Igor Figueiredo withdraws from upcoming events

WST published this yesterday:

Igor Figueiredo has withdrawn from the BetVictor English Open, Scottish Open and German Masters, as he is unable to play after travelling back home to Brazil.

Figueiredo has been replaced by the next available player in the Q School Order of Merit in each of the corresponding events. For the English and Scottish Opens this is David Lilley and for the German Masters it is John Astley.

Click here for the updated BetVictor English Open draw

Click here for the updated BetVictor Scottish Open draw

Click here for the updated BetVictor German Masters draw

Igor loves the game but has struggled badly for results recently. He’s yet to win a match this season.

He has a very young family and earlier this year had explained how much he had to sacrifice to follow his dream:

Figueiredo Sacrificing For Success

Brazilian number one Igor Figueiredo has gone over half a year without seeing his family as he battles to hit the heights on the World Snooker Tour and inspire a new generation of South American players.

Figueiredo won the Pan American Championship in 2019 to regain his place on the professional circuit and took the decision to permanently move to the UK in order to maximise his prospects of success. That meant he had to leave wife Claudete and his three children Stephanie, Igor and Elizabeth behind in Rio De Janeiro, relocating 5,887 miles to his current base at the Q House Academy in Darlington.

Just months later, the coronavirus pandemic took hold and made travel home even more difficult. Figueiredo hasn’t seen his family in person since last Christmas.

“I don’t have any sponsors or support, so I had a big decision over the last two years. I knew that I didn’t have any chance going back and forth. I needed to stay here and live here, to work every day and try my best. Travelling between the two countries would give me no chance,” said 43-year-old Figueiredo.

“I made this decision with my wife. I sold my car and used this money to make the leap and give it a go. It was very difficult to leave. I have two younger children and one older, my wife and my father who is getting older as well. I’ve done this to try and change my career, but also the landscape of snooker in South America. I want to inspire more people to play the sport and grow it.

“By getting in the top eight of the one year list at the end of last season, I now have two more years and I want to give it a real go. I am 43 now, so I don’t have too long to go in my career. I have to try and make the most of it.”

The Rio cueman was taught his craft on a small table in his family home by father Nilton, who is a former estate agent. From there Figueiredo would go on to make a living from competing in national tournaments in Brazil and money matches, although the latter quickly dried up when the wider public became aware of his considerable talent.

Figueiredo eventually set his sights on the professional ranks, but has been faced with many challenges throughout his career. In Brazil, they compete on 10ft tables as opposed to the regulation 11 ft 8½ in ones. Figueiredo’s first experience of a full size table came in 2009, when he was runner-up to Alfie Burden in the World Amateur Championship and earned his initial spell as a professional.

“In Brazil the tables are ten feet and there is a lot of pool. I had never even seen a full size table until 2009 at 32 years old. I’d never played full size in my life. I am just so happy because I think I have improved a lot,” Figueiredo explained: “My dad played with his friends in our house when I was younger. When he played I would wonder what he was doing and what was happening. He eventually would invite me to play at just five years old and I would see the balls collide and the cue actions. There was magic in my mind. From then I have never stopped for 38 years.”

Figueiredo enjoyed an impressive run at this year’s Betfred World Championship qualifiers, which brought him to the verge of history.

No South American has ever qualified for the Crucible before, but wins over Farakh Ajaib, Robbie Williams and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh took Figueiredo within one match of becoming the first. Unfortunately, he met his match on Judgement Day, losing a tight contest with Mark Joyce 10-7.

“I think it is the dream of all players to reach the Crucible, but especially for me. There was a lot of pressure as I may not have that many more chances. When the first player from South America qualifies for the Crucible, there will be a lot of attention on it. Whoever does it will hopefully open up a lot of opportunities for other South Americans. It is difficult to play only for the results like you have to in that tournament, because it is so important. It is easier when you are able to focus on your performance first.”

Despite narrowly missing out on an appearance at the Theatre of Dreams in April, Figueiredo did make his Crucible debut a month later at the World Seniors Championship. After scoring a 3-0 win over 1991 World Champion John Parrott in round one, Figueiredo defeated 36-time ranking event winner Stephen Hendry 4-1 to reach the semi-finals. Unfortunately his dreams of the title were ended by a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Jimmy White. Despite falling short, it was an experience that Figueiredo took great pride in playing in the sport’s most famous arena.

