The biggest upset yesterday was caused by Thepchaiya Un-nooh who beat Stephen Maguire by 4-0 and it’s nor much of an upset because Theppy on his day is a ferocious potter and a very heavy scorer. The scoreline though is severe.
Mark Williams, Neil Robertson and Mark Allen were among the day two winners at the 19.com English Open, with the top 12 seeds all through to the last 64 in Crawley.
World number three Williams scored a 4-2 win over fellow Welshman Jamie Clarke. After sharing the first four frames, Williams trailed 30-0 in the fifth, but came back to take it and then clinched victory in style in frame six with a 142 total clearance, the highest break of the tournament so far. He now faces Michael Holt.
“It could have gone either way, there were some close frames,” said three-time World Champion Williams, who was runner-up to Shaun Murphy at the recent China Championship. “It was scrappy though I finished it off well. I haven’t practised properly for the past year so I don’t deserve any results, how I got to the final of the last tournament I don’t know. I’ve got to get back to the practice table.”
Robertson needed just 52 minutes to beat Kishan Hirani 4-0 with breaks of 75, 71, 118 and 85.
“I stamped my authority on the match from the start and played nearly perfect snooker,” said Australia’s Robertson, who now meets Marco Fu. “I punished his mistakes and enjoyed the game.”
World number four Robertson has received plenty of joshing from his peers after driving to the wrong Barnsley for a qualifying match earlier this month.
“I was in the right postcode tonight so that was a good start,” smiled Robertson. “Joe Perry is convinced I was actually sitting at home and I made the whole thing up. I’d have to be a Hollywood script writer to make up a story like that.
“I have learned my lesson – when I set out for Crawley today I made sure I had the right postcode and I checked there is only one K2 venue in the town.”
World number 14 Stephen Maguire (the 13th seed as John Higgins did not enter) was the highest ranked player to lose in the opening round. He lasted just 45 minutes against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, the fastest player on the tour, who fired breaks of 86, 65, 117 and 75 in a 4-0 success.
Iran’s Hossein Vafaei edged out Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg 4-3, making a 42 clearance in the decider to win on the final black.
Jack Lisowski top scored with 79 in a 4-1 win over Jackson Page, while Kyren Wilson saw off Liang Wenbo with a top run of 95.
Scott Donaldson suffered a 4-3 defeat against China’s Zhao Xintong in cruel circumstances. In the deciding frame, Donaldson led 64-0 with five reds left when he potted a red, but accidentally knocked the blue in. That left Zhao 59 behind with 59 on the table and he cleared to force a respotted black, which he potted to secure an unlikely victory.
China’s 17-year-old Bai Langning top scored with 94 as he enjoyed a 4-2 win over Jimmy White; a player 40 years his senior. Sussex’s Mark Davis was runner-up last year but this time he suffered a first round exit, losing 4-2 to Graeme Dott.
Here is the dramatic end of the Donaldson v Zhao match:
Again there were lots of uncomfortably close matches but in most cases the highest ranked player came on to eventually.
Something that Worldsnooker did not report is how dispirited Mark William feels, but it was reported in the press:
But afterwards Williams claimed that his love affair with the sport he has graced for 27 years has hit a rocky patch.
“I’m just not enjoying it,” said the 44-year-old from Cwm.
“I’m not putting the work in, so I don’t deserve to get anything out of the game.
“Sometimes I feel quite close to finishing, to be honest.
“I’ll see after the world championships (in April), I’ll re-evaluate then.
“I’ll probably not (retire), but we’ll see.
“It’s something I’m going to think about.”
It was however Ronnie who triggered discussions and anger on social media by, again, criticising the conditions in Crawley
Ronnie O’Sullivan not impressed by English Open venue and Judd Trump not impressed by ‘Every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life’ comment15th October 2019,
Ronnie O’Sullivan has again blasted the venue hosting the English Open – one year after brandishing the Crawley K2 Leisure Centre a ‘hellhole that smells of urine’.
The 43-year-old claimed every day in Crawley was ‘a day lost in my life’ in his sensational rant as he demanded a complete refurbishment of the venue.
O’Sullivan, a five-time world champion, came back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Jamie O’Neill 4-3 in the first round on Monday.
And he even joked he would probably ‘end up with a bit of pneumonia’ in his criticism of the facilities.
“Every day in Crawley is a day lost in my life,” O’Sullivan joked to reporters in quotes reported by BBC Sport.
“It’s not changed as far as I’m concerned. You would have to change a lot in this place, a complete refurbishment probably. I’m not surprised; it’s what I expect it to be.”
“I’ve just gone from a match table, to a squash court to a toilet, where the players’ office is, from the toilet to walk around the outside of the building through the heavy rain to come here and talk to you [the press].
“I’ll probably end up with a bit of pneumonia on top of the cold I’ve already got.”
Meanwhile Judd Trump has lashed out at O’Sullivan, who also suggested the only redeeming feature of Crawley was ‘the M23 out of here’.
Trump also won his first round clash on Monday and refused to give any credence to claims made by ‘The Rocket’.
“Did he enter it this year? Well that says it all, doesn’t it,” the world champion said dismissively.
“The first time you go somewhere you never know, but if you’re entering the tournament a second time you can’t pick faults after you play for the second time.
“I want to play in every event that I can, last year was a bit disappointing here, it wasn’t quite up to scratch, but they’ve made a few changes.
“Anyone that’s entered it this year can’t really moan about conditions, they knew what they were like last year.”
Ronnie further caused outrage on social media when explaining how he deals with the frustration of playing “amateurs”
It’s of course not great to hear this if you are a low ranked player and Ronnie should be more considerate and think about how they feel hearing him there. That said, I’m certain that he’s not the only top player finding it difficult, especially the older ones. They did climb the rankings through a tiered system and earned their top player status by putting the work in and winning countless matches. For most of their careers they used to be seeded in the last 32. When there are 32 players at the venue it’s all very different: there is no need for a very big venue, it’s easier to “organise”, the officials are more available to the players needs, the players feel valued, treated as individuals, not numbers. I know for certain that Stephen Hendry hated the new system, hated the PTCs and the 128 field and it did certainly contribute to his decision to retire. John Higgins hasn’t entered this time, Mark Williams is demotivated. I’m not saying it’s because of Crawley – that would be daft – but I’m sure that the current system isn’t appealing to players their age and status.
The good thing for now though is that Ronnie knows how good Yuan Sijun is and respects him.