The 2021 Scottish Open – The Held-over Matches

The 2021 Scottish Open started yesterday with the held-over last 128 matches.

I have always been of the opinion that there should be a short break after the UK Championship. It’s a long tournament and an important one ranking-wise, as the prize money is huge. The players really give it their best, and those who reached the latter stages are often left exhausted, mentally and emotionally.  Their motivation is in low supply. That was there for all to see yesterday as we had a string of upsets and near upsets.

Barry Hawkins, Jack Lisowski, Mark Allen and Stuart Bingham all lost their opening match. Zhao Xintong had not qualified, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson withdrew. So, after just one round, only nine of the top 16 members are still in the draw.

Barry Hawkins was whitewashed by Pang Junxu and, frankly, he didn’t look well at all, he looked exhausted. Not taking anything away from Pang’s performance here: he fully deserved the win.

Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy had to come back from the brink as well. Stephen was 3-0 down to Yan Sijun and Shaun found himself 3-1 to On Yee Ng. Alan McManus was in the studio after the match reflecting on what happened to Yuan.

On Yee is clearly improving rapidly and this was her assessment of her performance yesterday:


Ding also is out of the tournament, losing from 3-2 up to Zhang Anda. He’s now down to number 28 in the World… provisionally. What the future has in store for him is anyone’s guess.

Those are the reports by WST:

Morning and afternoon session

Selby Extends Winning Streak

Defending champion Mark Selby maintained his undefeated record in the BetVictor Scottish Open, beating Sean Maddocks 4-1 at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.

World number one Selby entered the Scottish Open for the first time in 2019, when he claimed a maiden title in the event after a 9-6 win over Jack Lisowski in the final. He defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-3 in last year’s title match to pick up the Stephen Hendry Trophy for a second time. Selby has now won all 15 of his Scottish Open ties.

The Jester from Leicester has had a tricky start to the current campaign and is yet to go beyond the last 16 of a ranking event. That is despite having ended last season on an ultimate high by winning his fourth World Championship title.

Selby has work to do to guarantee his place in next week’s Cazoo World Grand Prix. Only the top 32 players on this season’s one-year list will qualify. He currently sits in 30th position, with the seeding cut off to come at the end of this event.

Selby was in fine break building form this afternoon, composing breaks of 66, 57,100, 135 and 51 to secure the 4-1 win. He now faces Oliver Lines in the second round.

Selby said: “Whoever wins this event will set some records. Winning the Scottish Open in Wales, I don’t think that will ever be done again. We’ve been to Llandudno a few times in recent years and it is a really nice place. I am looking forward to hopefully having a good run.

Ronnie O’Sullivan secured his second round spot with an entertaining 4-2 defeat of Dominic Dale.

The Rocket is seeking his first silverware since winning a sixth Crucible crown at the 2020 World Championship. He’s been runner-up in his last five ranking final appearances.

The match was finely poised at 2-2, when Dale led the fifth frame 56-0. However, O’Sullivan fired in an extraordinary clearance of 77 to edge ahead. He then hammered home his advantage with a break of 132 to seal the win. Next up O’Sullivan faces Michael Georgiou.

Stephen Maguire battled back from 3-0 down to beat Pang Junxu 4-3, while Michael Holt defeated Scottish amateur Liam Graham 4-3.

Evening session

Murphy Survives On Yee Scare

Shaun Murphy edged past three-time women’s World Champion Ng On Yee 4-3 to reach the second round of the BetVictor Scottish Open and keep his hopes of qualification for the Cazoo World Grand Prix alive.

Murphy reached the World Championship final back in May, when he was defeated 18-15 by Mark Selby in a thrilling contest at the Crucible. However, he has struggled to capture his best form this term.

The Magician has suffered from back problems in recent weeks and currently lies 37th on the one-year list. He needs to force his way into the top 32 to qualify for next week’s World Grand Prix, with only this event left before the seeding cut off.

Hong Kong’s On Yee is competing with a tour card on the professional circuit for the first time this season. Alongside Reanne Evans she earned her place by being in the top two ranked players on the women’s tour.

On Yee was on the verge of securing a historic win this evening when she led 3-1 and would have become the first female player to defeat an opponent from the world’s top 10 in a ranking event if she could have got over the line.

Despite this, it was 2005 World Champion Murphy who turned the match on its head. After taking two on the bounce, he fired in a superb break of 130 in the decider to clinch victory. Murphy now faces Li Hang in round two.