“It was great that I could still make history and be the first South American at the Crucible in the seniors. People in Brazil were very excited for me to play Hendry. He was my first hero. I saw him play on television in Brazil when I was younger. Now in the time of YouTube it is easy to see everyone, but it wasn’t like that then. I was very happy to beat him and people in Brazil were so happy with the result, although he retired in 2012 and has come back after a long time out, people at home still see him as the king. It was very good for me to get the win.

“Jimmy played well and solid in the semi-finals. I made mistakes and didn’t control my emotions. It was a good chance to get a title and the winner of the tournament would have had lots of further opportunities.”

Just last month football legend Pele took to Instagram to state he felt that snooker should be an Olympic sport. Figueiredo believes that snooker could do more to harness the support of high profile figures in other sports to further its own Olympic cause. He says that snooker is very popular among some of Brazil’s most revered football stars.

“Neymar also likes snooker. Every football player from Brazil likes snooker. Neymar has a table in his house and you can see the picture of Pele playing. It is important to hear from these people and allow them to help snooker develop for new generations.

“I think it is very important for snooker. To get snooker to the Olympics would be crucial not just for prize money but sponsorships and funding for players. I think we need to use the voices of well known people to push it. These people can help snooker to get places as it is popular with a lot of famous people from other sports.”

Maybe too hard eventually? Only he will know.

Meanwhile, he’s certainly not giving up on snooker as this is the last entry on his facebook page:


Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association

PABSA is pleased to announce that Igor Figueiredo has become an official PABSA Ambassador. Igor recently became a qualified coach and will be helping promote and support growth of cue sports in the Pan America region. Igor joins Cliff Thorburn as a fellow PABSA Ambassador.
PABSA President Ajeya Prabhakar “We would like to welcome Igor, who is a great player and fantastic guy to the PABSA family. I love his enthusiasm for the game and his support of growth in the Pan American region”.

Jason Francis discloses Important News

Jason Francis was on Facebook live yesterday to disclose some important news. For those who don’t have acces to facebook, here is his announcement.

There are a lot of  “news” in there: pro-ams. junior competitions with a handicap system, seniors tour news, Ronnie’s shop, and a return of the Legends events.

What Jason does to promote snooker is fantastic. Unfortunately because of  circumstances out of his control (Covid and Brexit) , it will once again mainly benefit UK based players. As a mainland Europe snooker fan, I write this last sentence not as a criticism to Jason, far from it, but with some sadness.

The part specific to Ronnie stuff is the last one in the video. He will play in three “Legends events” alongside Reanne Evans, Stephen Hendry, Ken Doherty and Jimmy White.

Some dates clash with main tour events: the shoot-out and the Gibraltar Open.

There are also other announcements, detailed in the comments section, and again, for those who can’t acces Facebook, here are screenshots:

2021-09-07 Ronnie announcements -12021-09-07 Ronnie announcements -32021-09-07 Ronnie announcements -2

Regarding the Seniors Tour news, you will find more details here.

It’s a one hour long video but well worth the listen from start to finish.



Exhibitions in Hartley – 3 & 4 September 2021


Ronnie did a couple of exhibitions over the week-end. John Virgo couln’t make it, unfortunately, but he was replaced by another legend: the 1991 World Champion, John Parrott.

From what transpired on social media it was an enjoyable couple of evenings/nigths.

Here are a few images that were shared on twitter:

Jason tells me that Ronnie was good and had a few big breaks… and centuries but he wasn’t sure as he lost the count a bit over the two nights 😉

And Ronnie tweeted this

Ronnie Hartley Sept 2021 twitter

Snooker and Tour News – 03.09.2021

Here are some snooke/tour news that popped up over the last days

WST has published an updated “Format and Schedule” for the television stages of the Northern Irland Open:

BetVictor Northern Ireland Open Updated Draw

The updated draw and format for the 2021 BetVictor Northern Ireland Open following the conclusion of the qualifying round is now available.

