Scottish Open 2017 – It’s Neil Robertson v Cao Yupeng in the Final today

And surely it’s a Final that not many would have predicted! This is how the semi finals got us there:

Cao Yupeng beat Judd Trump (Worldsnooker):

World number 67 Cao Yupeng is through to his maiden ranking final after a shock 6-4 win over Judd Trump at the Dafabet Scottish Open in Glasgow.

The match was a reversal in fortunes for the pair, who have already met in a semi-final this season at the European Masters in Belgium. On that occasion the eight-time ranking event winner Trump proved to be too strong as he stormed to a 6-1 victory.

However, 27-year-old Cao has already enjoyed a magical moment this week in Glasgow , having fired in a 147 maximum break in his 4-0 last 128 win over Andrew Higginson.

That puts Cao in position for a potential bumper £92,000 payout. He is already in line to pocket £22,000 for the maximum break and will now face either John Higgins or Neil Robertson tomorrow for the Stephen Hendry Trophy and the £70,000 top prize.

Trump struggled to find his mark from long range in the opening stages today. That allowed Cao to step in and grasp the early initiative, making 51 and 88 to lead 3-1 at the interval.

Cao then had the opportunity to pull three clear in the fifth frame, but missed a tough last black. The Ace in the Pack stepped in and deposited a similarly tricky final ball before punching the air, as he clung on to his opponent at 3-2.

The tide appeared to have turned as Trump  then levelled at 3-3 with a sublime run of 76. However, Cao instantly responded by winning the next two frames to move one from victory and he went on to get over the line a 6-4 winner with a break of 72.

When I had that chance in the last frame I told myself, concentrate 100% and don’t miss,” said Cao. “I feel really happy to be in my first final. It was a lot of pressure out there today, but I managed to play alright so I’m pleased overall.

“I have spent a lot of time practising and particularly on my safety game. I think last season I only really put in an effort on my potting and as a result I gave my opponents a lot of opportunities.

“Either Neil Robertson or John Higgins will be really tough, because they are both top players. I need to make the most of my chances tomorrow and give everything to try and win.

Afterwards Judd Trump said that he felt the pace of the game impacted upon his performance.

Trump said: “It is hard and draining. When you are sat there you try to get some momentum going. If you get among the balls you start rushing and end up missing.

“Recently I haven’t really been enjoying it. It is hard to enjoy the games you lose. But, I think it is important just to get over it as soon as possible and not dwell on the loss. It is easy to sit here and moan about how slow he was, but I had my chances and just didn’t take them.

Neil Robertson beat John Higgins (Worldsnooker):

Neil Robertson stormed to a 6-3 win over John Higgins to reach the final of the Dafabet Scottish Open in Glasgow.

The Thunder from Down Under put on an electrifying display of break building power to build a crucial lead early on in the match. He’s now made 10 centuries this week, putting him one behind the tally of 11 clocked up last year by inaugural winner of the event Marco Fu.

Robertson goes into tomorrow’s final with China’s Cao Yupeng in the knowledge that regardless of the outcome, he will instantly return to the world’s top 16. He dropped to 20th in the rankings last week in York and as a result will miss next month’s Masters.

The showpiece clash will be the Australian’s first ranking final in over a year, the last being the 2016 Riga Masters where he lifted the title. However, he did win the invitational Hong Kong Masters earlier in this campaign.

Higgins will be disappointed not to cash in on a stunning 5-0 victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan yesterday evening to reach the last four. However, it’s another deep run on home turf for the Scot, following last year where he surged all the way to the final before losing out to Fu.

Robertson came charging out of the blocks this evening with breaks of 117, 65, 74 and 134 to go 4-0 ahead at the mid-session interval.

When the players returned the atmosphere in the arena began to build as the home crowd willed Higgins on to force his way back into the tie. The 42-year-old responded by winning three frames on the bounce to pull within one at 4-3.

However, from there the 12-time ranking event winner steadied himself and got over the line with breaks of 56 and 70.

The way I started in the first four frames was probably the best I have ever played, in terms of who I was against and the occasion,” said the Triple Crown winner.”With the hard work I have put in during the last couple of months I think I have taken my game to a new level. It is just about doing it on a consistent basis in tournaments.

“I don’t think any player looks at my position in the rankings and says that is where I am at now. At the UK Championship it took a huge effort from Mark Joyce to beat me. The game is there and in the last two months it has been fantastic. My long potting has been really good and I think that is the most important thing. I needed to get back to being deadly and clearing when my hand is on the table.

