2020 Players Championship – Day 2

Four matches were played yesterday in Southport and here is the report by WST:

Joe Perry won a pulsating clash with Neil Robertson 6-4 to book his place in the quarter-finals of the Coral Players Championship in Southport.

It’s a crucial victory for Perry, who now moves into 16th position in the world rankings as things stand. That puts him in line to edge Ali Carter out of an automatic World Championship spot, with the Captain projected to slip to 17th position.

Defeat for Robertson acts as a blow in his bid to claim the 2020 Coral Cup, which the Australian currently leads courtesy of his victory at the Coral World Grand Prix. The winner will be whoever accumulates the most prize money over the three-event Coral Series and they will also pick up a £100,000 bonus.

Despite a spectacular break of 140 from Robertson in the second frame, it was Perry who dominated the early stages today. Runs of 61, 66 and 68 helped him into a 5-1 advantage. Robertson then summoned his best snooker to stage a dramatic fightback.

World number two Robertson made breaks of 119, 127 and 84 to charge into contention at 5-4. The following frame was closely fought, but the pivotal point came when Robertson missed the final blue. That allowed Perry to clear to the black and snatch victory. Perry faces Yan Bingtao in the last eight, who defeated Kyren Wilson 6-2 this evening.

Perry said: “Pretty much all of the frames I lost, I couldn’t do anything about. Neil is just a big break making machine. He potted reds and made 100 breaks. There was nothing I could do about that, but on the whole I thought I was good and better than I have been in the last few tournaments.

“I just tried to keep myself positive and kept telling myself that the chance would come and to be ready for it when it did. I was ready for it and I took it really well but was a bit unlucky and didn’t get a cannon to finish in one visit. In the end it got a bit nervy and I had to rely on Neil missing a blue.”

John Higgins boosted his hopes of progression to the series finale at the Coral Tour Championship with a 6-2 win over fellow Scot Graeme Dott.

Higgins is currently in seventh position on the live one-year list and needs to remain in the top eight until after the Gibraltar Open to qualify for the elite Llandudno event.

Remarkably, today’s victory see’s four-time World Champion Higgins reach the 123rd ranking event quarter-final of his career.

Higgins had led 3-2 after a tense opening to this afternoon’s game. However, he took a stranglehold of proceedings by composing breaks of 84 and 60, before taking the eighth frame to secure the win.

Higgins said: “It was a big game there. Whoever won the game would be in a strong position to qualify for the Tour Championship heading into the last qualifying event at the Gibraltar Open. I am just pleased to get through. I will need to improve massively to get through again in the next round.”

Higgins now faces a mouth watering clash with World Champion Judd Trump. The Ace in the Pack secured his progression with a superb performance to see off last week’s Shoot Out champion Michael Holt 6-3.

Trump tops the one-year list after notching up four ranking titles this season and he produced some dazzling snooker this evening.

A break of 130 gave Trump the opening frame, before a sensational clearance of 64 saw him move 2-0 in front. They shared the next two frames to head into the mid-session with Trump leading 3-1.

When they returned Trump extended his lead with a break of 93. However, Holt refused to back down, compiling a stunning run of 128 to keep in touch at 4-2.

Trump moved one from victory, but Holt maintained his hopes of an upset with a brilliant clearance of 56 which made it 5-3. In the end Trump secured his win with a break of 76 to come through 6-3.

Higgins win means that Ronnie can’t qualify for the Tour Championship no matter what, but, TBH, it was never a realistic possiblity once he failed to qualifyfor this one.

Perry played strong match play to beat Neil Robertson. Neil scored 651 points in this match, to only 514 for Joe, and had three centuries, including the current tournament HB of 140, and a 84, whilst Joe’s highest break of the match was only 68 but he still lost by 6-4. This again highlights how and why the constant focus put on centuries in recent years is misleading and wrong. The goal is to win the matches, to to score the most points, and a century wins you just one frame.

Judd Trump played some impressive shots during his match but was never really under put any pressure. In fact, the frame Holt managed to win whilst I was watching was the one where he managed to break Judd’s fluency.