Click here for the updated draw

Click here for the updated format

The world ranking event runs from October 9th to October 17th at the fantastic Waterfront Hall venue in central Belfast. It is the first of this season’s BetVictor Home Nations Series, with the winner to lift the Alex Higgins Trophy.

Tickets to see the best players on the planet are available now  For full details CLICK HERE

The tournament has 128 players all starting in round one. The top 16 seeds, as well as Jordan Brown, had their opening matches held over to Belfast, while all other players competed in the qualifying round.

Matches to look out for on Sunday October 10th include

1pm session
World Champion Mark Selby v Mark Davis
John Higgins v Joe O’Connor
Northern Ireland’s top player Mark Allen v Si Jiahui
Neil Robertson v Barry Pinches

7pm session
Defending champion Judd Trump v Andrew Pagett
Kyren Wilson v Jamie Clarke
Local favourite Jordan Brown v Gary Wilson
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Carrington
Mark Williams v Mark Joyce

Trump is aiming to win the tournament for a fourth year in a row – remarkably he has beaten O’Sullivan 9-7 in the final in each of the last three seasons.

The event begins with a 7pm evening session on Saturday October 9th, with tickets at just £5.

The event will be televised by Eurosport, Quest and a range of other broadcasters worldwide.

The have also announced that referee Peter Williamson is retiring:

Referee Peter Williamson Retires

Long-serving referee Peter Williamson has retired from the World Snooker Tour after 30 years on the circuit.

The Liverpudlian first refereed on Merseyside in the late 1970s and moved into the professional game in 1991.

Williamson officiated several ranking event semi-finals as well as the final of a Players Tour Championship event in 2012 in which Rod Lawler beat Marco Fu 4-2 in Gloucester.

We spoke to him about his career highlights, favourite players and plans for retirement…

What lessons have you learned from your career that you will take into your retirement?

“Sometimes you cannot take people at face value, they can turn out totally different. It was a joy to meet people from all around the world, all different ages and different backgrounds.”

What were your favourite places to go on the tour?

“Well, obviously, the Crucible – and also Shanghai and York. Shanghai is a totally different environment and seeing the way the country was developing at the time, just when they were going to be getting the Olympics in China was brilliant. They were building a completely new rail system with 120 stations and building the whole thing at the same time simultaneously. The whole place was bright, multi-coloured and the electric bill for the city must have been tremendous!”

What was your favourite game to referee?

“I refereed Ronnie O’Sullivan against John Higgins in the 2009 Shanghai Masters semi-final, and O’Sullivan against Marco Fu in the same tournament. With Fu being from Hong Kong, they reckon the audience for that was in the tens of millions, if not 100 million. I don’t really feel pressure in games like those, you get used to it and I’d been refereeing professionally for about 15 years by then.”

What was your favourite moment of your career?

“Not long after I started, August 1991, I refereed at Trentham Gardens. In the qualifiers, I had the privilege of refereeing Fred Davis. It was a booth situation and most of the booths only had one or two people in, but mine was full and there wasn’t a seat to be had, because there was a party of pensioners in! They all wanted to see Fred play and when it got to the interval, he was 4-0 down and it was quite a distance to get to the refreshments area. He beckoned me over after his opponent, Jamie Woodman, had gone out and said: “You couldn’t do me a massive favour.” So I said: “Yes what’s that?” and he said: “My legs won’t get me to the refreshment area in time for the restart, is it at all possible you could organise a cup of tea for me?” So I got the balls set up and ran off to the tournament office and ordered the tray with a cup of tea for him that was delivered to the table. He lost the match 5-0 but that always stuck with me!”

Who was your favourite player to referee?

“I always had a lot of fun and banter with Ken Doherty, because of our football connections. I’m a Liverpool fan and he’s Manchester United, of course. Another player was John Higgins. I’ve refereed two 147s with Higgins, so I remember those well.”

What will you miss most about being on tour?

“Apart from watching the development of the game, seeing the way the game is spreading around the world, it’s probably the chance to meet up with colleagues from lots of different countries. It’s the only chance you get to meet up with workmates.”

What are your plans for retirement?

“I may still referee a bit of billiards. I’ve done five world billiards finals, and I got asked over the weekend if I was available to referee in Reading, but unfortunately I’m in Cyprus at the time. I’ll also be doing more gardening. I’ve just got a barbeque so I’ve been coming up with innovative menus for that, like chocolate bananas.”

