By this evening, 8 players will have qualified for the television stages of the 2022 UK Championship.
I will have a look at those matches, but before that, here are a few thoughts about the third round.
I have already mentioned the surprising results of the two matches played on November, 7: Jimmy White and Duane Jones beat Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill respectively. Xu Si also got through the final round with a fine 6-4 win over Jimmy Robertson. Xu is underrated by most, but not by Mark Williams who, on twitter, stated that he would gladly help him to further develop.
Yesterday we got a few more surprises.
Matthew Stevens, whose only ranking title so far remains the 2003 UK Championship, beat Fan Zhengyi by 6-2, with five breaks over 60. It’s easy to forget how good Matthew was in the early stages of his career. He’s a Masters champion, he reached the Word Championship final twice and the UK Championship final three times, winning it once. Family issues and bereavements derailed his career but the ability is still there.
Zhou Yuelong beat Michael White by 6-2. Somehow Zhou prevented Michael to score as heavily as he can, whilst himself had four breaks over 50, including 2 centuries.
Wu Yize got the better of Jamie Jones in a high quality and very entertaining match. Wu prevailed by 6-4, having trailed 0-2.
Lyu Haotian defeated Stuart Carrington by 6-3 from 2-1 down. Actually, from that stage of the match Lyu scored a break over 60 in every frame he won and he finished with a century.
Zak Surety beating Martin Gould by 6-1 was a major surprise. Zak can play but has rarely performed that well in important matches.
Ding beat Theppy by 6-2. Theppy wasn’t at the races really and Ding played well. Ding missed the yellow whilst on a maximum attempt in frame 2.
Liam Highfield got the better of Ashley Hugill. It was a fine performance from Liam: having lost the first frame, he won six on the bounce with 5 breaks over 50.
Ian Burns beating Ricky Walden by 6-3 was unexpected, but not as unexpected as Andres Pretrov 6-4 win over Gary Wilson. From 5-1 down, Gary fought back with breaks of 87, 79 and 59 but the European Champion held his nerves and finished the job in frame 10. It’s a remarkable run from Andres who is in his firs year as a professional. I like his game. He plays at a decent pace and is very positive in his shot choices.
All detailed results can be found on snooker.org
This is what we have in store today:
It is certainly an interesting line-up. I expect wins for Jamie Clarke, Noppon Saengkham, Zhou Yuelong, Lyu Haotian and Hossein Vafaei. Nothing is guaranteed though, they all have already won three matches over the last week.
In normal circumstances I would have expected Dominic Dale to prevail easily against Jimmy. But this week for Jimmy has been anything but normal and he looks fired up. He will have the crowd on his side too. Can he win? Possibly. Many would love to see him at the Barbican.
Tian Pengfei v Xu Si is hard to predict. I would love to see Xu go through.
Wu Yize v Matthew Stevens will be intriguing. Youth losing to Experience? Freshness prevailing over Battle Scars? I have no clue.