The Chinese “contigent” extended its perfect record in the 2022 British Open qualifiers yesterday. Nine out of nine…
Ding Keeps China’s Clean Sweep Going
Ding Junhui scored a 4-2 victory over Oliver Lines in the qualifying round of the Cazoo British Open, a result which means that all nine Chinese players in action over the first two days in Wigan have won their matches.
Ding is looking to get back to his best this season following a dip in form in recent years – the most recent of his 14 ranking titles came in 2019. And the 35-year-old started strongly with a fine performance against Lines, making breaks of 51, 51, 81 and 128. He goes into the random draw for the last 64 of the world ranking event, with the final stages in Milton Keynes running from September 26 to October 2.
So far, Chinese players have a perfect record in the qualifying round as Ding joins Lyu Haotian, Tian Pengfei, Lu Ning, Xu Si, Chen Zifan, Zhang Anda, Li Hang and Zhao Jianbo in reaching the second round.
Lu came through a fierce battle against Matthew Selt by a 4-3 scoreline. Selt led 2-1 and 3-2, making a 122 in frame three, but couldn’t take his chances in the decider. He missed the final blue to a centre pocket when trailing by nine points, and Lu slotted the blue into a baulk corner for victory.
Ian Burns made a 129 in a 4-1 defeat of Adam Duffy.
Once again, so much is missing from this report…
Tien Pengfei beat Sam Craigie by 4-2 in a high-scoring match: Sam took the first frame with a 54. After that Tian had a break over 60 in every of the remaining frames: 73, 73, 66, 61, 69 and the 61 in frame 5 wasn’t enough, as Sam stole that one!
The Lu v Selt decider was epic! It was re-racked after about 37 minutes of play. It was incredibly tense and all sorts happened on the table, the balls ran very awkward and none of the players got much luck in their endeavours. Eventually, Lu took it on the final pink. Up to the decider, the match had been a close and high scoring affair: each player had won 3 frames and scored three big breaks: 65, 122 and 53 by Selt, 68, 97 and 79 by Lu. It was all very entertaining to watch.
Lyu Haotian was also in high scoring mode: he demolished Mark King aided by breaks of 77, 58, 74 and 53 in a fast paced match.
There were also 6 breaks over 50 in the six frames Ding and Oli Lines played. Ding lead by 2- 0 only for Oli to peg him back at 2-2. In recent years, Ding has often let his head drop when this happened, and I wondered how he would react this time. The answer is … with breaks of 81 and 128! Oli didn’t score a point in the last two frames.
I didn’t watch much of the late afternoon/early evening session so can’t comment. Something extraordinary happened in the Grace v O’Neill match though: in frame 3 O’Neill failed 14-times to get out of a snooker and gave 61 points away in the process. After the 14th miss he needed a snooker, so no miss was called. I may be wrong but I believe this is a new record. The previous record – as far as I know – was 12 misses and was jointly held by John Higgins and Mark King.
The last match to finish, at nearly one a clock this morning (UK time) saw Lukas Kleckers prevail over Allan Taylor by 4-3. Lukas had two centuries: 110 in frame 3 and 111 in the decider. All the other frames were incredibly scrappy, low scoring and slow going.
Today sees the return of Liang Wenbo. Dean youg, for sure will get a lot of support… In their latest podcast Nick Metcalfe and Phil Haigh invited Jason Ferguson, the WPBSA chairman. Amongst many very interesting topics they cover, Jason explains why the governing body couldn’t hand Liang a tougher punishment although he dearly wish they could. Basically, it’s for the reasons I exposed at the time in this post.
My picks today are Yuan SiJun v Anton Kazakov and Theppy v Martin Gould. The latter may not last long but then, I’m sure, we will have the Rod Lawler v John Astley match to fall back on 😉 …