2020 English Open – Day 4

Yesterday was “moving day” at the 2020 English Open, with two rounds played to completion: the last 32 in the morning and afternoon, the last 16 in the evening.

If I’m honest, I’ve had better days as a fan…

Anyway, here are the reports by WST:

Last 32:

The big talking point was, of course, Ronnie’s defeat to Matthew Stevens and you can read more about that by following this link.

Houdini Trump Escapes Again

Judd Trump came from 3-1 down to win 4-3 for the third time in a row, beating Michael Holt. World number one Trump has scored 4-3 wins over Louis Heathcote, Yuan Sijun and Holt this week, each time taking the last three frames. He now meets Gary Wilson on Thursday night for a place in the quarter-finals.

Holt had several chances from 3-1 to land a major scalp but couldn’t take advantage and Trump recovered to 3-3 with breaks of 77 and 70, before taking the decider in three scoring visits.

“Michael played well at the start. He had chances to win and I was lucky that he made mistakes,” said Bristol’s Trump. “We both got twitchy in the end. I have struggled to get going this week but from now I will have to up my game. Gary Wilson is a very dangerous opponent.”

Selby Keeps Run Going

Defending champion Mark Selby snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Liang Wenbo, winning 4-3.

The key moment came in frame six when Liang, leading 3-2, was close to the winning line when he missed a tricky red along a side cushion on a break of 54. Selby made a brilliant 56 clearance to win the frame by a single point for 3-3, then took the decider with runs of 38 and 41.

World number four Selby has now won 19 consecutive best-of-seven frame matches in Home Nations events. He’ll aim to make that 20 on Thursday evening when he faces Iran’s Hossein Vafaei, who celebrated his 26th birthday with a 4-2 defeat of Jamie Clarke.


China’s top player Ding Junhui has been in excellent form this week and he came from 2-0 down to beat Tom Ford 4-2 with top breaks of 50, 112 and 90. He now faces John Higgins who saw off Jimmy Robertson 4-1.

Neil Robertson’s scoring power was too much for Mark Davis as runs of 50, 119, 77 and 117 gave the Australian a 4-1 success.

Crucible finalist Kyren Wilson top scored with 100 in a 4-1 win over Xu Si. Anthony McGill hadn’t hit a ball until this morning, having received byes through the first and second round, but looked sharp as he beat Steven Hallworth 4-0 with top runs of 124 and 84.

Also through to the last 16 are Barry Hawkins, Ben Woollaston, Zhou Yuelong, Robbie Williams and Andrew Higginson.

There was little magic in Judd Trump escape, there was mainly Michael Holt unable to finish the match despite getting countless chances.

This was the situation at the table early in frame five:

Trump Holt table English Open 2020 R3

Michael had just potted a red… hard to get a better table isn’t it? And it’s just one example of the opportunities he got. Also he wasn’t the one who created it. This was the result of Judd Trump’s attempt at an extremely risky cut back that was always going to send the white into the pack at speed, whether he potted or missed the attempted red. He had missed. It was a huge gamble by Trump, and the kind of shot that, had it be played by Ronnie or Maguire, would have triggered comments about “throwing the match” on social media. More likely, it was an attempt to impose his own style, and maybe, to put more pressure on his opponent sending the message that he would go for everything. Whatever it was, it worked.


Last 16:

Strong Line Up For Last Eight

Five of the world’s top seven players – Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, John Higgins and Kyren Wilson – are among a tremendous quarter-final line-up at the Matchroom.Live English Open.

Defending champion Selby came through a marathon last-16 battle with Hossein Vafaei by a 4-3 scoreline. In a contest lasting three hours and 39 minutes, Selby came from 3-1 down to 3-3 with breaks of 56 and 84. The decider came down to a tactical exchange on the final blue, and Selby pounced on a safety error from his opponent to pot blue and pink for victory.

Three-time World Champion Selby has now won a remarkable 20 consecutive best-of-seven frame matches in Home Nations events. “I don’t know why that it, I suppose it’s my never-say-die attitude,” said Selby, who won the BetVictor European Masters last month. “I was lucky today because Hossein and Liang Wenbo both had chances to beat me.”