Murphy said: “The World Grand Prix is on the line. A couple of seasons ago I was number two on the one-year list and not worrying about things like that. This season has been hard work. I am carrying a very big injury, which is costing me practice time. I am in pain on every shot and anyone with chronic pain will tell you it costs your sense of mind.

It is important that we make the point that the World Snooker Tour isn’t a men’s tour, it is a professional tour and On Yee and Reanne have earned their right to be on it as much as anyone else. It is great for diversity and great for the expansion of the game around the world.”

World number two Judd Trump averaged just 15.9 seconds a shot on his way to a blistering 4-0 defeat of Robert Milkins.

Trump, who won the Champion of Champions earlier this season, composed breaks of 100, 78 and 85 during this evening’s victory. Afterwards he admitted he made a conscious effort to speed up throughout the match. He plays Craig Steadman in round two.

Trump said: “I felt like I just needed to play a little bit quicker. I think I’ve been bogging myself down for most of the season. Even though I’ve won a tournament, I am still not at my fluent best. I made a conscious decision in this one to be more relaxed and enjoy it.

John Higgins gained his passage through with a 4-1 defeat of Alfie Burden. He now faces Noppon Saengkham up next.

Kyren Wilson defeated Andy Hicks 4-0, while Stuart Bingham succumbed to a surprise 4-1 loss at the hands of Andrew Higginson.

You will find more about Ronnie’s win here

3 thoughts on “The 2021 Scottish Open – The Held-over Matches

  1. I am in Llandudno now and the weather is awful! And yes, there is a sense that many players (and fans) seem jaded by playing in, or watching, the UK Championship.

    Shaun Murphy was very lucky. It’s partly his own fault – his comments last week put him under enormous pressure, with almost everyone wanting Ng On Yee to win. But it does seem that she isn’t capable of potting the winning balls against anybody. But if Murphy has an injury, surely he should rest? Playing (and travelling) could jeopardise his career.

    Zhang Anda actually played very well to win. I don’t indulge in Ding-bashing, for reasons I’ve talked about before. Mark Williams didn’t qualify for the WC in 2017, Ronnie once took a whole season off, Neil Robertson dropped out of the top-16,… These are unprecedented times, and Ding hasn’t been the only casualty. He’s actually in a nice position that he isn’t forced to stay in England for 9-month stints; others don’t have that luxury. Let him do what he wants. He’s proved us all wrong before, we’d be foolish to repeat that mistake when we don’t need to. I always think it’s more constructive to talk about players who are on the up.

    Stephen Maguire beat Yuan Sijun, not Pang Junxu. If people are puzzled by Yuan’s collapse, perhaps they could just ask him? He had a bad lockdown, and wasn’t able to play for much of 2020. Another player that we shouldn’t write off until covid fallout is behind us. There will be players who take 3 years to regain their level, if they ever do.

    • I’m not “bashing” Ding, I’m worried/concerned about the path his career has taken. He’s a beautiful player and I really like to watch him. I’m worried because the “decline” has started well before the covid. Since he won the 2017 World Open, early in the 2017/18 season, his results have been very inconsistent, with a lot of early exits. His only win came at the 2019 UK Championship, and that propelled him up the rankings again because it has a huge prize money. That win came shortly after he had signed with the Grove. In the previous season and a half his best result in a ranking event had been a QF at the Germam Masters. You could say that the issues started with the passing of his mother in 2017. He also became a father in 2018. I would totally understand that he would want to put his family life first. Even if he never won the World Championship, he has nothing to prove in my eyes. If he has the opportunity to build a happy career in snooker in China or with China/CBSA, in any capacity, why wouldn’t he? I’m just trying to understand what is happening to him and what he wants for himself and his family. I wish him well.
      I’m also not bashing Yuan, (and I don’t understand your Maguire related comment) . I know that he had a bad lockdown, you wrote about it before. I know that rebuilding his game and his confidence is likely to take time, no matter his talent. Will he be given that time? Will he get the support he needs? That’s what worries me.
      On an other topic, I watched the Selby v Maddockx match. The young lad looks terribly unhappy. I hope that he has the right people around him.

      • There was a mistake in the WST report. My point about Yuan Sijun is that some commentators such as McManus and Lines have questioned what happened to him. Why speculate when he can just be asked?

        All of the overseas players’ results, form and mood need to be judged against the backdrop of covid. They need to be given leeway.

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