The third and last day of the 2021 German Masters Qualifiers produced two very unexpected results as Mark Selby and Neil Robertson were both beaten, by Fergal O’Brien and Ben Woollaston respectively.
This is the report by WST, currently not covering the evening session.
O’Brien Stuns Selby
Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien produced a fine performance to beat Mark Selby 5-3 at BetVictor German Masters qualifying in Milton Keynes.
World number 124 O’Brien only remained on the tour this year by virtue of his performance on the one-year list last season and came into today’s game having not secured a match win this term. However, the 1999 British Open champion put on an assured display to see off Selby.
It’s a disappointing defeat for world number four Selby, who has enjoyed a strong start to the season after claiming the BetVictor European Masters title in September.
O’Brien fired in breaks of 56, 83, 62, 67, 85 and 57 on his way to this afternoon’s win. He now faces Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg for a place in the final stages.
Last week’s Champion of Champions winner Mark Allen continued his strong form with a 5-1 defeat of China’s Gao Yang.
The Northern Irishman composed runs of 126, 95 and 70 to brush aside his opponent this afternoon. Allen will play Pang Junxu up next.
Nigel Bond secured a shock 5-2 defeat of four-time ranking event winner Ali Carter. Former Crucible finalist Bond, 54, rolled back the years to book an encounter with Louis Heathcote in the final qualifying round.
Mark Joyce beat Thai number one Thepchaiya Un Nooh 5-4, while Peter Devlin came through a 5-3 victor against Ukraine’s Iulian Boiko.
Fergal had not beaten Mark since 2006 … In his postmatch, Fergal said that he has been in Northern Ireland in recent weeks, practicing with Mark Allen and Jordan Brown and that it has helped him massively. He looks as sharp as he has been for a long time.
Here is Fergal’s interview with WST:
Nigel Bond should seriously consider the musical theme of “Die another day” as his walk on music… he’s hard to watch most of the time, but I can’t help but admire him.
In the evening Ben Wollaston beat Neil Robertson by 5-4, in a high quality match that featured 8 breaks over 50. It seems that, slowly, Ben is getting back to the type of form that brought him to the 2015 Welsh Open final, and that’s good news.
Noppon Saengkham, who recently started working with Sightright, also showed signs of a return to form. He beat Oliver Lines by 5-2, scoring breaks of 62, 61, 70 and 54 in the process.
Simon Lichtenberg, who beat Amine Amiri by 5-1, is the only German / German speaking player left in the draw. Lukas Kleckers was whitewashed by Zhou Yuelong and Alexander Ursenbacker lost by 5-2 to Pang Junxu. Pang is not the most spectacular player, but he looks solid.
One last thing …
This tweet by Willo may explain a number of bizarre results in the past days and, also possibly in the coming weeks. Apparently there are not enough practice tables available to players in Milton Keynes and, as a result, players have only limited time for practice and only on the day they actually play. Of course, other than the space needed to install enough tables, there is also the constraint that they need to be sanitised, as well as all the “attached” equipment (balls, rests, spider etc…), after each practice session. As tournaments follow each other, week in week out, in Milton Keynes, and with travel restrictions in place, players who live far away from the venue are likely to stay in the area with very few opportunities to practice at all.