2022 Northern Ireland Open – the last 16 round

Today is quarter-finals day in Belfast and this is the line-up:

Mark Allen v Mark Williams

Neil Robertson v Mark Selby

David Gilbert v Zhou Yuelong

Lyu Haotian v Anthony Mc Gill

Here is how we got there (report by WST)

Selby And Robertson Set For Showdown

Mark Selby and Neil Robertson secured last 16 victories to book a BetVictor Northern Ireland quarter-final meeting the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

Leicester’s four-time World Champion Selby earned his progression with a hard fought 4-2 win over Welshman Michael White.

Former two-time ranking event winner White has enjoyed his best week since regaining his place on the professional circuit earlier this year. However, he quickly found himself 2-0 down this afternoon.

Despite his slow start, a break of 72 helped White on his way to two on the bounce to restore parity at 2-2. Selby emphatically responded a stunning contribution of 132 regained him the lead. He then claimed the sixth frame to emerge a 4-2 victor.

I need to be on top of my game in the quarter-finals and if I am then I have a chance. Neil is a brilliant player and one of the all-time greats of the game,” said 39-year-old Selby. “Me and Neil have won a lot of tournaments and there aren’t that many that we haven’t. This tournament is one of them and I’ll be trying hard to put it on my CV.

He has a good all round game. WST put on Twitter a question about who the best long potter in the game is and Mark Williams said Neil for certain. I’d agree with that. It gets him out of trouble a lot. He is a difficult player to face. I will give it my best and see what happens.”

Australia’s 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson eased to the last eight with a 4-0 whitewash win over China’s Li Hang.

Robertson fired in breaks of 102 and 60 on his way to booking tomorrow afternoon’s quarter-final encounter with Selby.

Selby and Robertson have met on all of the sport’s biggest stages, with each player scoring significant victories over the other. However, it is Melbourne cueman Robertson who has won their last five meetings and leads the head-to-head 15-8.

They are both hunting a maiden Northern Ireland Open title this weekend. This week is 23-time ranking event winner Robertson’s best ever performance in Belfast, while 20-time ranking event winner Selby made the semi-finals in 2018.

Defending champion Mark Allen will face three-time World Champion Mark Williams in the quarter-finals.

Allen booked his place in the last eight with a 4-0 win over Xiao Guodong, while Williams won a high quality clash with 2004 UK Champion Stephen Maguire 4-3.

Former Crucible semi-finalist David Gilbert earned his quarter-final spot with a hard fought 4-3 win over Tom Ford. Tamworth’s Gilbert top scored with a fine break of 132. He now faces Zhou Yuelong, who whitewashed Robert Milkins 4-0.

Anthony McGill and Lyu Haotian will meet in the other quarter-final. They scored respective 4-0 wins over Luca Brecel and Tian Pengfei.

It’s a bit strange that the report mainly focusses on Mark Selby when Mark Allen, the defending champion was also in action that afternoon. Maybe “punished” for bluntly stating that the table was awful and nearly unplayable? Selby is right to say that he will need to be on his game today. Neil has beaten him in 11 of the last 12 matches they played…

The evening session only got two short paragraphs in this report. It’s a shame. Lyu Haotian was impressive in whitewashing Luca Brecel. He played attacking, creative snooker. It reminded me of him, as a 14 years old kid, playing in Yixing in 2012. He was awesome. That was before a terrible first experience as a professional destroyed his confidence and almost drove him away from the sport. He’s not practicing at Vic’s academy and he’s starting to look like his former self again. I would be delighted for him if he could win a title soon, maybe even this Sunday? Who knows?

One thought on “2022 Northern Ireland Open – the last 16 round

  1. Yes Victoria has been really great for Lyu Haotian. His comeback in 2017 might not have been a success without her support. I would say he still has some big weaknesses (Dan Wells played on for 5 snookers and came quite close to getting them), but his scoring is very strong again, although extremely unorthodox. Most likely he will hit the rails today, as he did in the British Open, but if he keeps his form going opportunities will come.

    Also, Eurosport did a live interview with Zhou Yuelong! Rachel Casey was a bit nervous and asked an incomprehensible question, but she will learn how to handle such interviews, just as Zhou will improve. Zhou gave us a glimpse of some of the difficulties faced by being an overseas player stranded in the UK.

    The Q-final draw is now unbalanced, with the top half containing the 4 main contenders. Like the British Open, there is an opportunity for a lesser player to reach the final, where upsets can happen.

Comments are closed.