It was an interesting and enjoyable first day in Milton Keynes, as the 2022 Mixed Doubles got underway.
Ronnie was poor in his first match. However he played much better in the evening and the commentators mentioned that they had been speaking to him between the two sessions and insisted that he is really up for the event.
Here are the reports by WST:
Winning Starts For Trump / On Yee and Selby / Kenna
Judd Trump and Ng On Yee scored a 3-1 victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan and Reanne Evans in the opening match of the BetVictor World Mixed Doubles, than Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna saw off Neil Robertson and Mink Nutcharut by the same scoreline.
The new event sees the world’s top four men and top four women competing as pairs in a team format. The group phase continues on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, then the top two teams in the group go through to Sunday night’s final.
After winning a tight opening frame, Trump made a break of 75 to put his team 2-0 ahead, then On Yee made a cool clearance from the last red to take the third frame and ensure victory. Evans impressed in frame four with a run of 62 to avoid the whitewash.
Hong Kong’s On Yee said: “I feel like the clearance in the third frame was really good. There was huge pressure but luckily I handled it well.”
Trump added: “We spoke briefly before the match about which order to go in and decided it would be me before for Ronnie to try and keep him quiet. That was our tactic, to try and keep him safe. I felt very confident in On Yee and it worked well.
“It’s an amazing showcase for the women’s game. It could have been difficult for them to play, as if they were playing with the weight of the world on their shoulders, but actually they settled into the swing of things a lot quicker than me and Ronnie did.
“I felt very confident when when the draw come out that we’d have a great chance. Ronnie and Reanne have been the favourites in so many people’s eyes, but I quietly felt we were very strong. And I believe that we have what it takes to go all the way.”
In the second match, Selby opened with a break of 134, then Robertson replied with a 64 for 1-1. A run of 64 from Selby helped his team regain the lead. In frame four, the English duo trailed 46-11, but some clever safety from Kenna helped set her partner up with a chance, and Selby took advantage with a 40 clearance.
Kenna said: “I’m pleased that I could put a few balls together. I know how difficult it is to get settled on these tables, they are just so fast. But when when the opportunities came, I went for my shots until I lost position.”
Selby added: “It’s huge spotlight, at least 30 years since we’ve had an event like this, especially to be on the main ITV channel with a primetime audience. So I said to Rebecca, just go out there, express yourself. Show everyone your personality go for your shots, because this is a massive platform for women snooker to try and promote it.”
Selby And Kenna In Pole Position
Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna beat Judd Trump and Ng On Yee 3-1 to top the group after the first day of the new BetVictor World Mixed Doubles in Milton Keynes.
Points gained after two matches each:
Mark Selby & Rebecca Kenna: 6
Judd Trump & Ng On Yee: 4
Ronnie O’Sullivan & Reanne Evans 4
Neil Robertson & Mink Nutcharut: 2
The top two teams after the third round of group matches on Sunday afternoon will go through to the final on Sunday evening.
Sunday’s play starts at 1pm with Neil Robertson and Mink Nutcharut against Judd Trump and Ng On Yee, followed by Ronnie O’Sullivan and Reanne Evans against Mark Selby and Rebecca Kenna.
English duo Selby and Kenna beat Robertson and Nutcharut 3-1 in the opening match during the afternoon session and scored another success by the same scoreline this evening against Trump and On Yee. They took the opening frame on the colours, then lost a 59-minute second frame which was resolved when Trump potted the final black.
Selby’s break of 68 gave his team a 2-1 lead and he made a 55 to take control of frame four. On Yee had a chance to clear but missed the penultimate red when trailing 59-47 and that proved the key moment.
After losing their opening match on Saturday afternoon, O’Sullivan and Evans bounced back in the evening session with a 3-1 success against Robertson and Nutcharut. They lost a 55-minute opening frame on the colours, then breaks of 111 and 68 from O’Sullivan put them 2-1 up and they secured victory in the fourth.
O’Sullivan said: “It has been good fun. You have to keep your concentration and try to support your partner, there’s a lot going on we are not used to. I don’t know whether to be quiet or whether I’m talking too much! We are feeding off each other. I am trying to get into the zone but also trying to do what feels right.”
Evans added: “You have to try and go out and enjoy it, and try to play to your own ability. Who wouldn’t want to be paired with Ronnie!”The above video was shared on twitter by WST
The women generally gave a very good account of themselves. It was Mink who appeared to struggle a bit more with the pressure. Rebecca Kenna is probably the less fancied of the four but she has an excellent safety game and that proved to be a key element in their team success as she “earned” several opportunities for Mark Selby who then duly delivered.
Here are more images shared on social media by WST: