The quarter-finals Friday at this year’s Welsh Open was a strange one: three matches went to a deciding frame, the fourth was canceled. As a result Ronnie was in Eurosport studio all evening.
Brown Stuns Selby
Northern Ireland’s Jordan Brown got the better of a black ball fight in the decider to edge three-time World Champion Mark Selby 5-4 at the BetVictor Welsh Open.
The epic three hour and 48 minute match came all the way down to the final ball in the final frame. Eventually Brown left it at the mercy of Selby to the right middle pocket, but the Leicester cueman missed his chance.
Brown then thumped in a regulation pot to the top left pocket and punched the air with joy. The dramatic victory sealed Brown a first ranking event semi-final place of his career.
He’ll face Stephen Maguire in the last four. Whoever wins between Brown and Maguire will be guaranteed a spot in the top 16 of the one-year list to qualify for next week’s Cazoo Players Championship.
World number 81 Brown qualified for a maiden Crucible appearance at last year’s World Championship, in doing so he saved his professional status and avoided a trip to Q School.
Defeat for Selby leaves him £6,500 behind Judd Trump in the BetVictor Series with only the BetVictor Gibraltar Open to go. The player who accumulates the most prize money over the six event series will pick up a lucrative £150,000 bonus.
Brown made breaks of 105, 55 and 63 on his way to establishing a 3-1 advantage at the mid-session. When they returned Selby required two snookers and got them to steal the fifth frame, before firing in a break of 97 to draw level at 3-3. They then traded frames as the match went to the most dramatic of deciders, where Brown sealed the tie.
“I’m over the moon. Years of hard work have finally come off just for this one moment,” said 33-year-old Brown. “I know it’s not over yet. I’ve got a semi-final to look forward to tomorrow. For now, to finally prove myself against one of the top players, I feel like I’ve achieved massive things today.
“He is hard as nails. He makes things so hard for you. He is just granite. I was aware of his reputation, but all I had to concentrate on was myself and I feel like I handled it pretty well there.
“I’ve always believed in myself. Coming into this season, off the back of the Crucible, it was important for me to carry on and make sure that was no fluke. I’ve been very consistent and it is finally all coming together.”
Tour Champion Maguire booked his place in the last four with a 5-4 defeat of defending Welsh Open champion Shaun Murphy.
Maguire fired in breaks of 105, 84, 55, 90 and 133 on his way to victory. Defeat for Murphy ends his hopes of qualifying for the Players Championship.
Welsh three-time World Champion Mark Williams came through a thrilling clash with Tom Ford 5-4 to reach the semi-finals.
Williams is a two-time winner of the event and the only Welsh player ever to claim the title. He last lifted the trophy back in 1999.
Victory this evening sees Williams qualify for the Players Championship, ending Ford’s hopes of clinching a spot. However, Williams’ immediate focus is a semi-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan tomorrow evening.
The day’s other quarter-final was cancelled after Ali Carter withdrew due to illness. As a result, O’Sullivan received a bye through to the semi-finals.
Massive congratulations to Jordan Brown for holding it together at the end of that match. To be honest, I didn’t believe he would be able to fend off Mark Selby who is a specialist of such situations.
The Williams vs Ford match was a strange affair. Tom, speaking to Phil Haigh, had opened up about his mental health struggles at the moment.
‘To be honest with you I’m just fed up,’ Ford told Metro.co.uk after beating Lisowski in the fourth round. ‘The first three matches I’ve played I just didn’t want to be here.
‘I don’t know what it is at the minute. I’ve just got to the point where everything that’s going on, I’m just fed up with everything.
‘All I feel I’m doing at the minute is snooker, going home, snooker, going home. I’m not one of them players that wants to go into the club and practice. I just think I’m down, I’ve got to that point.
‘I’m not really enjoying matches apart from that last match I played against Jack. I managed to get myself up for the match from the start and I enjoyed that game. Even now, I’ve won that match and I know I’ve got to play again tomorrow and I’m just fed up with it all.’
‘Snooker’s just a part of it because I’ve always been one of them people that’s out and about, I’m never at home that long,’ said Tom. ‘If you said to me I’ve got to play six or seven hours a day for the next season I’d tell you that I’d give up now.
‘I need things away from snooker and they’re things I can’t have at the minute. Everyone’s in the same boat and I’m lucky that I’ve got things going on, more things than other people, but it’s still hard mentally and it’s now affecting me.
‘I’ve just got to that point where I am fed up with everything. It could take a day a week, I don’t know, but I know I’ll eventually pick myself up and go again.
‘It’s been the last few weeks. Is everything going to end and go back to normal? I know I’m lucky to have family around me but some people struggle and some don’t and I’ve just got to that point where I’m struggling.’
Tom has always been someone who likes the social side of life, going to the pub, having a drink – and sometimes many drinks – with his mates. He can’t have that now and he doesn’t cope well with it.
At the start of the match he looked very low. It looked to me as if he could burst into tears any minute and I wondered if he would be able to finish the match. But, all credit to him, he fought with all he had. His long potting was incredible.
Williams stuck to his guns regarding the break-off. Some people are asking for a change in the rules to make this type of break-off “illegal”. It doesn’t make for great viewing, but usually, after about three shots, things are back to normal on the table anyway. It’s a complete non-issue in my view.
Should he win today, Willo wants to honour Doug Montjoy in the Final … his ideas make the authorities see red. 😉
I totally agree with Hector here. It’s not like Willo wants to break the rules because he’s a rebel. He wants to honour one of the great Welshmen in the sport.
“You get times like that when you are not enjoying your snooker,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “Mine happened to be when I was winning virtually every tournament I played in and never got to go home. I kind of missed being at home.”
“I know it sounds crazy, but success was sometimes a bad thing for me.”
NOW I WRITE DOWN AFTER EACH TOURNAMENT SMILEY FACES OR NOT SO SMILEY FACES JUST FOR MEMORY BECAUSE SOMETIMES THERE’S A PATTERN TO CERTAIN THINGS.
“Maybe if Tom feels like that, he should look at his schedule and look at what makes him happy and try and incorporate a bit more of that in his life and start enjoying his snooker again.”
The problem is that what makes Tom happy is almost impossible to get right now, snooker or no snooker.