Finally, what is your message to players on the tour right now?

“Keep at it, even if you are having a bad day. Practice makes perfect so stick with it.  Also – I’d just like to thank all my colleagues for making the second part of my working life my most memorable.”

I have met Peter at countless events over the years and it was a pleasure always. Enjoy your retirement Peter. All the best for the future!

Twitath Warinthrakom, who is a in many ways the Thai equivalent of Rolf Kalb, has shared some worrying news on his Facebook page. Last Tuesday, he annouced that he had tested positive to covid-19. Yesterday, he wrote that he was in hospital. His condition looks serious alas. Twitath was asking his friends to pray for him.

I sincerely hope that Twitath will make a full recovery soon. He’s always been very friendly with me and is loved by the whole snooker community in Thailand.

Neil Robertson wants shorter format for the World Championship

Neil Robertson was interviewed on the Talking Balls podcast:

Neil Robertson calls for change to ‘stale and dated’ World Snooker Championship

2020 Coral World Grand Prix - Day 7
Neil Robertson wants to see changes to the World Snooker Championship (Picture: Getty Images)

Neil Robertson wants to see changes to the ‘dated and stale’ World Snooker Championship format, with shorter matches at the climax of the tournament and even a change of venue.

The 2010 world champion believes snooker needs to evolve and that few people want to watch the epic World Championship matches played over best of 33 frames in the semi-finals and best of 35 in the final.

The Australian says that he would never watch a match of that length in its entirety, so struggles to see how casual snooker fans, or potential fans of the sport could be enticed in by such lengthy contests.

The 39-year-old has only been to the Crucible semi-finals once since his incredible world title triumph in 2010 and he admits that his desire for a change in format is a personal choice, but it comes not just from a playing perspective, but also from an entertainment stance.

‘I’ve got a little bit of an issue with the World Championship, with the length of the format,’ Robertson told the Talking Balls podcast. ‘I feel that matches can drag on a bit and I’ve been sucker-punched into getting bogged down too much and getting involved in longer, scrappier frames. Which is my fault and it happened again this year, even though I said it wasn’t going to happen.

‘Personally I don’t really like the format, I think it’s pretty dated and it can be very stale.

‘I’ve never watched a best of 35 from start to finish, ever. You’ll never get the general public watching a best of 35 from start to finish, ever.

‘They’ll watch the final of the Masters or UK [Championship], they’ll dip in and out of the World Championship but they’ll never be engaged in the whole match.

‘From an entertainment point of view, the World Championship is a struggle for me to watch and I’m a top snooker player in the game.’

The Thunder from Down Under is not calling for a move to short format games at the World Championship, but believes the length of matches over the first three rounds are as long as any games should be.

‘I think best of 19 is great, best of 25 is really intriguing but you should just cut it off at that,’ he continued. ‘You don’t need to play best of 33 or 35.

‘I’ve never watched a best of 35 from start to finish, ever. You’ll never get the general public watching a best of 35 from start to finish, ever.

‘They’ll watch the final of the Masters or UK [Championship], they’ll dip in and out of the World Championship but they’ll never be engaged in the whole match.

‘From an entertainment point of view, the World Championship is a struggle for me to watch and I’m a top snooker player in the game.’

The Thunder from Down Under is not calling for a move to short format games at the World Championship, but believes the length of matches over the first three rounds are as long as any games should be.

‘I think best of 19 is great, best of 25 is really intriguing but you should just cut it off at that,’ he continued. ‘You don’t need to play best of 33 or 35.

2020 Coral World Grand Prix - Day 7
Robertson has racked up 20 ranking titles over his amazing career (Picture: Getty Images)

‘For me personally as a sports fan I’d never tune in to watch it, I just wouldn’t, it’s like the equivalent of an eight-day Test match in cricket, it’s far too long.

‘I feel as though we’re going to lose a lot of potential fans of the sport unless we change it up.

‘I feel as though the UK Championship has benefitted a lot from going from best of 17 to best of 11. The players have adjusted, we’re not concerned about playing these long formats anymore, we just want to play the matches and for people to see good entertainment quickly.’

