There were a couple of huge surprises at the German Masters qualifiers yesterday.
Allen Keeps Hot Streak Going
Mark Allen won his ninth consecutive match on the World Snooker Tour as he came from 2-0 down to beat Sunny Akani 5-3 in the second qualifying round of the BetVictor German Masters.
Allen captured his first ranking title in three years at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open last Sunday. And two wins this week in Cannock have kept his momentum going and given him a spot at the Tempodrom in Berlin in January. After losing the first two frames against Akani, Allen fired breaks of 95, 133, 73 and 72 as he took five of the next six.
Liam Highfield earned a last 32 spot with an impressive 5-3 defeat of Jack Lisowski, while Lyu Haotian top scored with 89 as he registered a 5-1 victory over Ali Carter. Lyu will be joined in Berlin by fellow Chinese potter Fan Zhengyi who made an 85 clearance in the decider to beat Lu Ning 5-4.
In round one, John Higgins – runner-up to Allen in Belfast – suffered a surprise 5-2 reverse against Noppon Saengkham, who fired runs of 105, 132, 78 and 79. Shaun Murphy scored breaks of 61, 100, 76 and 93 as he saw off Mark King 5-1.
Remember that you an find all detailed results on snooker.org
Two excellent results for two young players who have struggled badly but will now be in Berlin. Congratulations to Lyu Haotian and Fan Zhengyi. Enjoy Berlin lads, and make sure to take warm clothes with you for this trip!
John Higgins heavy defeat is indeed a huge surprise after his recent final in Belfast, but it has happened last season too … a big win followed by a heavy defeat. Consistency is often an issue for older players, maybe it starts to be one for John as well now. Or maybe it’s just that he struggled to motivate himself to play in “lonely” qualifiers after such a high quality final in front of an enthusiast crowd.
That said Noppon scored heavily. He is in danger to be relegated at the end of the season and has recently started to work with SightRight. It seems to work well for him.
The Allen v Akani match was a strange one. Sunny had the best start and scored two big breaks – 83 and 78 – to lead by 2-0. Mark Allen replied with 95 and 133 to go to the MSI all square. When they resumed, the “mood” had changed. The next two frames were close, scrappy, low scoring affairs. Mark won the first, Sunny the second. In that sixth frame though something happened and I’m not sure what exactly. Mark was at the table and suddenly left the arena. After several minutes, as he was not coming back, the referre, John Pellew, spoke to Sunny who also left the arena. Maybe Sunny was asked to check on Mark? Again, I’m not sure. Anyway, Sunny came back after a couple of minutes… alone. Then both he and the ref left the arena together. After several more minutes, they all came back and play resumed. The interruption, that lasted about 13 minutes, appeared to have broken Sunny’s concentration despite the fact that he won the frame in progress. Mark won the last two easily with breaks of 73 and 72.
Jak Jones came from 4-1 down to beat Alex Ursenbacher by 5-4. After Lukas Kleckers and Simon Lichtenberg defeats, Alex was probably the closest thing to a “local player” in the eyes of the German fans, but he neither will be playing in Berlin.
Remarkable fact of the day: frame 4 in the Clarke v Bond match lasted 1h 39’40” …
4 thoughts on “More surprises at the 2022 German Masters Qualifiers”
Arnie Ursenbacher was in control of that match at 4-1, but went for a red along the cushion, essentially to win the match. He chose to stun it, rather than just drop it in, and the match turned completely.
Fan’s break to win the match was superb, especially developing the last red. It’s agonising that his best performances so far as a professional have come so late. Lyu Haotian beat Ali Carter last week, and so clearly felt confident that he could repeat it.
Noppon Saengkham played very well. At his best he’s a rock-solid technical player. I don’t know if he practices 15 hours per day, but he clearly puts the work in! I don’t expect the Thai players to get relegated from the tour, but these covid times have been tough for them and other overseas players. We tend not to hear much about the issues facing them.
Ding Junhui returns today after 6 months. Liu Song wrote an article about Ding’s ranking situation, which makes depressing reading (the article is aimed at his Chinese fans). The situation is amplified by the ‘ranking points’ available from the WGP, which strongly favours players who start the season well. Nevertheless, Ding can be encouraged by good performances from some of the other Chinese players this week, although Zhang Anda, Fan and Lyu are from a rival academy.
It’s interesting to read about Liu Song. For many years he was at The Grove, managed by Django Fung. Django told me that Liu was a very hard worker, and absolutely fantastic in practice. However in match situation he often felt unable to deliver the cue. Django thought that he needed a good therapist – with good understanding and experience of what it takes to be a top sportsperson – to help him, but was unable to find one in the UK because Liu’s command of English was basic, and he found no adequate therapist able to speak Chinese to the required level. Is Liu now playing competively in China? If so is he able to perform?
No, he doesn’t play competitively anymore, but he is a professional coach in Tianjin and works as a snooker journalist. His wechat blog is updated most days.
Thank you Lewis. Yes that makes sense.
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