in the match. He did just that by making a break of 61 to get his first frame on the board at 3-1.

The Rocket won an additional three frames on the bounce to turn the match on its head and lead 4-3.

From that point both players started to miss more balls as the tension grew. Murphy levelled with a break of 61, before dramatically retaking the lead at 5-4 on the final black.

The Magician then had the first opportunity in the session’s concluding frame. However, he missed and allowed O’Sullivan to take it and head into this evening level at 5-5.

Shanghai Masters 2019 – The Final – session 1

And some great images taken by Tai Chegzhe during the first session. Thanks Tai!

There was nothing between the players at the start of the second session and they found themselves locked at 7-7 at the MSI. At the resumption, Ronnie started to take the upper hand,  he won three frames in a row to go 10-7 up, only to see Shaun peggingg him back to 10-9, with two big breaks. Really it was punch and counter-punch all along. Crucially though, Ronnie managed to take advantage of his opponent last error with a break of 86 and secured the title … on the same score as last year.

It wasnt perfect snooker from either, they both made mistakes, but they both played positively and attacked. Both played a lot of fantastic shots and constructed great break. As Dave Hendon put it, both were playing to win as opposed to playing not to lose. It was eventful and entertaining.

The report by Worldsnooker on the second session:

Shanghai2019ROSFinal-9.jpg

Ronnie O’Sullivan was victorious in a thrilling final with Shaun Murphy 11-9 to win the Shanghai Masters for a third year in a row.

O’Sullivan, who in total has four Shanghai Masters titles to his name, has now won 15 consecutive matches in the city.

His victory last season came after defeating Barry Hawkins by an 11-9 scoreline in the final. While his win two years ago was sealed with a 10-3 defeat of Judd Trump.

This was 43-year-old O’Sullivan’s first appearance on the circuit this season and it has proved to be a lucrative one, with the Rocket picking up a winner’s cheque for £200,000.

Murphy leaves with the consolation of the £100,000 runner-up prize, but this season represents a dramatic return to form for the world number 14.

His place in this week’s event had come under threat after a difficult 2018/19 campaign, which saw him lose nine first round matches.  However, Murphy solidified his ranking with a trip to the final of the recent International Championship, where he lost out to Judd Trump.

This afternoon’s play had seen the pair share the opening ten frames and emerge locked together at 5-5.

Murphy got off to the perfect start this evening. He took the opening frame courtesy of a break of 66 and moved 6-5 up.

The Magician had looked set to move two frames ahead when he was on a break of 61 in the next. However, a miscued blue allowed O’Sullivan back in. He punished Murphy with a run of 66 which saw him steal the frame on the black.

The pair then traded centuries as they went into the mid-session all square. Murphy composed a break of 111, with O’Sullivan responding by firing in a sublime contribution of 130 to make it 7-7.

When they returned O’Sullivan made a charge for victory. He claimed three consecutive frames, including a break of 124, to move one from victory at 10-7.

Murphy wasn’t finished and battled to stay in contention. Breaks of 82 and 90 saw him close within a single frame at 10-9. He then had an opportunity to force a decider but broke down on 29. O’Sullivan stepped up with a break of 86 to seal the title.

Shanghai2019ROSFinal-10O’Sullivan said: “I always just try to hang in there. It is a bit like Seve Ballesteros or Tiger Woods with how they play golf. They are never out of it because every now and then they can produce a little bit of magic. That is the hallmark of my game really.

“I was very very pleased to win. Shaun has been cueing well. He looks like he has turned a corner and I think he will do some damage this season because he is in good touch. For me to be able to beat someone of Shaun’s calibre was great. Overall it was a very good match and I am pleased to be able to get my hands on another trophy.

“I just play in events when I feel like it, so I don’t class myself with the guys that are out there. They have a lot to prove and a lot to achieve. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I think it is just nice for snooker fans to see me play and they want me to keep going for as long as I can. They don’t expect me to prove myself anymore so I have a different model which is more about enjoying it. For the other guys like Shaun, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson they still have to try and chase the records that I have got if they want to go down as one of the greats. It is alright doing it in a season or two or three years. You have to do it over a decade or two decades. I’ve done that.”

Murphy said: “I thought I performed quite well. I was pleased with my performance. There were just a couple of mistakes here and there, but it was high quality. In sport there is always a winner and a loser. Unfortunately today I was on the wrong side.

“It was a very high standard. I think against most other players I would have won today and took home the trophy, but Ronnie is Ronnie.”

Shanghai Masters 2019 – The Final – session 2

Big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those images of the Trophy ceremony

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Trophy Ceremony

Ronnie’s reaction after the match

And to finish with the fun part …. some images of thr Trophy Ceremony (source weibo)

Yes, Laila was there and very proud of her man too …

This victory from Ronnie means that Reanne Evans is now certain to play in the Champion of Champions 2019.