Robertson is not expecting the format to change any time soon and knows he must learn to deal with the longest matches in the sport if he is to add to his one world title.

However, if the World Championship was played over a shorter format, he believes he would already be a multiple world champion by now.

‘I don’t enjoy playing a best of 33 or 35,’ he said. ‘It’s me personally, and I’ve probably lost a bit of focus during some matches and that’s on me. I need to change that, while this event is as long as it is then I need to adjust to that.

German Masters 2020 - Day 5
Robertson has narrowly missed a return to the one-table set-up in recent years, losing in the last three quarter-finals at the Crucible Getty Images)

‘I’d love it to be a shorter format and I’d probably have won it a few more times since I did, but that’s up to me to change that.’

On the longest matches, Robertson added: ‘As a player it’s kind of boring, you’re not shaking the other guy’s hand and saying, “well played” or “bad luck” you’re saying, “we’re going to continue this four hours later and then the next day.”

‘Sometimes you play a best of 25 over three days and it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a match, it feels like you’re playing three best of 9s at that point.

‘Best of 19 up till the quarters and then best of 25 all the way through would make for a much more entertaining World Championship, that’s my opinion.’

Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day Twelve
Robertson lost out to Kyren Wilson in the quarter-final stages in Sheffield this year (Picture: Getty Images)

Robertson has previously said he is not a fan of the Crucible ‘from a technical point of view’ as it is too tight for him to comfortably play some shots during the two-table set-up stage of the tournament.

He says there have been shots he simply could not play as the venue is so tight, and would like to see a different venue used until the semi-finals when the event could return to the Crucible for the one-table set-up.

On how tight the venue is, Robertson said: ‘That’s where the Crucible is pretty terrible, really. It’s an amazing place to play when you’re in the semi-finals, one of the best venues you could ever play at.

‘But when it’s that small, compact environment, it’s not a great venue to play at from a player’s point of view. Even though you appreciate all the history that’s gone on there.

‘I wouldn’t mind seeing a change in venue and then bringing it back for the semi-finals and final at the Crucible. I can’t see that happening but that’s probably something I’d look to do.’

Both Ronnie and John Higgins have called for making the World final shorter and got absolutely crucified by the fans for it. Yet, both said that right after winning it and they were exhausted: all Crucible winners are absolutely shattered when they emerge from that marathon. Here comes Neil, fresh at the start of a new season and having won it just once more than eleven years ago…

So here is my take on shortening the format: NO, NO and NO!

The only change I’d like to see in the matches format is reverting to best of 31 for the semi-finals, as it was in the early 90th. I know that there is a higher risk of a short last session with the best of 31, but, on the other hand, the best of 33 often leads to a very late finish on the eve of the Final, putting one of the finalists at a serious disadvantage. Bear in mind that after the match, the players have to speak to the media, and the winner goes first to the BBC studio, and then to the media room. After that, the winner has filming to do with the BBC for the next day features. They also probably need to eat something – after they finish with the BBC – and, with adrenaline still running high, they are unlikely to find sleep easily.

The other change I’d like to see is the Final being played on a Sunday, so that viewers outside UK, who don’t get “bank holidays”, can watch it without needing to take a day off work, or being restricted to just watching the last session until ungodly hours after a full day at work. Why not start the whole thing on the Friday?

I 100% disagree with the current trend to shorten the matches. For me, I’d like to see the UK championship go back to the best of 17 from round one, yes from round one on, with tiered qualifiers. That would help the younger players too as, currently, if they manage to reach the latter stages of the World qualifiers they are faced with a multi session match, and its psychological challenges, often for the first time and they totally unprepared for it.

I know that there is pressure coming from the broadcasters in favour of one-session matches: “Viewers want to see a result” they claim. Possibly … but then the same viewers watch series with a zillion episodes. So?

For me, if fans can’t appreciate the “slow burn” of the longer matches, they are in the wrong sport, they should watch pool.