Selby now meets Zhou Yuelong, who beat Andrew Higginson 4-0 with top breaks of 115 and 124.

World number one Trump eased into the last eight with a 4-1 defeat of Gary Wilson. A comfortable victory was welcome for Trump, who had won his previous three matches 4-3 from 3-1 down.

A break of 70 gave Trump the first frame before Wilson levelled with a 124. Trump regained the lead with an 89 then Wilson looked set to level again until he missed a tricky black on 63. That proved a turning point as Trump doubled a red to a centre pocket to set up a 66 clearance, before sealing victory in frame five with a 76.

“It was nice to play well. Gary put me under a bit of pressure but I didn’t miss a lot,” said Trump, whose last title came at the Gibraltar Open in March. “I didn’t play well in my first three matches but I feel I’m playing my way into the tournament.

“The double I went for in the fourth frame, I don’t know if I would have played that if there had been a crowd there. I’m so relaxed out there I don’t really care, I just go for everything. It feels a bit like playing an exhibition. I’m sure some of the others are playing for their life, but for me it just feels like practising.”

Trump now faces Kyren Wilson who beat Ben Woollaston 4-0 with a top break of 90.

Robertson top scored with 90 and 91 in a 4-2 defeat of Barry Hawkins. “It was a good match and I struck the ball very nicely,” said Robertson. “It’s fantastic for the tournament to have such a good quarter-final line up and the European Masters last month was similar. People must have wondered how the lack of crowds would affect the results, but the best players always rise to the top.”

The Australian now meets Robbie Williams, who reached the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the third time – and the first on UK soil – by beating Anthony McGill 4-1.

Four-time World Champion Higgins compiled breaks of 68, 66 and 67 as he beat Ding Junhui 4-1. His next opponent is Jak Jones who edged out Matthew Stevens 4-3 with a vital 33 clearance in the decider to reach his first ranking event quarter-final.

Friday’s quarter-final line-up

Mark Selby v Zhou Yuelong
Robbie Williams v Neil Robertson
Judd Trump v Kyren Wilson
John Higgins v Jak Jones

The fact that Matthew Stevens couldn’t back his victory over Ronnie with a win over the unheralded Jak Jones only added to my disappointment. That said, Jak Jones is not an easy opponent. He’s young but quite methodical. He can score heavily but didn’t in that match. His AST was over 34 seconds and he managed to dictate the pace: Matthew who had an AST of 22.7 seconds against Ronnie dropped to an AST of nearly 30 seconds against Jak. That, and the fact that beating Ronnie must have taken a lot out of him, without much time to recover, probably explain Matthew’s defeat. By the way, it’s not a “tactic” by Jak, it’s his natural pace. I remember watching him play at the SWSA as a young amateur more than ten years ago, and he played like that even then.

Ronnie was back in the ES studio right after his defeat…

BTW, Judd said in the studio that it can be tiring to play two matches in a day.

Ronnie looked tired yesterday. It was his first match of the day, but he had played in the evening the day before, then decided to drive home which is probably about one hour and a half away, and had to come back of course. Maybe that wasn’t a wise decision.


3 thoughts on “2020 English Open – Day 4

  1. When the WST report says ‘Strong Line-up’, I suppose they are talking about the five players ranked in the top-8, which is quite good for a best-of-7 tournament. In recent years, the top players have adapted to the shorter formats, but of course there will be the odd accidental casualty… However, I wouldn’t say that the Q-finals will be evenly contested. Zhou Yuelong played brilliantly yesterday on Table 3, but today faces Selby on a main table, so it’s likely to be a completely different scenario. Two other players are ranked 100. Of course Trump-Wilson is a repeat of the World Championship, where Wilson won, so that may be a close game.

    Mark Selby leads a charmed life – he should probably have lost each of his last 3 matches. But however well Hossein Vafaei was playing, somehow I never had any doubt Selby would win. Matthew Stevens is typical of a former top player who can occasionally play a fine match but can’t follow through to reach the later stages of tournaments.

    At least the broadcasters will be happy if it’s Selby, Robertson, Trump and Higgins.

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