In the afternoon I watched Ronnie’s match. Ronnie didn’t play well and looked a bit distracted at times but he did enough to get to the last 16 and set a new record.
You can read more about his match here. The post also contains an inteview – done before the match – with BBC Owen Philips from BBC Sports about his practice and his approach to snooker at this stage of his career.
As I didn’t watch anything else that afternoon, I can’t really comment, but I’m glad that Ding seems to get back where he belongs, the top.
In the evening I chose to watch Yan Bingtao v Jack Lisowski instead of the main table match and I think I made the right choice. Whatching two defenders slogging it out is not my thing. I was pleased to see Yan play well, but infuriated at Jack’s performance. I like Jack and I would love to see him fulfill his potential and do justice to his talent, but by now I’m starting to seriously doubt that it will ever happen. I’m not sure what he would need to get where he should be in his career.
I’m also happy for Michael White. I remain convinced that the young man had too much expectations on him too soon and it didn’t help him. I remember him at 16, and all the hype around him.
Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:
Ronnie O’Sullivan admits his game is affected by a long-term foot injury, but that hasn’t stopped his pursuit of an eighth Betway UK Championship title as he beat Noppon Saengkham 6-2 to reach the last 16.
O’Sullivan now faces a blockbuster clash with Ding Junhui in York on Thursday afternoon. Ding beat Ali Carter 6-4 which virtually guarantees his top 16 place in the Race to the Masters.
World number two O’Sullivan has won this event in each of the last two years. If he lifts the trophy on Sunday night he’ll become the first player to capture any of the Triple Crown events on eight occasions. Today’s victory over Thailand’s Saengkham was the 90th match he has won in the tournament, one ahead of Steve Davis who had previously held the record with 89.
He was not at his best against Saengkham but breaks of 76, 97 and 65 helped him into round four. However, 43-year-old O’Sullivan is concerned about an injury to his right foot which has troubled him for several months.
“It’s a really bad bruise, it’s quite a common running injury,” he said. “I didn’t run for four months because I wanted to rest it but I started running again four or five weeks ago and it’s just really sore again. I’m due to see someone in January but until then I just have to take painkillers. If it gets any worse as it effects my back.
“I’m not prepared to stop running because I love it. I just have to manage it and hopefully it gets better. I’ll just not run on the days I play and hopefully it will be a bit better by Thursday. I don’t want to pull out.”
Looking ahead to his next match, O’Sullivan added: “Ding is playing well, he looks like he’s cueing well. I’m looking forward to playing him and there will be a few watching in China I reckon! I have a really good following in China, a lot of support out there and I love my time there, I’m like their adopted son. It will be the real son against the adopted son – it should be good fun.”
Resurgent Ding Gets Carter
Ding scored arguably his best result of the season so far with an impressive win over Carter. China’s top player Ding has struggled for form in recent weeks but his run in York looks likely to give him a Masters place, as he is now 14th in the provisional rankings and only an unlikely series of results could deny him a place at Alexandra Palace next month.
He built a 4-0 lead with breaks of 64, 104, 52 and 69, then Carter hit back after the interval, taking four of the next five frames with a top run of 100. But Ding, who won this title in 2005 and 2009, finished in style with a break of 116 to win 6-4.
Maguire Top Of The Scots
In another crucial match in the Masters race, Stephen Maguire scored a 6-2 win in a tartan tussle against Graeme Dott. That puts Maguire ahead of Carter into 16th place – they are tied on £287,500 but Maguire is in front on countback.
Breaks of 115, 60, 81, 106 and 82 helped Maguire set up a match with Michael White or Mark Davis.
“It’s a great result,” said 2004 UK Champion Maguire. “I was worried about today and I was nervous at the start. Graeme has played better than me in the last couple of games so he was going in favourite. I just played better than him.
“I let the nerves get to me today. But the balls were still going in so I’m pleased with that. I’m not going to lie down to anyone. If I don’t play well and the guy beats me, fair enough but I will fight to the death.”
Maguire can still be overtaken in the Masters race by the likes of Gary Wilson and Yan Bingtao but added: “I can relax a little bit because somebody’s now chasing and there’s a bit of a gap. I’m in a better position now than what I was this morning. So I’ll take my dad for a bottle of beer.”
Liang Wenbo continued his valiant run as he beat Eden Sharav 6-4 with a top break of 75. Liang’s mother died last week but having spent a few days in China he is back competing. He now meets Li Hang.
Michael White made what he described as the best comeback of his career to beat Mark Davis 6-5 on a respotted black in the last 32 of the Betway UK Championship.
White recovered a 5-2 deficit and got over the line in a thrilling finish. The Welshman’s recent slump in form has been so sharp that his place on the tour remains in doubt, but the £17,000 he is already guaranteed this week gives him a huge boost. The two-time ranking event winner beat Mark Williams in the previous round and can now look forward to a fourth round match with Stephen Maguire in York.
Both players had chances in the last frame and it came down to the colours. Davis missed match-ball brown when he led by 22 points, allowing his opponent to clear to tie the scores. A tactical exchange on the respotted black ended when Davis left it over a centre pocket and White slotted it home before punching the air in relief.
“It’s my best ever comeback,” said 28-year-old White. “He played really well to go 5-2 up but I stuck in there. In the last frame I had so much bad luck and when he was on the brown I was ready to shake his hand. But when he missed it I made a good clearance and then played some superb safety on the black.
“I haven’t practised enough in the past and it has shown, but I’m working hard now. Tonight’s win is unbelievable for me – bigger than beating Mark Williams.”
Selby Set For ‘Dangerous’ Stevens
Mark Selby ground out a 6-3 win over Martin O’Donnell , setting up a last 16 match with a player he feels has “massively under-achieved.”
Two-time UK Champion Selby will be up against Matthew Stevens on Thursday evening. Welshman Stevens won this event in 2003 but that remains his only ranking title – though he has also won the Masters.
“I played Matthew in Northern Ireland and it looked like he was getting his game back,” said Selby. “He is a class act but I think he would say himself he has not put the work in over the years. In my eyes he has massive under-achieved. He’s a very natural player and he is dangerous.”
Breaks of 52 and 70 helped Leicester’s Selby to victory tonight against O’Donnell. “It was a poor match,” admitted the world number six. “I don’t enjoy playing like that but sometimes the balls just go awkward and you have to try to scrape through. We are down to the two-table set up now which is great.”
Wilson Rising To Big Occasion
Gary Wilson beat Joe Perry 6-1 and has now won 12 of his last 13 frames in the tournament. In his previous match against Chris Wakelin he became the fourth player in history – after John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson – to score four consecutive centuries. And the Wallsend cueman was in fine form again tonight as breaks of 74, 103, 75 and 121 helped him to a convincing win over Perry.
World number 18 Wilson got to the semi-finals at the Crucible earlier this year. So far this season he has struggled for form, but is once again coming alive at a Triple Crown event. He now meets Nigel Bond, who knocked out Judd Trump yesterday.
“I feel good about my game again,” said Wilson. “It’s nice to find it this week in the second biggest ranking event. I am happy playing in the main arenas, I feel comfortable and I’m not putting pressure on myself. It doesn’t bother me who I play, I just want to play my own game.”
The result keeps Wilson’s hopes alive in the Race to the Masters while Perry remains in 15th place so must hope he is not overtaken by two other players.
Yan Completes Last 16 Line-Up
Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao reached the last 16 of a Triple Crown event for the first time as he top-scored with 75 in a 6-3 win over Jack Lisowski. China’s Yan now meets Neil Robertson.