Those were my predictions. How did I do?
It all started rather as I expected. In the morning session, Shaun Murphy beat Lyu Haotian by 6-1 and Jack Lisowski beat Wu Yize by the same score. Actually both matches were more one-sided than I expected. Both Shaun and Jack scored heavily, both had four breaks over 50. Shaun’s 135 is currently the highest break of the tournament. Wu Yize actually had two 50+ breaks himself – a 57 and a 76 – yet he won only one frame. The 57 came in frame 2, a frame he lost 67-57, and losing that frame seemed to have a huge demoralising effect on the young Wu. Lyu Haotian appeared fragile out there. I wonder if he will ever recover from his disastrous first experience on the main tour.
The afternoon session brought the first surprise of the day as Zhang Yi beat Ali Carter quite comfortably. Carter had looked strong at the start, scoring a 117 in the first frame. However it was 2-2 at the MSI. After the MSI Ali won only one frame, conceded a frame 36 behind with 35 on the table and in general looked disgrunted and bored. Zhang took advantage and all credit to him. In the other afternoon match, Barry Hawkins beat Yan Bingtao by 6-5 and this was an excellent match. Both players played well. They had nine breaks over 50 between them – six by Barry, three by Yan – including two centuries, one each.
Here is the decider between Barry and Yan. It went to the last balls:
Ahead of the evening session, there was the official “Opening Ceremony” attended by Chinese officials, Jason Ferguson, Yan Bingtao and Ronnie. Here are a few images shared on weibo:
The evening session brought another “surprise” when Xiao Guodong comprehensively beat Stephen Maguire by 6-2. Xiao played well and scored heavily: he had six breaks over 50, including a century to finish the match. He was helped by a rather apathic display from his opponent. I didn’t expect this, given the way Stephen had played in Bangkok. I should have known better. I completely forgot the “wild post victory celebrations aftermath” factor. 😉 Frankly Stephen looked like a man who had quite a few over the last couple of days and nights… The other match saw Ding Junhui beat his wildcard opponent, Zhao Jianbo, very easily. Ding was playing the way he would in an exhibition, taking spectacular shots, to the delight of the crowd. Zhao’s potting was decent, but he has a lot to learn in the tactical department, and he was probably a bit intimidated.
Shaun Murphy might have been feeling Goofy after injuring his leg while dancing with his son to Disney’s Greatest Hits, but he sill managed to score a 6-1 win over Lyu Haotian in the first round of the Shanghai Masters.
And this is no Micky Mouse event – it’s snooker’s most lucrative invitation tournament with total prize money of £751,000 up for grabs. Murphy is through to the last 16 to face Mark Williams on Tuesday.
Breaks of 79, 83, 135 and 55 helped world number 14 Murphy to an emphatic win over China’s Lyu. England’s Murphy enjoyed a return to form at last month’s International Championship, reaching the final before losing to Judd Trump, and still looks in fine shape despite his recent mishap.
“We were having Sunday dinner at home, me and (three-year-old) Harry were dancing around the lounge to Disney’s Great Hits,” explained Murphy. “I felt something go in my leg. I thought for a minute I had snapped my Achilles tendon, but the doctor later told me if I had done that I would have gone down like a sack of spuds.
“He said I might well have partially torn it and he advised me to rest it as much as possible, so I sat in the house for two weeks, doing my wife’s brain in! I had to pull out of the Paul Hunter Classic and I was relieved to be able to get back to the table last week for a few days. It’s not ideal preparation but I’m glad to be here and to get a win under my belt today.”
Barry Hawkins edged out Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao 6-5 to earn a match with John Higgins. Hawkins came from 4-2 and 5-4 down to level at 5-5, setting up a tense deciding frame in which both players missed chances. It came down to the last five balls and last year’s runner-up Hawkins made a fine green-to-black clearance to snatch victory.
Wild card Zhang Yi, winner of the Amateur Shanghai Masters tournament, scored a surprise 6-3 win over Ali Carter to set up a meeting with defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan on Tuesday. It will be O’Sullivan’s first match since losing in the first round of the World Championship in April.
Stephen Maguire may have gone into this week’s event on a high having won the Six Red World Championship on Saturday, but he didn’t stay in it long as he went down 6-2 to Xiao Guodong, who fired runs of 50, 69, 88, 70, 57 and 100.
Home favourite Ding Junhui came from 1-0 down to beat Zhao Jianbo 6-2 with a top break of 71, while Jack Lisowski top scored with 81 in a 6-1 defeat of Wu Yize.
And Ronnie shared a short video of his “left handed practice session”