The 2022 Turkish Masters – Day 2 in Antalya

There was no big surprise on the second day of the 2022 Turkish Masters, there were some good results though for Iulian Boiko, Ding Junhui, Thepchaiya Un-nooh and Yuan Sijun.

Here are the reports by WST:

Morning and afternoon session

Boiko: Pride Keeps Me Going

Iulian Boiko scored an impressive 5-4 win over Simon Blackwell in the first round of the Nirvana Turkish Masters and admitted that he is spurred on by his pride in representing Ukraine on the World Snooker Tour.

During last week’s BetVictor Welsh Open Boiko spoke to a wide range of media including GMTV and described his emotions. His parents and brothers have successfully escaped Ukraine and are now in Poland, but he still has members of his team and many friends in his home city of Kyiv as the conflict with Russia continues.

After today’s victory, 16-year-old Boiko said: “The Ukrainian nation motivates me to play better and to fight because of what people are going through. I hope I make them a little bit happier by winning. I am doing it for them, they are my inspiration.  I am really motivated and really proud to be Ukrainian. I hope we will get through these difficult times.

You can’t just ignore the news but then it’s hard to focus on snooker.  It’s really terrible, I can’t put it aside when people are dying. Civilians and people I know are in danger. I wish it would stop. I wish I could help and the only thing that keeps me playing is to play my game and represent Ukraine with pride.

Boiko arrived in Turkey last weekend and has been comforted by the many kind words and messages he has from others on the tour. He added: “All of the players, the staff, the referees – everyone is really supportive and understanding and I really appreciate that. I love the snooker family, everyone is great.”

Despite making just one break over 50 today, Boiko edged his way through to the last 64 and a match with Andrew Higginson. He said: The match today was scrappy with lots of mistakes but I’m very happy to get the win. I really enjoyed the match and the chance to be part of this tournament, it’s a nice atmosphere. I hope in the next round I will improve my game. My game is only about 30 to 40 per cent of what I can show but I am gaining more experience.”

Ding Junhui, who has slipped to 32nd in the world rankings, earned a much-needed win by coming from 4-1 down to beat Robert Milkins 5-4. China’s Ding knocked in breaks of 131, 105, 81 and 55 in the last four frames as he set up a match with Kyren Wilson, who beat Tian Pengfei 5-1 with a top break of 98.

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei scored a 5-0 victory over Turkish wild card Enes Bakirci with a top run of 75. “I would love to see Turkish players on the main tour,” said BetVictor Shoot Out champion Vafaei. “There are so many fans in Turkey and it’s great to see our sport getting bigger here. There are lots of Iranians in Turkey who have come from Istanbul to watch me play here.

Winning the Shoot Out has not changed me. Life goes on, you have to stay humble and try to be a people’s champion. Even if I win 100 tournaments I will be the same with the fans.

Yan Bingtao top scored with 80 in a 5-2 win over Joe O’Connor. Vafaei and Yan are among those battling for a place in the top eight of the one-year ranking list and a place in the Cazoo Tour Championship, and this is the penultimate counting event so every result is crucial.

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh came from 3-0 down to beat Stephen Maguire 5-4, winning a tense deciding frame by laying a snooker on the last red and clearing from the chance that followed.

Luca Brecel, celebrating his 27th birthday today, beat Stuart Carrington 5-1 with a top break of 79, while Zhou Yuelong came from 4-2 down to edge out BetVictor European Masters champion Fan Zhengyi 5-4. Oliver Lines recovered a 50-0 deficit in the decider against Xiao Guodong to clinch victory with a superb 69 clearance.

The way Theppy won this match surprised me in a good way: he actually showed not just great battling qualities, he actually does have a good saftey game when he puts his mind into it!

Hossein Vafaei had it easy against his young wildcard opponent. There were cooments on twitter saying thatthe guy shouldn’t be there, that a minimal standard should be required. I will only say this: Enes Bakirci had probably never played under professional conditions, on a star table, on TV, in front of a big crowd and with the weight of expectations of the home crowd on his shoulders. He probably can play much better than what he showed.

It’s a very useful win for Ding although the fact that he found himself 4-1 down is worrying given his opponent’s previous adventure …

Evening session

Trump Bounces Back From Final Defeat

Despite feeling “drained” having travelled over 2,000 miles since losing in the BetVictor Welsh Open final on Sunday, Judd Trump got his Nirvana Turkish Masters campaign up and running with a 5-0 thumping of Michael Georgiou.

Trump went down 9-5 to Joe Perry in Wales two days ago, and defeat was tough to take as it would have ended a year-long drought without a ranking title, while also putting him top of the BetVictor Series rankings and into the top eight on the one-year list.

Trump and Georgiou drew the biggest crowd of the week so far at the Nirvana Cosmopolitan Hotel

Shrugging off that disappointment, Trump was determined to get back to the baize and has arrived in Antalya looking for another title challenge. He rolled in breaks of 110, 61 and 75 in a convincing display against Georgiou.

I have been really tired for the last two days, it’s draining when you reach a final, to keep the momentum going,” said world number three Trump, who meets Chris Wakelin in the last 64 on Wednesday. “I felt flat out there today and I probably will do for the first few rounds. Hopefully I can play my way into the tournament. It’s great to come to new places and nice to be able to forget about Sunday and start a new tournament.

I expected Joe to play well on Sunday because he had been the best player of the tournament, I just felt I should have got more out of myself. I had a chance to go 5-3 up and missed the boat. He relaxed in the evening session and played a lot better than I did. He thoroughly deserved it.

