Snooker is back for us today as the 2021 English Open gets underway…
Meanwhile, this is (some of) what happened yesterday in our cuesports universe:
Judd Trump bowed out of 2021 US Open Pool Championship (report by WST)
Trump Bows Out Of US Open
Snooker’s world number two Judd Trump is out of the US Open 9-ball after an 11-10 defeat at the hands of South Africa’s Jason Theron.
Trump was making his 9-ball debut this week and started promisingly with comfortable wins in the first two rounds, before an 11-5 defeat of Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Shammari set up a clash with former US Open champion Jason Shaw. Scotland’s Shaw showed his class and highlighted that Trump still has much to learn in the discipline, charging to an 11-1 victory to send Trump to the loser’s side of the draw.
The Ace in the Pack put up a strong showing against Theron, but it wasn’t enough to avert the deciding frame defeat. Theron now progresses to face Japan’s Naoyuki Oi.
Trump said: “I think I will do it again, as a sport it is on the up. I like travelling to America anyway, and it is good to play a sport in another country.
“I had a lot more support from fans than I was expecting, and there were enough positives to make me do it again. A week’s practice and I’d still be in the tournament.
“I honestly think I was at about five per cent of the level I could reach so that gives you hope, and it was nice to play Jayson Shaw, one of the real top pool players.
“You see the level in a match like that, and he could go close to winning it. But other top players who have won events recently went out in the same round I did.”
5%? one week practice? Humble as usual… 😉 OK.
Judd will do it again, surely, if only because Emily Frazer, from Matchroom, announced that they will organise a similar tournament in London next year: the UK Open Pool Championship. If I got it correctly (*), this tournament will have a huge prize money and is provisionally scheduled to be played next May.
One thing I like about this tournament is the double elimination format and I would love to see this tried in snooker. Of course it’s only realistically possible with short formats and it requires more tables and a different, more complex, organisation. On the other hand, it would guarantee two matches for everybody and, the early rounds losers are bound to get easier, more winnable matches in the “losers” draw. This, I believe, would benefit the younger players massively: it’s an additional earning opportunity, even if it’s a modest one, some ranking points for the grabs, and another opportunity to play competitive snooker and learn. What’s your view?
Pankaj Advani won the 2021 Asian Championship
Pankaj Advani defends Asian Snooker Championship title in first tournament since 2019
Pankaj Advani had won the title in 2019 before the 2020 edition got scrapped due to the pandemic.Press Trust of India – September 16, 2021
Doha: India’s ace cueist Pankaj Advani on Thursday defended his Asian Snooker Championship title defeating Amir Sarkhosh of Iran here.
The Indian great was competing in his first assignment in almost two years due to COVID-19 .
Advani had won the title in 2019 before the 2020 edition got scrapped due to the pandemic.
His tally of Asian titles across both snooker and billiards now stands at 11, apart from the two Asian Games golds in 2006 and 2010.
“I’m glad to defend this title and pick up from where I left off before the onset of the pandemic. The gap only increased the drive and hunger to compete and do well on return,” said Advani.
In the best-of-eleven final, Advani was up against former winner and a seasoned campaigner Amir who was in formidable form.
It was the Indian though who dictated most of the final in his 6-3 victory. Advani drew first blood by winning the first frame with a 55 break. After that a 50 break in the second and some fine potting in the third made the ultimate winner enjoy a 3-0 lead before the Iranian pulled one back.
At 3-1, the Indian employed his billiards knowledge to give his opponent limited scoring opportunity and capitalised on every opening he got to go 4-1 up. The next two frames were shared by the finalists with a remarkable display of quality potting from both players.
However, just when the Indian was one frame away from getting his hands on the coveted trophy, Amir found his touch and bridged the gap to 5-3.
A fine break of 43 gave Amir the lead in the ninth frame but the crowd got to witness a perfect climax from the 23-time world champion as he pieced together an exquisite championship-winning clearance break of 63 to end the match and a two-year wait for an international title.
Advani will stay back to compete in the IBSF 6-Red Snooker World Cup starting on Friday.
Pankaj competed on the main tour a few years back but wasn’t happy: he was home sick and he missed playing billiards, his favourite cuesport. He made the right decision for himself. As a person, he’s a quiet, friendly and very humble character despite a remarkable career. He’s a sporting hero in his country, India.