2020 Gibraltar Open – Pro stages Day 1

Here is WST report on what happened yesterday in Gibraltar:

Ben Woollaston produced a fine display to whitewash defending champion Stuart Bingham 4-0 and reach the last 16 the BetVictor Gibraltar Open.

Bingham, who won his maiden Masters title earlier this year at Alexandra Palace, was victorious 12 months ago in Gibraltar when he beat Ryan Day 4-1 in the final.

On this occasion world number 36 Woollaston, who had already defeated Rod Lawler 4-3 earlier in the day, proved to be too strong for the 2015 World Champion. The Leicester cueman fired in breaks of 79 and 74 on his way to this evening’s win, which saw him book a last 16 clash with Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un Nooh.

Former Shoot Out winner Un-Nooh took just 43 minutes to see off Harvey Chandler 4-0 this evening. He rounded off victory with breaks of 98 and 99 in the last two frames.

Welsh three-time World Champion Mark Williams booked his progression to Sunday’s concluding rounds with a 4-1 defeat of Martin Gould. Meanwhile, Mark Selby succumbed to a 4-1 loss against China’s Lyu Haotian.

Kyren Wilson produced one of the performances of the day to beat Luca Brecel 4-0. The Warrior rounded off victory with consecutive breaks of 76, 90 and 107. He faces Fergal O’Brien up next after the Irishman secured a 4-2 win over Chen Zifan.

The remainder of the early rounds will be played on Saturday, with the last 16 onwards taking place on Sunday. A top prize of £50,000 is up for grabs.

So Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson and Thepchaiya Un-nooh remain on course to possibly get past John Higgins and play in Llandudno … IF it happens.

Barry Hearn insists that events will go ahead as planned in the UK unless the government says otherwise.

As it stands, our intention is that our upcoming events will go ahead as planned. This includes next week’s Tour Championship in Llandudno, and the World Championship in Sheffield. However we must consider all scenarios and we will follow government advice. The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is of course our priority.

Now the very “light” stance of the UK government has been seriously criticized by most health authorities who claim that they are basically putting thousand of persons’ life at risk in order to prevent an econimical crash that will probably come anyway.

Meanwhile, in Gibraltar, the remaining part of the event is now played behind closed doors. Not even the players entourage is allowed in, and even more drastically, all tables except those on television are played without a referee, with players self-refereeing. Restaurants and bars are closed and airlines have been cancelling flights to and from Spain, meaning the some players might be stuck in Gibraltar for longer than expected.

This is WST statement about the situation:

Following advice from HM Government of Gibraltar, the BetVictor Gibraltar Open will be played behind closed doors this weekend, as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

The tournament started on Friday and runs on Saturday and Sunday. Matches will continue as planned but without fans in the arena.

The above report doesn’t mention that Mark Selby failed to make it to the last 16, losing by 4-1 in the last 32 to Lyu Haotian. Luca Brecel and Scott Donaldson are also out.

Anthony Hamilton withdrew, despite being in Gibraltar, because of this:


He had this cue for 34 years and it’s a very hard blow ahead of the World Championship … if it happens. For the first time today, David Hendon admitted on twitter that he was  still hoping that the World Championship will got ahead but wasn’t optimistic about it,

Regarding Anthony Hamilton’s cue, fellow players, on social media, expressed their surprise at the extend of the damage, some even suggesting this couldn’t happen unless it was intentional. I can’t imagine who would want to damage Anthony Hamilton’s cue or why, but it is indeed bizarre.



3 thoughts on “2020 Gibraltar Open – Pro stages Day 1

  1. “But I suppose there will have to be a winner on Sunday.”

    Probably a (record-setting) 6th ranking title this season for Judd…

    • At least this season will be remembered as the one in which the World Championship was cancelled and not about all Trump’s victories (silver lining). Gibraltar is getting ridiculous.

  2. I would say it’s very unlikely the World Championship takes place. At the least, there won’t be any spectators. The current stance by the British government is that events like football matches are cancelled because they occupy police and medical workers, which isn’t the case with snooker. But there are also plans to outlaw ‘large gatherings’, which probably means the 100+ people present at qualifiers in Sheffield will be illegal. By the time of the Crucible, most likely even tougher restrictions will be in place.

    All of the complications mean that the results in Gibraltar are likely to be a bit mixed, as players suffer from various forms of distraction. Mark Selby did try hard, playing on for 4 snookers in the final frame of his match, but Lyu did well enough. Perhaps his semi-final in the Shoot-out has helped regain a bit of confidence.

    But the primary media focus of this event was not on the tournament itself, but the permutations of various races: Tour Champ qualification, Crucible seedings, tour survival. Those look like being irrelevant now. But I suppose there will have to be a winner on Sunday.

    Meanwhile in Portugal they carry on, with Ben Mertens or Aaron Hill the favourite to qualify for a European tour card.

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