The main talking point of day 1 in Yushan was – unfortunately – Ronnie’s defeat to Dominic Dale in their held over match. You can read all about it here.
Other than that Worldssnooker report on day 1 was rather minimal
Recent English Open champion Mark Selby came through a hard fought battle with former German Masters winner Anthony Hamilton, emerging a 5-3 victor.
The Jester from Leicester produced one of the circuits most impressive performances in recent years to win the English Open. He missed just seven balls in a 9-1 defeat of David Gilbert in the final in Crawley.
Three-time World Champion Selby top scored in today’s defeat of Hamilton with a run of 111 in the opening frame. Next up he will face Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.
World Champion Judd Trump put on a fine display to brush aside Zhang Jiankang 5-0. The Ace in the pack composed breaks of 80, 104, 63, 70 and 69 on his way to victory.
2019 China Champion Shaun Murphy continued his red hot spell of form by booking a place in the second round thanks to a 5-2 defeat of Alan McManus. While China’s 13-time ranking event winner Ding Junhui saw off Billy Castle 5-2.
Yesterday evening, I watched Judd’s match against Zhang Jiankang and I’m a bit surprised at the “fine display” description. From what I remember, Judd, in that match, didn’t manage a long pot until the middle of frame 3, and his long pot sucess must have been rather low over the course of the match. He also missed quite unexpectedly at short range in nearly every frame. He didn’t create many opportunities for himself, he was offered them on a plate by an opponent who struggled to string three balls in a row for most of the match. Yes, Judd eventually managed a telling break in every frame, but the whole display left me unconvinced.
As I didn’t have the opportunity to watch anything else, I can’t comment on the other matches. David Gilbert though was 4-1 down to Zhao Xintong and managed to beat him by 5-4. It was a high scoring match. I wonder if Zhao was guilty of impatience and tried to “force” things or if Gilbert just found another gear or two.
Ding beat Billy Joe Castle by 5-2, a comfortable score on paper, but the frames scores are telling a slightly different story: the match was apparently quite close.
Other than Ronnie’s defeat that there weren’t real surprises on day 1.
John Higgins reached the last 32 of the Zhiyuan World Open in Yushan with a 5-4 win over China’s Lu Ning.
World number six Higgins was pushed all the way by a player ranked 56 places below him but eventually came through to set up a meeting with Mark Davis.
Scotland’s Higgins took a 3-1 lead with a top break of 81 then Lu recovered to 3-3. The next two were shared before Higgins got the better of the decider, helped by a run of 48.
Dominic Dale knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan on Monday but his joy was short-lived as he lost 5-3 to Fergal O’Brien, who made breaks of 104 and 107.
Mark Allen scored a 5-3 win over Ken Doherty but not before he was given a scare by a Doherty fight back. Allen led 4-0 with a top run of 130 then his opponent took three frames in a row, making a 108 in the seventh. But a break of 77 was enough to give Allen the eighth. He now meets Zhang Anda.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh saw off Zhang Yang in just 65 minutes with top runs of 104, 85, 102 and 65. Jack Lisowski eased to a 5-1 win over Luo Honghao with a top break of 87.
Both John Higgins and Lu Ning played really well. It’s a shame for Lu that they had to meet so early: he’s a much improved player and a fighter.
Theppy’s 104 was his 100th competitive century.
There were a few noticeable results in the evening though.
Yan Bingtao was beaten comprehensively by Stuart Carrington (5-1). Already in his held-over match, he didn’t have it easy: he needed all nine frames to beat the 17 years old Bai Langning on the last black in the decider. It seems to me that the young man – he’s still a teenager – struggles to cope with the pressure of expectations.
Michael Holt beat Luca Brecel by 5-2. Not a surprise, but a confirmation that the Belgian’s form is worryingly bad and has been for quite some time. Another player whose form seems to have vanished is Ben Woollaston who lost by 5-1 to Zhou Yuelong.
Judd Trump needed all nine frames to beat Sam Craigie, despite scoring a 144 – currently the highest break at the main venue (*) – and leading 3-1 and 4-2. Now I’m curious to watch that one…
Nearly all top players are over to the last 32. Stephen Maguire though had to withdraw with a leg injury, giving Sunny Akani a free pass to tomorrows round.
Tomorrow John Higgins will face Mark Davis who is a bit of his nemesis … “Dark Mavis” has won 6 of the last 8 matches they played in full ranking events.
Judd Trump will play Liang Wenbo. That should be fast and furious.
(*) the current HB of the tournament is 145 by Jack Lisowski at the qualifiers in Barnsley.