Neil’s criticisms of the Crucible as a venue on the other hand are justified. In the early rounds, the arena is really too small. The players have only just enough room to manoeuvre around the table and it’s very claustrophobic. I know of a few players who feel physically uneasy in that environment. When it’s packed, the ventilation is left wanting and, if the weather is a bit hot, it quickly becomes very uncomfortable inside. It’s an iconic place, and it’s fantastic when the one table setup is reached but, until that stage, it’s extremely cramped. What’s the solution? I’m not sure. Because moving the early rounds elsewhere would deprive the debutants of the magic of going down those steps for the first time and being welcomed by a packed Crucible audience. It’s not on. Would it be technically possible to remove the first couple of  rows to make the arena a bit bigger? I suppose not, otherwise they would have tried that already I guess.




30 August 2021 – Snooker News

With not much action in the coming day here are two pieces published in the news:

Mark Williams reckons that Ronnie owes him a favour… 

Ronnie O’Sullivan owes me a massive favour for Champion of Champions place, says Mark Williams

Ronnie O’Sullivan was helped out by his old rival at the British Open (Picture: Getty Images)

Mark Williams reckons Ronnie O’Sullivan owes him a ‘massive favour’ after his British Open win is set to secure the Rocket in this season’s Champion of Champions event.

Williams claimed the British Open title on Sunday 22 August, beating Gary Wilson 6-4 in the final in Leicester and he gave his old rival a helping hand in the process.

O’Sullivan, quite remarkably, reached five ranking finals last season but failed to win any of them, so didn’t manage to book a spot in the Champion of Champions by lifting any silverware.

However, due to players winning multiple titles over the last year, places in the event are opened up to the highest ranked players who didn’t manage to qualify.

With the Rocket ranked number three in the world and Williams stopping Wilson from qualifying for the event, O’Sullivan is set for a return to the Champion of Champions and the Welshman is expecting a thank you from his fellow Class of ’92 legend.

Speaking after his British Open glory, Williams spoke of the remarkable achievement that he, O’Sullivan and John Higgins are still competing at the top of snooker nearly 30 years after turning professional.

‘Myself, John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan having turned pro together all those years ago… we are still hanging around like a bad smell,’ Williams told The Sportsman.

‘I have dropped down the rankings a few times and come back up. But we just seem to be sticking around for a lot longer than people expected.

‘I have always believed there are definitely more titles out there for the other two, but I have won another one here and won one last season – so who knows, maybe I can get a couple more?

‘And by winning this week I may have guaranteed Ronnie a place in the Champion of Champions on his world ranking, so that could be a massive favour he owes me.’

Williams took his ranking title tally to 24 with his victory in Leicester cementing his place at fifth on the all-time list behind O’Sullivan (37), Stephen Hendry (36), Higgins (31) and Steve Davis (28).

The Welsh Potting Machine thinks that players of his era and older were only limited by the number of events they played in during their pomp and Judd Trump (next on the list on 22 titles) has a great chance to surpass them due to the regular tournaments on the calendar now.

‘I do think that if there had been the number of events we play in now all through from 1992, then Ronnie would have 100, Higgins 80, and maybe me on 40,’ said Williams.

”Judd has won 11 in two years. There were only 12 tournaments in total in two years at one time.’

The Class of ’92 and Trump will have their next chance to add to their ranking titles at the Northern Ireland Open, with the main stages starting on 9 October in Belfast.

The Northern Ireland Open and then the English Open offer qualifying chances for the Champion of Champions in November, but even if there are two unqualified winners at those events – which aren’t O’Sullivan – that will still only be 15 different champions for the event and the Rocket will take the final spot on the world rankings.

So about this one…

  1. I totally agree with Willo that comparing how many ranking titles players of different era have won makes little sense. When I said something very similar to what he says here about Trump’s tally I got stick (including from Trump)  but it’s only common sense.
  2. I would prefer for Ronnie to qualify for the Champion of Champions on merit … on the other hand making it to 5 ranking finals in proper events is better in my eyes than winning the Shoot Out. So… if Ronnie wants to play in it, good luck to him, I won’t complain!

This appeared yesterday on news feeds

Chinese snooker player Xiao Guodong accuses British competitor of abuse after match, enraging Chinese netizens

Published: Aug 30, 2021 12:57 AM
Photo: Screenshot of Weibo

Photo: Screenshot of Weibo

Chinese snooker player Xiao Guodong said on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Friday that he was abused by British rival, Peter Lines ,with swear words after winning a match. Xiao reported the rude behavior to the World Confederation of Billiards Sports (WCBS). “I do not make trouble but also am not afraid of any trouble,” Xiao wrote.

