2021 English Open Qualifiers – Day 1

Snooker was back yesterday with the 2021 English Open qualiers. Eurosport player and Matchroom.live both showed all the matches, which is great.

There were two withdrawals:

Zhou Yuelong and Zhang Jiankang have been withdrawn from BetVictor English Open qualifying due to being close contacts of a Covid-19 case.

Both players are to be replaced in the draw by the next available players in the Q School Order of Merit. Ross Muir will replace Zhou to face Dean Young this afternoon at 4pm.

Zhang’s replacement to face Jak Jones tomorrow at 1pm remains TBC and will be named as soon as possible.

Bai Langning is replacing Zhang.

This is WST report on the action:

Hallworth Fightback Floors Craigie

Steven HallworthWorld number 70 Steven Hallworth claimed the last three frames to secure a dramatic 4-3 win over Sam Craigie and earn his place in the final stages of the BetVictor English Open.

Victory for Hallworth books a spot at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes next month for the final stages. Qualifying for the event is taking place over the next few days in Barnsley.

Hallworth fired in the highest break of the match, a run of 83, on his way to setting up the decider. He then held his nerve to secure a 37-minute final frame and seal his progression.

Jimmy Robertson eased to an impressive 4-0 win over China’s Yuan Sijun. Bexhill’s Robertson was in fine break building form throughout the tie, composing runs of 53, 56 and 108.

World number 24 Tom Ford eased through with a 4-0 whitewash win against Sean Maddocks. Leicester’s Ford made breaks of 61,106 on his way to victory.

Alexander Ursenbacher sealed his place in Milton Keynes with a 4-2 defeat of former English Amateur champion Ben Hancorn. Swiss number one Ursenbacher compiled a break of 111 in the opening frame and added further breaks of 57 and 54.

Chinese teenager Wu Yize held off an Ashley Hugill fightback to progress 4-3, while his compatriot Xiao Guodong defeated Alfie Burden 4-2.

Oh my! That picture of Steven there is not quite up-to-date …

Yuan Sijun looked both out-of-sorts and quite dispirited out there. His game has disintegrated over the last couple of seasons and it’s sad to see really. Jimmy Robertson played well, but he didn’t have much opposition.

The match between Wu Yize and Ashley Hugill was an interesting one. It was hard fought, quality, and quite tactical. Wu showed maturity beyond his years; he’s only 17 and matched Ashley in the safety department. He seemed to have lost his way a bit after a bad miss in frame 5, but eventually managed to win the deciding frame. That last frame was a long one. You could clearly feel the tension and both players made unexpected mistakes. At one point Ashley Hugill took several minutes pondering over a shot. He was warned – quite firmly – by Olivier Marteel after playing it. I’m not sure what Olivier said but Ashley looked distraught. On a lighter note … I quite like Wu’s mullet. Somehow reminded me of Hendry in the early 90th.

Tom Ford won easily without playing particularly well.

4 thoughts on “2021 English Open Qualifiers – Day 1

  1. Do these qualifiers on the Eurosport app have commentary? My subscription has lapsed, and with no events on regular TV, I was waiting until 9th October with the NI Open to renew. But if all these qualifiers have commentary…

  2. This season is going at a very slow pace. We have all these qualifiers on just two tables. For sure, only dedicated fans will have any interest at all until at least the NI Open in mid-October, and then have to wait until November for the English Open. Last season was much more high-profile.

    Zhou and Zhang are based in the Q House Academy, so someone there probably tested positive. Zhang’s always had terrible luck, missing several events in 2018-20 due to various travelling issues. He had been so positive and enthusiastic about his return to the UK, hopefully this won’t ruin his mood. Zhou also needs ranking points to get into the top-16, but has missed too many tournaments. Ironically, Zhang’s replacement Bai Langning was also a Q House player, but avoided getting pinged!

    Ash Hugill should have beaten the boy Wu, missing an easy chance at the end after compiling an excellent counter-attack. I’m not sure I agree with the warning for slow play, and I’d speculate that a top player in a big match wouldn’t be warned. However, these are big matches for these players.

    • I know Olivier quite well and I’m convinced that he would have warned any player who would take such long time over a shot in any match. But I think that Ash suffered a brain freeze, and maybe Olivier should have asked him, without agression, to make his mind and play when it became clear that he was “frozen” . The balls weren’t going to move by themselves any time soon.

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