2022 European Masters(2) – Day 4 – Moving Day

Two rounds were played yesterday in Fürth, and this time there was a massive crowd to watch the action. Here are the reports by WST:

Last 16 round

Trump Edges Out Amateur Ajaib

World number two Judd Trump needed a snooker in the final frame to edge out plucky amateur Farakh Ajaib 5-4 at the BetVictor European Masters in Fürth.

Having rallied from 4-2 down, Ajaib battled back to force a deciding frame. He appeared to have got over the line when he left Trump requiring a snooker on the blue. However, he cruelly went in off when escaping a snooker and 2019 World Champion Trump cleared the remaining three balls, including a difficult black along the top cushion, to secure his place in the quarter-finals.

Defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow for Pakistan’s Ajaib. However, he can reflect on a tremendous run which has seen him defeat the likes of Mark Allen in qualifying and Marco Fu here at the Stadthalle.

Trump keeps his hopes alive of returning to the top of the world rankings. He will depose World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan from the world number one position if he reaches the final. Next up the Ace in the Pack faces Barry Hawkins, who whitewashed Robert Milkins 5-0.

It was a bit of a miracle really. He was unlucky to go in off on the blue. It was still a tricky black under pressure down the rail, so I am happy with that,” said 23-time ranking event winner Trump.

Normally I wouldn’t have a lot of empathy for my opponent, but I knew he outplayed me there. He scored heavier and his long potting was better. Even though I’d have been really disappointed to have lost, it was one of those rare occasions that I got out of jail there.

Ali Carter secured his quarter-final spot with a hard fought 5-4 win over David Grace. He now faces Chinese 18-year-old Wu Yize in the last eight, after he beat Ryan Day 5-2.

Kyren Wilson earned his quarter-final berth with a 5-3 defeat of 2005 Crucible king Shaun Murphy. He faces Si Jiahui, who battled past Daniel Wells 5-4.

Mark Williams and Jamie Jones will face in an all-Welsh quarter-final. Williams demolished Zhou Yuelong 5-0, while Jones defeated Yan Bingtao 5-3.

Wu Yize, 18 years old, and Si Jiahui, 20 years old, both reached the QF stage of a ranking event for the first time. Wu had beaten Luca Brecel (ranked 12th) and Ryan Day (ranked 28th) to get that far. Si had beaten Anthony McGill (ranked 16th) and Xiao Guodong (ranked 36).

The Si Jiahui v Daniel Wells match was a very hard fougth one that was still in progress when the evening session started. Si must have felt quite tired going into his QF match. He had very little time to rest a bit and maybe eat something.

Ajaib was horribly unlucky in the deciding frame against Judd Trump. Neal Fould, commentating on Judd’s QF match, said at the start of it that Judd would know  that “he had no right to win that match.”


Rapid Williams Into Semis

Mark Williams dispatched two opponents in quick-fire fashion on day four of the BetVictor European Masters in Fürth, clinching his place in the semi-finals with a 5-1 demolition of fellow Welshman Jamie Jones.

Earlier in the day he had required just one hour and 14 minutes to whitewash China’s Zhou Yuelong 5-0. His defeat of Jones took fractionally longer, lasting one hour and 15 minutes.

Williams had already made an encouraging start to the current campaign, having previously reached the second phase of the recent BetVictor Championship League. The three-time World Champion won his 24th ranking title last season at the British Open and was narrowly denied a place in the Crucible final, when he was pipped 17-16 by Judd Trump in the semi-finals.

World number seven Williams produced an inspired display this evening to sweep aside Jones. He fired in breaks of 103, 123, 61, 61 and 50 to secure the 5-1 rout. He faces Barry Hawkins in the last four tomorrow evening.

I played quite well there and in the game earlier on. I made a few centuries, a few single visit frames and I can’t ask for much more than that,” said 47-year-old Williams.

This is the third time my cue has been out of the case since last season. I’ve played more pool than snooker. I’m going to play a lot more pool. I’ve applied for a wildcard to get on the Ultimate Pool Tour and if I can, I will play in a few of those events.

World number 12 Hawkins earned his last four spot with a superb 5-3 defeat of 2019 World Champion Trump.

It is a third consecutive victory for Hawkins against Trump, having also defeated him at the 2021 Tour Championship and the 2022 Masters.

The pair shared the opening four frames this evening to head into the mid-session interval all-square at 2-2. When play resumed Trump took the fifth to hit the front at 3-2. However, from there Hawkins produced a superb blitz for the line. Breaks of 129, 110 and 92 saw him take three on the bounce and storm to victory.

Hawkins said: “Any time you beat Judd it is a good occasion and good for the confidence. He is a great player. I thought I’d missed an opportunity coming out 2-2 at the interval, as I could see he was struggling. I’m really pleased how I bounced back from 3-2 down. I felt good in the end.

It was a brilliant atmosphere. Whenever we come out to Germany they come out in their droves to support the snooker. It is a fantastic atmosphere to play in and it gets you up for the match.”

Ali Carter defeated Chinese teenager Wu Yize 5-3 to reach the last four. Carter is seeking a first ranking crown since the 2016 World Open. He will face fellow four-time ranking event winner Kyren Wilson in the semis. World number eight Wilson beat Si Jiahui 5-2.

Apparently, Willo is adopting the same philosophy as Ronnie. After 30 years+ in the job  and having won every tittle that counts, you have to find ways to continue to enjoy it if you want to extend your career and the best way to do that is to ease the pressure by finding interests and activities outside your main job. That’s what they do and it obviously works for them

Judd will not “depose” Ronnie and regain the number 1 spot this week. He hasn’t actually played well enough all week to win the title. Commentators, especially Philip Studd, always come up with the fact that Judd has won 15 titles since the 2018 Northern Ireland Open, which is true and truly remarkable, but only three of those, and none a major, have come during the last 20 months. He isn’t the best player in the World at the moment, and hasn’t been for some time now. This is not slagging off Judd: nobody can sustain the level he had in 2018/19/20 over several years. He’s human. Some will tell me that Hendry did it, and that’s true, but it was a different era and the opposition was nowhere near what it is now. We should not forget that when Hendry won his 6th World title, Ronnie and John Higgins were only 20, Mark Williams 21. At that age, they were very good, yes, but not quite the finished article yet.

The silver lining for Judd is that he can “freely” celebrate his 33th birthday today, without restrictions or time constraints …

Happy bitrthday Judd!



6 thoughts on “2022 European Masters(2) – Day 4 – Moving Day

  1. The commentators mention the “2018 Northern Ireland Open” like a magic turning point for Judd, while never mentioning his laser eye surgery in 2017.

    • Totally agree! The laser eye surgery barely gets mentioned yet it’s blatantly obvious how much it’s helped him!

      I’ve mentioned it on here before and Monique gave me her own views – let’s just say she doesn’t agree that it’s had any effect.

      I do believe you can get laser eye surgery repeated 5-10 years after the initial treatment, so I’m expecting Judd to get a top up next year and win everything for another 18 months then.

      (Also means massive respect for Judd actually winning anything at all before he had surgery!)

      • The reason I answered the way I did is because I had laser surgery myself. Actually, the extreme sharpness you experience at the start fades away after a couple of years.We might see the effects of that already. But the inconveniences don’t. And you may possibly have one more surgery, IF your eyes can take it and if your initial myopia wasn’t too strong. But every surgery makes the eyes more fragile…

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