Looking ahead to his match with Wakelin, Trump added: “I have had some good games with Chris, he enjoys the limelight and the big occasions. He has proved he can beat the top players.

Shaun Murphy’s 5-0 success was every bit as emphatic as Trump’s as he beat Lyu Haotian in just 63 minutes with top runs of 64, 59 and 58. Last year’s Crucible finalist Murphy, who is yet to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event this season, is into the last 32 to meet Jimmy Robertson, who came from 2-0 down to beat Cao Yupeng 5-2 with a top break of 81.

Michael Georgiou looked utterly disgusted with himself out there and understandably so. He could easily have gone 2-1 up, instead found himself 3-0 down due to a combination of surprising mistakes and inadequate shot choices. From then on it was one way traffic.

The tournament so far has been marred by various “incidents”. The two top seeds withdrew before it started, the live scores system was off due to technical issues for most of the day yesterday … and Robert Milkins hit the news for all the wrong reasons:

Milkins apologises after drinking session ends in hospital at Turkish Masters

Phil Haigh – Tuesday 8 Mar 2022

Betway UK Championship 2016 - Day 8
Robert Milkins had a night to forget, literally (Picture: Getty Images)

Robert Milkins has apologised to snooker bosses after a birthday drinking session saw him cause a scene at the Turkish Masters opening ceremony before ending up in hospital.

The 46-year-old went too far on the birthday booze on Sunday, and then publicly argued with guests at the fancy bash on the eve of the tournament in Antalya.

The Milkman then took a tumble in the toilets, injuring his face and feeling like he broke his ribs, before an exchange with Jason Ferguson, the WPBSA chairman.

Milkins ended up in hospital, having his stomach pumped, but was back on his feet on Tuesday to play his last 64 match against Ding Junhui.

The contest did nothing to improve his mood, taking a 4-1 lead before losing 5-4 to the Chinese icon.

Explaining the incident on Sunday, or at least what he can remember of it, Milkins told The Sun: ‘I drank far too much, and something happened. I genuinely don’t know exactly what and cannot remember details – I was in a state where I didn’t know where I was.

It was my birthday and I had been drinking for a long time but that is no excuse and I know that.

I don’t remember what happened with the hotel guests or Jason Ferguson – none of it. I can only apologise to any guests I offended that night. I wouldn’t have known who it was. And I have apologised to the organisers and the hotel. It is the first time snooker has come to Turkey and my behaviour was totally out of order.

When I got to the toilet I lost my legs and think I hit my chin on the sink or the ground, cutting it open. I was almost knocked out, and I’m pretty sure I have broken ribs. If I had my stomach pumped I don’t remember that either.

I can understand why people are embarrassed and concerned and I will have to take whatever punishment I receive. It won’t be happening again.’

Milkins provided some more detail in response to the story on Twitter, saying he had only been drinking for under three hours, but it hit him hard.

Weren’t a marathon session pal, only been drinking 2 1/2 hours then all of a sudden was out of it!’ Milkins tweeted.

He added: ‘Not as bad as it’s made to sound pal nobody got hurt apart from myself, and obviously upset a few which I deeply regret. I said sorry to all the Turkish people and World Snooker and they’ve all been great with me!

Milkins may now face punishment for the incident, with it being reported to the WPBSA disciplinary committee.

I’m a mainland European and there is nothing like the UK drinking culture neither in my home country nor here in Greece where I’m staying now. I like a glass of wine, or two but I really can’t undertand the appeal of getting drunk (usually followed by making a fool of oneself before being sick and hungover for the next couple of days). I really can’t see the fun of it.

On top of that, this is the first time snooker goes to Turkey, a country where the majority of citizens are Muslims, and Islam forbids alcohol consumption. I’m not religious, not at all, and I don’t condone Islam’s stance on many things, notably its stance on women rights and condition, but when you are a guest in a foreign country, it’s basic courtesy to respect its people and customs (within reason of course).

That said, Robert is not a bad guy at all, far from it, and I’m certain that he really is deeply sorry and embarrassed about the whole incident.

6 thoughts on “The 2022 Turkish Masters – Day 2 in Antalya

  1. Such a weird story about Milkins. What kind if people did he drink with that nobody stopped him that he went too far?

    • I actually wonder more about WHAT he drank. Rob isn’t a kid and used to drink very heavily. He was clearly very surprised that it hit him so hard. Beers in the UK are quite light, as compared to some of the stuff we have on the continent. I have seen a few caught out of guard during the PTC times in Belgium. And if Rob mixed it up with trying some of the local stuff – raki is the national Turkish drink, it’s 45% alcohol, still quite strong even mixed with water but you don’t understand it – without eating at the same time … well that was always a recipe for disaster.

  2. Four of the first six matches on table 1 featured amateurs. Trump’s, Higgins’, Vafaei’s, and Un-Nooh’s matches. I know this happens time to time in events like the Home Nations, but for a new tournament with a decent prize fund, it’s a bit silly.

    • 1. they need to put the top players on the main table(s). 2. They want to keep them in the tournament for longer I suppose

      • I understand the rankings issue (that they don’t always stick to anyway, like that time this season they featured Ding on table 1 over higher ranked Kyren Wilson), but I’m pretty sure there were higher ranked players playing when Vafaei and Un-Nooh were playing, but they were against the local wildcards, which both predictably ended 5-0.

        I guess it doesn’t seem as bad during the Home Nations with the Bo7s, when there’s 5/6 matches on table 1 each day at the start.

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