Round 3 at the 2022 British Open starts this evening and we have lost quite a few of the top players already. You can follow all the results on snooker.org.
Four of the top 16 went out in round 1 (held-over matches): Ronnie, Shaun Murphy, Luca Brecel and Hossein Vafaei.
Here you will find more about Ronnie’s defeat to his Nemesis, Alexander Ursenbacher (again!).
Shaun Murphy lost in the most dramatic fashion: he was playing Gary Wilson – not an easy first round opponent – and had potted the last black in the deciding frame, only to see the white disappear in a middle pocket. That’s hard to take. Gary Wilson could hardly believe what he had just seen and here is his reaction as reported by WST:
World number 33 Wilson, who lost to Mark Williams in the final of this event last year, said: “I was the most surprised out of anybody, because I was sitting in my chair thinking I had lost. Shaun’s a lovely bloke and took it in great spirits. I’ve never actually won a game at this venue, and that was in my mind as he was he was clearing and up. Then all of a sudden, something stupid like that happens. I’m not sure whether he had a kick or just hit it a bit thick.
“I’m playing with a new cue and it didn’t feel great, it just felt heavy. I missed so many easy balls and played so many bad safeties, I just didn’t feel comfortable at all. I’m always hard on myself but I do try to look at positives as well.”
Mark Williams, the defending champion, had a rather easy win against young Andres Petrov from Estonia. H.E. Mr Viljar Lubi, the Ambassador of Estonia to the United Kingdom came to watch the match and support Andres. It’s a nice gesture and a lovely recognition of the sport of snooker, but I’m not sure it helped Andres who probably was already under a lot of pressure playing the defending champion on the main table.
Round 2 proved to be a stumbling block for many of the top seeds: we lost Anthony Mc Gill, David Gilbert, Stuart Bingham, Zhou Yuelong, John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Joe Perry and Mark Williams.
Mark Williams, the defending champion was beaten by 4-1 by Ben Woollaston. Mark had been on a cruise just before this tournament.
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry had little sympathy for Mark Williams after the Welshman was unceremoniously knocked out of the British Open by world No. 44 Ben Woollaston.
Speaking on ITV Sport, Hendry said: “He [Williams] said after his first match he’s hardly been practising.
“YOU CAN’T WING IT.
“I know he won this tournament last year getting through matches but you’ve got to put the work in and he hasn’t done. I’m sure he’ll put the work in before the next big event.
“He was poor tonight.
Ben himself didn’t play fantastically well and, in general has not been playing great for quite some time. The same Eurosport article “explains” why …
Woollaston has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome recently, and afterwards he spoke more about his ongoing battle to manage the condition.
“It has got better recently so I am trying to be positive,” the 35-year-old said.
“On the good days I feel 60 or 70% of my usual self, but then I have days where I just completely crash.
“I can only practise for one or two hours a day and it’s hard to look after my kids when I’m at home. [Wife] Tatiana has been a massive support but it has been hard for her as well.
“Some people never recover from this kind of illness but I am hopeful because in the last few months I have been better.
“I am doing my best in matches and I have managed to win a few this season. I have no expectations. Tonight’s win was one of my best in recent seasons and the short matches suit me better.”
I’m wishing Ben the best possible for the future.
John Higgins was beaten by Yuan SiJun in a deciding frame. He missed match ball and Yuan cleared to win. John was really aggrieved as reported by WST in this report:
‘Unforgiveable’ Defeat For Higgins
It was a bittersweet day for John Higgins at the Cazoo British Open as he became the second player in snooker history to reach the landmark of 900 career centuries, but suffered a cruel 4-3 defeat against Yuan Sijun.
Higgins led 64-8 in the deciding frame but missed match-ball red to a top corner and that proved a crucial error as China’s Yuan made 31 then played safe, before clearing the colours to snatch victory 66-64.
Livid Higgins was barely consoled by the fact that he has become with only player other than Ronnie O’Sullivan to cross the 900 mark. “It is a milestone but I would have much preferred it to have happened in a win,” said the Scot. “It is unforgivable how you can’t close it out like that in the last frame – just unforgivable. You can add this to the list of so many times when I have collapsed near the finishing line. It only gets worse as you get older.”
Yuan took the opening frame, then in the second Higgins was on course for a 147 until he missed the ninth black on 65, and his opponent cleared with 72 for 2-0. World number five Higgins took the next three, making a 132 in frame five. But Yuan took the next with a 72 and won the dramatic decider book his place in tonight’s third round draw.