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Day 6 – SF 2 – Ronnie joins Shaun Murphy in the Final

Ronnie beat Neil Robertson by 10-6 today in Shanghai, to reach the final for the third year in a row. He will play Shaun Murphy tomorrow in a best of 21 match.

ShanghaiMasters2019ROSSFScores

As you can see above, it was a match of very high quality. Neil Robertson was the better player during the first session. Ronnie was still struggling with his long potting, therefore he had mainly to rely on Neil’s mistakes to get in. Neil’s long potting was deadly and he was playing well overall. Ronnie was excellent in the balls, his safety was extremely solid and he punished Neil’s rare mistakes. Neil had three centuries during the session, despite damaging his tip. Towards the end of the session Ronnie’s concentration seemed to drop a bit. the intersession came at the right time for him.

Here is Worldsnooker report on the first session:

Shanghai2019ROSF-6Neil Robertson established a 5-4 advantage over Ronnie O’Sullivan after the first session of their Shanghai Masters semi-final despite losing a chunk of his tip.

With O’Sullivan leading 3-2, Robertson miscued when attempting a yellow in the sixth frame and damaged his tip to the extent of losing a chunk from it. That caused a temporary suspension to play as Robertson assessed the damage. He decided to play on with the same tip and claimed three of the remaining four frames in the session.

The match will be played to a conclusion this evening, with the winner progressing to Sunday’s final where they will face Shaun Murphy. The top prize on offer this week is £200,000.

O’Sullivan took the opening frame on the final ball after a sublime clearance of 47, which ended with a cross doubled pink and a difficult cut back black.

Triple crown winner Robertson responded immediately with a break of 107 to get his first frame on the board. The Rocket then regained the lead, before Robertson composed his second century of the match with a break of 101 to make it 2-2 at the mid-session.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan claimed the first frame after the interval, before Robertson once again drew level despite encountering tip trouble in frame six. A contribution of 52 helped O’Sullivan to move 4-3 up. However, Robertson drew level and moved to the front for the first time with a superb contribution of 129 to end the session 5-4 ahead.

During the second session Ronnie was the best player; he managed to win the sessionby 6-1. The first two frames were close. After that, Ronnie dominated the match. Neil briefly rallied in frame 15, but that’s all he could do. Ronnie finished the match with a great 134.

This is Worldsnooker report on the second session

Shanghai2019ROSF-5Ronnie O’Sullivan extended his three-year unbeaten run in the Shanghai Masters after securing a 10-6 win in his semi-final with Neil Robertson.

The Rocket picked up the titles in 2017 and 2018. Last year he came out on top in a thrilling final with Barry Hawkins 11-9 to win the first running of the event since a format switch made it the most lucrative invitational tournament in the sport. He has now won 14 consecutive matches in the event.

This year it will be Shaun Murphy standing in his way as he bids to pick up the £200,000 top prize. They will do battle over the best of 21 frames and two sessions tomorrow for the title, with Murphy contesting his first ever Shanghai Masters final.

Defeat will come as a tough pill to swallow for Australia’s Robertson, who was dealt a bitter blow in the opening session when he damaged his tip miscuing a yellow. Despite that setback he did emerge from the afternoon’s play with a 5-4 advantage.

When they came out this evening five-time World Champion O’Sullivan took a tight opening frame after a further miscue from Robertson when on a break of 42 allowed the Englishman to restore parity.

Crucially Robertson then missed a difficult final black along the top cushion when attempting to clear up and steal the next frame. That ended his run on 51 and allowed O’Sullivan the simplest of pots to move 6-5 up.

A break of 87 then made it 7-5, before O’Sullivan claimed the final frame before the mid-session to go 8-5 ahead. A century run of 102 put him within a frame of victory when they returned.

Robertson stoically fought on and got his first frame of the evening to make it 9-6. However, O’Sullivan wrapped up his win in the following frame with a sumptuous break of 134.

Shanghai2019ROSF-4

O’Sullivan said: “I’m pleased to get through to the final. This is a special tournament and my favourite one on the circuit. It is always nice to do well in this event.

“I’m proud of any record I can get in snooker, so not losing here in three years is great. I just like to play and I like to compete. There have been a couple of times this week where I feel that haven’t performed. That can zap a bit of energy out of you. I think snooker is about whether you can win when you aren’t playing your best. I have won a lot of tournaments doing that so I know I can. When you are playing well it is an easy game and it doesn’t take anything out of you.

“Shaun has been player of the season so far. He got to the final in Daqing and there was no shame in losing to Judd Trump. What is impressive is that he has come here and beat some very good players to get into the final again. He is in good form and it will be a tough game tomorrow.”

