Success For Chinese Duo
Yuan Sijun and Lyu Haotian became the fourth and fifth Chinese players to reach the winners’ week of BetVictor Championship League Snooker, at the Morningside Arena, Leicester.
Yuan, ranked 80th in the world, won all three of his matches without dropping a frame to book his spot in winners’ week. He opened his season with a 3-0 victory over countryman Lei Peifan, with a top break of 88. Another swift 3-0 victory followed, this time against 1997 world champion Ken Doherty, making breaks of 95 and 50.
The group decider came against top seed Barry Hawkins, with Yuan needing just a point against the Hawk, and he eased to another 3-0 success.
Lyu remained unbeaten in Group 30, dropping just three frames all day as he joined compatriot Yuan in reaching winners’ week.
World number 45 Lyu opened with a 2-2 draw against Fraser Patrick, with the Scot knocking in a century break of 101 in the first frame. Lyu bounced back immediately with a 3-1 win over bottom seed Hayden Pinhey, breaks of 67 and 42 enough to secure victory.
The group came down to the final match of the day, between Lyu and 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott. The young Chinese star found another gear, cruising to a 3-0 victory and making a group high break of 135. The whitewash defeat also sent Dott to the bottom of the group despite being in contention for winners’ week qualification.
And here is the table:
The table above is incorrect. Dott should be third and Pinhey fourth because Dott won their match as Lewis observed in comments. I wrote to matchroom about it, and although I got no answer so far, the table has been corrected.
I was very happy to see Yuan Sijun and Lyu Haotian playing well again. Lyu has been around for along time but he’s only young. His first years on the tour were traumatic. I do hope that he can finally play to his true potential. Yuan Sijun seems to have rediscovered his technique as well.
None of them was interviewed by Matchroom apparently.
Also, Phil Yates’ commentary truly irritated me at time. For example, during the Lei Peifan v Doherty match, Lei was 1-0 up and at the table in a break, but all Phil was talking about was Ken Doherty and the 1997 Crucible final. I respect Phil for his immense knowledge of the game and its history, but that was disrespectful to Lei.
We had 14 Groups played so far and 5 were won by young Chinese players. That’s more than one in 3 (35,7%). There are 24 Chinese players on tour – including Liang Wenbo who is currently suspended. That’s less than one in 5 (18,3%). This means that their “win rate” in this comp so far is about double than what you would statiscally expect. Of course, the “sample” here is too small to be really significant, but it’s an indication that there is quality out there and that they probably prepared better for this tournament than most.
The action continues on Thursday with four-time world champion Mark Selby, James Cahill, Ben Woollaston and Zhang Jiankang in Group 3, and Joe Perry, Andrew Higginson, Elliot Slessor, and Lukas Kleckers in Group 23.
Mark Selby’s preparation involved watching tennis, Center Court in at Wimbledon yesterday afternoon… 😉