There were a few unexpected results again yesterday, and again Chinese players were involved…
The first “shock” came when Mei Xiwen beat Gary Wilson soundly by 5-2. Mei is a competent, well respected, player but he’s never been a top player, and he’s never been past the top 16 in any tournament and he’s 36. Yesterday though he scored heavily: he had four breaks over 50 including a 136. Certainly unexpected.
Next Xu Si came back from 3-0 down to beat Mark Joyce, the Riga Masters runner-up, by 5-3. Mark Joyce had started the match with a 96 break, then stolen the second frame despite a 51 by Xu. Without seeing the match, it’s quite hard to explain what happened there.
Not really a surprise but still shocking, Micael White was beaten, again, and quite comprehensively. This time by Jordan Brown, who won 5-2. Jordan is clearly improving in recent months, but Michael White spiralling down that is still surprising and worrying. Michael is still only 28, he was in the top 16 at the end of the 2015/16 season. He was a big prospect as a junior. Now he’s in serious danger to drop off the tour. What happened there? We know that he has suffred bouts of depression in the past, and I suspect there has been some heavy drinking on occasions as well. Is that it? If so it’s very sad.
Finally Nigel Bond beat Daniel Wells by 5-2. At 53 Nigel remains an excellent tactitian, but his consistency and potting tend to let him down rather often nowadays. It was a hard fought match, going by the scores. This is a very good win for the veteran.