Robertson said: “Playing with the damaged tip was really tough. It was like trying to do an 800 metre race in the Olympics with a pulled hamstring. Then your only hopes are the rest of the field falling over and allowing you to win.

“Towards the end of the first session I made a good century break. However, I didn’t need to play any screw shots that put pressure on the tip. I didn’t realise how bad it was and it was just one shot away from getting permanently damaged. In hindsight I should have put a new tip on between the sessions.”

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Ronnie v Neil Robertson SF

Thanks to Tai Chengzhe for a few great images!

 

Shanghai Masters 2019 – Day 5 – SF 1

Shaun Murphy beat Mark Allen by 10-3 in the first semi final of the Shanghai Masters 2019. This is not the kind of result I expected; I thought that the match would be close. I certainly didn’t expect Mark Allen to get trounced, the day after he had outplayed Judd Trump.

Actually the match was close up to frame eight. Mark Allen was then 4-3 behind and in the process of clearing the colours to make it 4-4. He missed the green, he didn’t win another frame. It wasn’t a straightforward green, but it wasn’t an impossible shot either. Losing that frame appeared to knock all the stuffing out of him. It may be only my perception – and I may be completely wrong – but it seemed to me that from there on, Mark had lost the belief that he could win and was more or less going through the motions. The fact that had only won five of his 16 previous encounters with Shaun might have something to do with it.

Anyway, here are the reports bby Worldsnooker

Afternoon session (morning in Europe)

Shaun Murphy will take a 6-3 advantage into the concluding evening session of his Shanghai Masters semi-final with Mark Allen.

The pair also met in the last four at the recent International Championship in Daqing, where Murphy was a 9-6 victor. He finished runner-up to Judd Trump.

They will play the best of 19 match to a conclusion tonight, with the winner progressing to contest Sunday’s final against Neil Robertson or Ronnie O’Sullivan where a top prize of £200,000 will be up for grabs.

The first two frames this afternoon were shared, before breaks of 88 and 82 saw Murphy establish a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

When they returned they traded breaks of 74 to progress the scoreline to 4-2. A contribution of 55 saw Allen steal the seventh on the colours. However, 2018 Masters champion Allen then crucially spurned an opportunity to level by missing a green. Triple Crown winner Murphy punished that error by clearing with 25 to move 5-3 ahead.

The Magician consolidated his lead with a run of 58 in the last frame of the session.

Evening session (afternoon in Europe)

Shaun Murphy is through the Shanghai Masters final for the first time after beating Mark Allen 10-3 in the last four.

This was the second consecutive event where close friends Murphy and Allen have met in the semi-finals. They clashed a month ago in the semis of the International Championship. On that occasion Murphy also came out on top by a 9-6 scoreline.

The Magician will now face either defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan or Neil Robertson in Sunday’s final. The victor will hold the most lucrative invitational title in snooker, with a total prize fund of £751,000 and a winner’s share of £200,000.

The head-to-head record between Murphy and Northern Irishman Allen is now very much weighted in the 2005 World Champion Murphy’s favour. The Englishman has won 12 of their 17 professional meetings.

World number 14 Murphy’s return to form this season is in stark contrast to how he fared last campaign. His qualification for this event was under threat, until his run to the International Championship final in Daqing. A poor 2018/19 season, where he lost nine times in the first round, did damage to his position in the world rankings. However, he clung on to his top 16 spot and his place in Shanghai.

37-year-old Murphy came into this evening having already accumulated a three-frame cushion in the afternoon session, emerging with a 6-3 advantage.

Murphy put on a flawless display tonight to deny Allen any further frames. He fired in breaks of 64, 80, 61 and 104 to claim four consecutive frames and wrap up the win in just under three hours of play.

Murphy said: “It just shows you how mad sport is. Especially sports that you play on your own. I haven’t really done that much different to last season. It is probably just those six inches between my ears. I thought it was a good game today.  I was a little bit lucky at times. Any little bit of luck that could have gone either way went to me. Maybe the scoreline doesn’t reflect how the match was, but I am thrilled to be in the final.

“Mark and I have played each other millions of times now, so we leave our friendship in the practise room and go out to try and kill each other! The public would have it no other way. As soon as we shake hands we are best of friends again. There is always a bit of text banter before the game. Just enough so you can have a bit of a laugh, but out there it is very serious and we are trying to win.

“It is a personal best for me this week in Shanghai and it is one of my favourite stops on tour. There was a time a couple of weeks ago when I hurt my leg where I thought I might have to miss this year. It is a bonus to be out here and now I am in the final I’m just one match away from the title.”

There will be a lot at stakes for Shaun Murphy come Sunday: a possible first Shanghai Masters title and a possible spot in the Champion of Champions 2019.