Ding On A Roll
Ding Junhui carried the momentum from his stunning UK Championship win in York on Sunday to Glasgow, as he swept past Michael White 4-1 in the opening round of the 19.com Scottish Open.
Chinese number one Ding, who now has 14 ranking titles to his name, dramatically returned to the big time by claiming the title in his adopted home county of Yorkshire. He compiled four centuries while defeating Stephen Maguire in the final 10-6 to become UK Champion.
That win ended a two-year ranking title drought for Ding and was his first Triple Crown silverware since the 2011 Masters.
This afternoon it was White who started fastest, composing a break of 76 to take the opener. However, from there Ding took complete control of the tie. He fired in breaks of 60, 104, 83 and 118 to romp to a comprehensive victory. He will now face compatriot Mei Xiwen in the second round.
Ding said: “It was a good win. Last week I did well and the confidence is still building up. There wasn’t much pressure today. Maybe just travelling up and playing again so quickly. I’m looking forward to the next round.
“The confidence was totally lost and my practice routines were totally wrong. I was just hitting balls and there was no target. That made my game weak. That was why I haven’t done well over the past two seasons.
“Things are looking good now and starting to get better. I need to keep this up and keep going.”
Rocket Downs the Spaceman
Ronnie O’Sullivan recovered from 3-1 down to beat Dominic Dale 4-3 and set up an intriguing second round clash with James Cahill.
It will be the first meeting between O’Sullivan and Cahill since the World Championship back in May. On that occasion Cahill, playing as an amateur, defeated five-time Crucible king O’Sullivan 10-8 in one of snooker’s greatest ever shocks.
Today Welshman Dale pushed O’Sullivan onto the back foot in the early stages, claiming the opening two frames. O’Sullivan then responded with a break of 81 to make it 2-1.
The 36-time ranking event winner had then looked set to restore parity, before trying to power in a final black to the left middle. He missed the pot and caused the white to fly from the table, handing Dale the frame and trail 3-1.
It was at that point that 44-year-old O’Sullivan burst into life. Runs of 64, 80 and 83 saw him take three on the bounce to win 4-3 and progress.
Maguire Struggling For Fire
Stephen Maguire admitted to struggling for motivation following his run to last week’s UK Championship final, but still managed to secure a 4-0 win over Jimmy White.
The Scot rounded off victory with a break of 92 this evening. That sets up a last 64 clash with Marco Fu.
“I’ve come down from a big high on Sunday,” said Maguire. “It was quite hard to get excited about that match there. Maybe if I can win a couple of games here and get the blood flowing then I can get up for it.
“I’m definitely not getting my hopes up. I get too nervous here with it being my home event. There are good nerves and bad nerves, but these are bad ones.”
World Champion Judd Trump wasted little time in dispatching Morocco’s Amine Amiri 4-0. The world number one required just 49 minutes to complete the whitewash win and will face Yuan Sijun next.
Scotland’s former Masters winner Alan McManus secured a fine 4-1 win over young Chinese star Zhao Xintong to set up a last 64 meeting with Thai legend James Wattana.
Jack Lisowski beat Zhang Anda 4-1 to progress to the second round, while former UK and Masters Matthew Stevens ousted 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham 4-2.
Kyren Wilson came from 3-2 down against Iran’s Hossein Vafaei to emerge a narrow 4-3 victor.
Ding played really well and looked genuinely happy after the match. That’s great to see.
Judd Trump didn’t play particularly well but didn’t need to. It’s sometimes difficult for the top players to keep their full concentration when their opponent is clearly well below their level. The commentators were stressing the fact that Amine Amiri has potential, but his game is nowhere good enough to play at professional level. His shot selection wasn’t righ. They said that he would hugely benefit from playing in an academy under the mentoring of an experienced player. Nigel Bond or Mike Dunn would probably be perfect for such role. But that supposes that the young man can afford to live in the UK in the first place. I said this before, but it doesnt harm to say it again., To me, nominees like Amine should not be given a two years card right away because, clearly, they are not ready and, surely, someone like Jason Ferguson knows that. They should instead be offered a one year scholarship and free entries in the Challenge tour with a commitment to play in at least half of them. Then, depending on their progress and results, they could be offered a two years tour card. Amine, at least, is trying his best. He’s entering events when he can… contrary to others who take their tour card and never show up.
Stuart Bingham was defeated by the resurgent Matthew Stevens and, as a result, was subjected to awful abuse on social media, seemingly by people who had a bet on him to win and were bitter. This is the message from me to all the persons who bet: taking a bet is taking a risk, you know it, so don’t complain when you lose. Nobody is forced to bet and sportspersons are not robots. And before you bet, think about this: how come that so many betting firms flourish and prosper? The answer is very simple: globally people who bet lose much, much more money than they win. That how they the betting business makes those huge profits. If you want to feed them your money, it’s your choice – although you may have people around you who are made to suffer because of that – but in any case don’t cry and don’t abuse others for it. It’s YOUR choice and YOUR responsibility.