Performance of the day came from Cazoo UK Champion Zhao Xintong as he compiled runs of 112, 128, 101 and 52 in a 4-1 defeat of Stuart Bingham. “I didn’t miss a shot in the first three frames,” said Zhao. “There is pressure on the main table but I enjoy that.”
Mark Selby, seeking his first title since the 2021 World Championship, knocked in breaks of 110, 74, 55 and 54 in a 4-1 defeat of Mark Joyce. Jordan Brown top scored with 112 in a 4-1 win against Ng On Yee.
Xiao Guodong beat Peter Lines 4-1 in a match between two players who were involved in a fiery altercation last season which result in Lines being fined by the WPBSA Disciplinary Committee. This time, China’s Xiao top scored with 119 as he eased into round three.
Graeme Dott’s 4-1 win over Anthony McGill was highlighted by a break of 110, while Lyu Haotian took the last frame on the colours to beat David Gilbert 4-3.
In the last session of the round, there were wins for Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and Yan Bingtao. Here is WST report on that session:
Trump Stays On Course For Top Spot
Judd Trump eased to a 4-0 victory over Dean Young in the second round of the Cazoo British Open, and would finish the week on top of the world rankings if he wins the tournament.
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s first round exit has opened a window for Trump to take over as world number one, if he can land the £100,000 top prize in Milton Keynes. The Bristolian was in tremendous shape today as he whitewashed Young in just 61 minutes with breaks of 52, 84, 100 and 64.
“It would be nice to get to number one off the back of winning a tournament, that would give me an extra sense of achievement,” said 2019 World Champion Trump, who now meets Xu Si on Thursday afternoon. “Any time you get to number one is special. Every time I was among the balls today, my position was good, I was in control and making breaks.”
Trump played in the BetVictor World Mixed Doubles last weekend, alongside O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby. Asked how he feels his game compares to those three fellow titans of the sport, he replied: “When I play my best, I feel no one’s game can live up to mine, but I’m sure the others would say the same. Selby is looking like he is back to his best. Snooker is in a healthy place.”
Ding Junhui, who has slipped to 34th in the rankings having not won a title since 2019, showed signs of a return to form in a 4-1 win over Joe Perry, highlighted by runs of 73, 66, 84 and 50. “I am trying hard and practising a lot,” said China’s Ding. “Snooker fans still love to see me win any tournament. I am still trying, I am not giving up. Family is more important now, but snooker is still my career.”
Mark Allen came from 1-0 down to beat Li Hang 4-1, making a crucial 63 clearance in the second frame then firing runs of 133, 100 and 83 in the next three. Former Masters champion Yan Bingtao top scored with 92 in a 4-0 defeat of Andy Lee.
And about Judd Trump, unsurprisingly for me, he doesn’t like Ronnie’s idea about “helping” the women’s game.
‘I am sure Ronnie has got enough money to give away that five per cent in total,’ Trump told The Sportsman. ‘It is a lot easier to say stuff and get a debate going. But he is more than welcome to do it himself.
‘If he has that strong an opinion about it, why doesn’t he go ahead and do it – and put his money where his mouth is? And then the rest can choose if they want to follow his example or not. He can start the fund or kitty.
‘Why doesn’t he hand over his whole prize money for a whole season, and give that to the women’s tour? We also already give 2.5 per cent of the prize money away to World Snooker – I’d almost rather they just gave that to the women’s game.
‘If you added five per cent to the 2.5 per cent that is 7.5 per cent, and then tax on it all you are struggling to make a profit.’
It is fair to say that taking five per cent of prize money off the winners’ purses on the main tour would not impact the likes of O’Sullivan, Robertson and Trump who, regularly win titles, too badly. However, a five per cent cut in the overall prize fund on the main tour would be extremely unpopular with lower-ranked players.
Outside of the game’s elite, players are not earning vast sums of cash and in the bottom half of the world rankings, some are not making much profit at all, especially when expenses are taken into account.
My understanding is that Ronnie wanted 5% of the prize money fund to go the the women, but that does not necessarily mean 5% at each level. It’s obvious that this idea is only a viable option if the money is taken “at the top” and frankly, I would be happy with that. Making the whole system a bit less top heavy would be a good thing in my opinion.