2021 Scottish Open Qualifiers – Day 4

So here is WST account on yesterday’s action and, this time, all matches are mentioned.

Taylor Whitewashes Hendry

World number 75 Allan Taylor scored an impressive 4-0 qualifying win over seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry to secure his place at the final stages of the BetVictor Scottish Open.

Taylor came into today’s encounter having enjoyed a positive start to the campaign. He made the last 32 of the matchroom.live British Open and has already qualified for next month’s BetVictor Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.

Hendry, who is in the second year of an invitational tourcard, had cause for optimism ahead of this afternoon. He defeated Michael White 4-1 in BetVictor English Open qualifying last week.

When play got underway Taylor, 36, showed no signs of nerves against his illustrious 52-year-old opponent. He swiftly stormed to victory in just 55 minutes, making breaks of 60, 59 and 71 along the way.

Belgian number one Luca Brecel got the better of Switzerland’s top player Alexander Ursenbacher by a 4-1 scoreline to qualify. Ursenbacher had started the better, compiling a break of 67 to take the opening frame. However, Brecel controlled the tie from then on. He claimed four frames on the bounce, including a run of 85, to seal victory.

Former Players Champion Joe Perry earned his place in Llandudno with a 4-1 defeat of Andrew Pagett, while Jackson Page won a battle between two young prospects by defeating Aaron Hill 4-2.

Ryan Day won a fiercely contested clash with China’s Lyu Haotian 4-3. The Welshman took the decider on the final black to seal his progression. Former WSF Junior Open winner Gao Yang defeated Peter Devlin 4-1.

Michael Judge made two century breaks of 100 and 133 on his way to a 4-1 defeat of Graeme Dott, while Matthew Selt scored a narrow 4-3 win over Ashley Hugill.

What can I say about the Taylor v Hendry match? Well, first of all, “Pretzel” played very well: his long potting was good and he scored heavily when in the balls. Now, what about Hendry? What indeed?

This. I’m not in Stephen’s head, but, going what I saw yesterday, I have the feeling that he still wants to play the way he did when he turned pro, some 36 years ago, a fearless lad who went for everything. If that’s the case, it will not work and it will not end well.

Why? First of all because he’s 52, his eyesight certainly isn’t what it used to be, and he’s been 9 years out of competition. Next, and maybe more importantly, because the game has changed, and, he, Stephen Hendry, is actually the man who triggered that change. This is one of his greatest legacy: he has forever changed the way snooker is played. When he came on the scene, gluing the cueball on the baulk rail was a good enough safety. Players weren’t going for pots from there, unless forced into it. Stephen did take them, and was getting them pots more often than not. He also went into the pack much earlier than his contemporaries used to, often from the blue, a shot he’s often credited by commentators to have invented. His style was a novelty at the time.

But of course, the opposition adapted. The (then) young players coming through in the early 90th learned from him, and took it to the next level. Other players, like Ken Doherty in the 1997 World final, neutralised his game with superior safeties. Hendry didn’t change, and reading his book my feeling is that he didn’t want to change, didn’t accept that he HAD to change and evolve. This, and not “being past it”, is why his winning “rate” dropped significantly when he was still in his early 30th.

From what I saw yesterday, he’s still not wanting to compromise. If my feeling is right, he will not get anywhere that way and will soon get frustrated.

The other player who got me bot frustrated and sad yesterday was Lyu Haotian. Lyu had won this match: Day needed a snooker and only pink and black remained on the table. Then Lyu played a baffling shot, an incredibly bad shot, a shot that left Day in a position to get a guaranteed nasty snooker. Why? He could simply have put a maximum distance between pink and black, he had the whole table to find a good spot, instead he left the pink right next to the black. Day didn’t need a second invitation: he snookered Lyu, and Lyu, not only failed to get out of the snooker but left a rather simple pink… That’s how he lost the match.

2 thoughts on “2021 Scottish Open Qualifiers – Day 4

  1. Yes, it’s always easy to lose focus after potting frame ball (or match ball). Lyu had really battled his nerves to pot his way to a winning position. It’s not an easy problem to fix – it depends on confidence and ‘winning habit’. Unfortunately Lyu doesn’t have that and got another agonising 4-3 defeat. He probably wishes he spent a couple of extra months in Beijing.

    Conversely, on the other table Gao Yang produced a fluent and impressive display against Peter Devlin, who is also a ‘young’ player but actually more than 8 years older than his opponent. Gao’s most obvious weakness is that he can’t play with the rest – he has even tried it playing left-handed underarm like Sunny Akani. Devlin, however, missed some easy balls. OK, both players will likely get relegated, and it will be interesting to see which one is more able to bounce back.

    Later, Brecel won the battle of the top Europeans, and looked quite measured, which is an improvement.

    • I agree Lewis. On all accounts. I’m not trying to slag Lyu off. I wished him to win and was horrified TBH. I saw him play as a very young amateur at an APTC in Yixing in 2012. He was incredible but also already under a lot of pressure. His first years on the main Tour were extremely damaging. I’m not sure he can ever recover. He would probably need a “Chinese Steve Peters” in his corner and even so…
      Luca was playing a close friend in Alex. That’s never easy and it seemed to be more difficult for Alex than it was for Luca.
      Indeed Gao played well, and got better as the match progressed, but Devlin made it easy for him. Devlin has disappointed me since turning pro. I’ve known him for years, at the Pink Ribbon and in pro-ams. I expected better from him. But then, it’s a completely different context of course.

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