I rather quickly turned to the other, much more interesting, match of the evening, where Yan Bingtao played solid match snooker to beat Kyren Wilson. It’s baffling me that there is not a single word by WST about this one in their report. A good run here, and in Llandudno (*)  could bring Yan in the top 16 ahead of the Crucible and I would be delighted for him. It would also be good for the game in general. Yan is only just 20 but he’s very mature and he seems to have his confidence back. As for Kyren Wilson he’s been in and out all season, lacking consistency, producing some good matches as well some very average performances. Yesterday was an “out” day.

(*) He’s currently 6th on the one year list.


7 thoughts on “2020 Players Championship – Day 2

  1. I am sorry to interrupt but sth just occured to me, after being in a catatonic state for three days. Had the Shanghai Masters, which is a top tier event, not lost its ranking status, Ron would now be the no.3 on the one-year list, since it was the UKs only where the prize money was equalled to the money of the SM. Actually, if you combine it with the last season when the SM first lost its status, he would still have been the overall and undisputed world number one. Pretty amazing innit. But what we have now instead is that he is not playing in the couple of events where he should at least be able to defend his titles by rules. And this first event isn’t any bigger than the SM. So, scag or no scag, everything seems to have gone to bollocks in some weird both physical and metaphysical way. You have a player who barely wins a proper match, to win a 50k circus and throw my more than decently consisant guy out of everything. I have a new idea for BH; why not add another event to the calendar where players must walk in a sack to beat the shot clock and play shots as such. And of course make it a ranking one with say 75k winner’s share. And play it right before the Crucible prior to the final cut-off. Bye.

    • 75K ? You’re kidding! It should be 600K ! Seriously, yes, you’re right and that’s why I wrote why I did just before the Shoot Out. It’s a major distortion of the rankings and tailor-made to please the bookies.

  2. ITV had very little coverage of Table 2, except when they needed it (after Selby’s 6-0 win). It’s possible that the layout of the venue heavily favours Table 1, and that media can’t get such a good view of Table 2. Indeed, Table 2 seems a bit of an outlier, with very unpredictable conditions. Apparently the floor is not level, which can be a huge problem for some players (according to their stance, etc.). I believe it’s being ripped out for the Q-finals, when I guess the tournament ‘begins’.

    Neil Robertson lost the match in the first half, where he trailed 5-1, before a counterattack (hence the scoring). People generally have an impression of the ‘good’ Robertson, strutting round the table making centuries, but actually he doesn’t always produce that. He had a great spell for a few weeks, but yesterday there were costly misses, as there have often been at other times with Robertson.

    That result opens up a Q-final between Joe Perry and Yan Bingtao, who already has a tournament win and 3 semi-finals this season. He’s only just 20, with the average age of the others 36. If the media are reluctant to promote him, then he might actually benefit from the lack of attention at the moment. But top-16 for the Crucible looks just slightly out of reach by my calculations. Next season could see a rapid rise, but that depends on the VISA/quarantine status of the Chinese players.

    • That the conditions are so unreliable and bad for a major tournament is frankly unacceptable. The floor not being level is just incredible.
      As for the corona virus thing, I wish people would come to their sense and the mediatic created panic ended. Yes it does kill about 2% of the diagnosed ones. That’s similar to what the flu does … every year. And the highest mortality hits the same “population”, elderly people with other health issues (respiratory problems, diabetes, heart conditions) and people weakened by other health issues. Yes, it needs to be taken care of – research for a vaccine is well underway in a concerted effort between several countries – and family doctors should be in the front line for prevention, education/information of the general poulation and early diagnostic on the most vulnerable, but all that quarantine stuff is way over the top.

      • Well said Monique. I have to admit to not visiting your site for such common sense on the corona virus but it is most welcome nevertheless.

      • I’m not a scientist, but I think the issue with corona is not the death rate, but the infection rate. A friend of mine in South China ‘disappeared’ for 3 weeks without any contact, due to a quarantine (he had visited a restaurant which had a case). But we are looking at some major international effects: major travel restrictions, possible cancellation of the Olympics, severe economic impacts. In snooker terms, loss of several Chinese events and perhaps all of the Chinese players for next season. There would surely have been some major reaction against this if the measures were unnecessarily severe?

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