The incident has been considered “a very ungentle scene at a gentle event” on Sina Weibo and in media reports. Chinese netizens strongly condemned Lines for not accepting defeat and insulting Xiao.

Xiao beat Lines by 4-3 and qualified for the Northern Ireland Open on Thursday. After the match, Lines abused Xiao in the lounge in front of other witnesses using “swear words.”

“Peter was also threatening Xiao to step outside the arena for a fight in front of a referee, which is not acceptable and quite intimidating for a player who is coming here from a different country,” according to a letter to the WCBS Xiao posted on his Sina Weibo account.

The letter also said that Wu Yize, Pang Junxu and Elliot Slessor were all witnesses of what happened, adding that security staff had to stop Lines from doing anything worse.

Xiao took to Sina Weibo again on Saturday to thank for all the support from netizens. “I have sent all the details to the WCBS and am waiting for them to announce the investigation results. I will not make trouble and I am not afraid of any provocation. I am a Chinese,” he wrote.

Many Chinese netizens stood by Xiao, supporting him to guard his rights and dignity.

“Do not need to be afraid! 1.4 billion Chinese people are all behind you,” one Sina Weibo user commented.

Netizens also urged the WCBS to investigate if Lines abused Xiao, adding that to correct the damage to the sports spirit, he must be punished and apologize.

“I agree with Xiao’s attitude. No one can unequally treat Chinese people, especially on sports events. We are waiting for a result together with Xiao,” another netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

When I read this I was surprised for several reasons:

  1. I have known and met both players for over 12 years now and never saw anything bad from either so this surprised me. I won’t take sides and I will wait for WST/WPBSA inquiry. What I do know is that, with a lot at stakes during matches, emotions run high. Mistakes and misunderstandings  do happen.
  2. I was very surprised that nothing was said on WST website.
  3. I’m even more surprised that when WST did react it only appeared on Chinese social media…



That’s weird to say the least. Why not put this on their website as well? Because, obviously, this was always going to land somewhere in a news feed or on social media sparkling questions and speculations.

2022 German Masters Draw and Qualifiers Format

WST has published the draw for the 2022 German Masters as well as the format for the qualifiers.

BetVictor German Masters Draw

The draw and format for the 2022 BetVictor German Masters qualifiers is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifying rounds will run from October 18 to 26 at Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock, followed by the final stages at the famous Tempodrom venue in Berlin from January 26 to 30.

Trump beat Jack Lisowski in last year’s final

All players will need to win two qualifying matches to make it through to Berlin.

Judd Trump has won the title in each of the last two years, and this time he’ll face Tian Pengfei in the opening round. Ronnie O’Sullivan will meet Hossein Vafaei while World Champion Mark Selby will be up against Ross Muir.

Germany’s Lukas Kleckers will begin his bid to qualify for the Tempodrom against Yuan Sijun, while Berlin-based Simon Lichtenberg will take on Sanderson Lam.

Father and son Peter and Oliver Lines will face each other in the second round if they both win their opening matches, against Chang Bingyu and Mark Williams respectively.

Players need to win two matches to get to Berlin. Interestingly, the qualifiers format is different this year, and, IMO better. Indeed, each day, except the first and the last will see three sessions played: the first and last will feature round one matches, the afternoon one will feature the second round matches opposing the first round winners from the previous day.

I wasn’t really expecting it, given what happenend in recent years, but Ronnie has entered the event and his due to play Hossein Vafaei on Monday, October 25, 2021. It’s not an easy first match, but Ronnie quite likes Hossein and should be up for the challenge. I’d rather have this than another match against a low ranked player that he is expected to beat whilst his opponent somehow has nothing to lose.

Should he win, Ronnie would face Andrew Higginson or Steven Hallworth the next day. He famously beat Higginson by 5-4 from 4-0 down in the first round at the Tempodrom in 2012. He was in danger to need to qualify for the World Championship. He went on to win the title that week and later triumphed at the Crucible.