“I thought a a few years ago that Cao Yupeng was going to be the next best Chinese player after Ding. He tried to tweak with a few technical things and fell off the radar. It is good to see him back playing well. He has had a dream week to make a 147 and get to his first final.

Afterwards Higgins felt that he was outplayed and said he said that Robertson was now a big favourite to lift the title tomorrow.

The better man won. It really felt like a 6-0 or a 6-1 there. He was dominant and the chances I got were more down to his misses. I got totally outplayed and have to hold my hands up,” said the 29-time ranking winner.”I didn’t get a sniff until 4-0. He was flying around the table with his long potting.”

“Cao has done great this week and it was brilliant for him to make the 147 earlier in the tournament, every credit to him. However, I think Neil will be too strong  in the final.

 

So that’s Neil Robertson provisionally back in the top 16, just one week after dropping out of it, and that week cost him the Masters… It’s a shame, but of course, cut-off points have to be set at some dates and there will allways be someone for whom it’s too late or too early.

Neil Robertson will be a massive favorite today, he’s got the pedigree, he’s been there and done it, and, of course, after all the issues himself and his family had to face over the last two years, it would be a great conclusion of the year. But Cao has impressed me, his safety game has been excellent and his temperament solid as well. He shouldn’t be taken lightly.

 

Scottish Open 2017 – QF

Yesterday saw all four QF played in Glasgow and today will see Neil Robertson take on John Higgins whilst Judd Trump wil play Cao Yupeng. Cao is the suprise package in this one and he hasn’t done much in the recent years but those who have been following snooker for some time will remember how brilliant he was when he first appeared on the tour. He’s only 27… he still can fulfill these early promises. Should be interesting!

Here are the QF reports on Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session:

Neil Robertson came through a 5-4 victor after an enthralling and high quality clash with China’s world number 34 Xiao Guodong.

The Australian Triple Crown winner can secure an immediate return to the world’s top 16 if he were to lift the title this week. He dropped down to 20thin the rankings after an agonising 6-5 defeat against Mark Joyce at last week’s UK Championship.

Despite losing out by the narrowest of margins today, two-time ranking event finalist Xiao can reflect positively on his best run of the season so far.

The pair went blow for blow and there were no frames without a contribution of over fifty. The 2013 Shanghai Masters finalist got the opening frame on the board thanks to a cool and composed break of 63. Robertson responded, before Xiao regained the lead at 2-1.

Robertson then sprung into gear. Back to back breaks of 114 and 128 saw him take the lead for the first time at 3-2. However, he couldn’t shake off Xiao who restored parity.

Another century break of 118 saw Robertson move one from victory, but he was again pegged back. In the deciding frame the 35-year-old forced himself over the line with a  brilliant run of 79. He will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or John Higgins in the last four.

“Sometimes I was thinking to myself is this guy going to fade away or what? That is the standard of snooker these days,” said Robertson. “If I had lost that match it would have been a real head scratcher. I didn’t really do anything wrong at all, so I am over the moon with the result.

“The most important thing is that I am playing very well.  If I keep this up, then I am bound to pick up a trophy or two before the end of the season.

“If I play Ronnie tomorrow the crowd will be against me. If I play John the crowd will be against me. It will just be an amazing occasion to face either player.”

Judd Trump surged past home favourite Stephen Maguire 5-2 and book his spot in the last four.

The Ace in the Pack has already claimed ranking silverware this season after defending his title at the European Masters in Belgium. Today he played the more assured snooker and top scored with a break of 102.

Trump said: “It was a tough game in the end. Even though it was only 5-2. I am very happy to have got over the line when I did.

“He lost his head early on so I was just trying to keep on and keep playing like I did and not make it too easy for him.”

Evening session:

John Higgins put on a spectacular display to demolish Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-0 and delight his home Glaswegian crowd at the Dafabet Scottish Open.

The pair form one of the most iconic rivalries in the sport, having faced each other on 65 occasions including World Championship and Masters finals. They’ve won 60 ranking titles between them and have tasted Triple Crown glory 27 times combined.

In 2016 Higgins won another blockbuster Scottish Open clash against O’Sullivan at the same stage. He came through a 5-2 winner during his run to the final, where he was denied the title by an inspired Marco Fu. The Scot prevailed again tonight, whitewashing O’Sullivan for the first time since the 1994 Grand Prix.

However, 29-time ranking winner Higgins had previously endured a torrid 2017/18 record against the Rocket, having lost all four of their meetings up to today, including a 6-0 loss at the Champion of Champions in Coventry.

The Wizard produced a spellbinding showing of break building power this evening, which included three consecutive century breaks. He compiled runs of 55, 109, 117 and 105 to move 4-0 ahead. O’Sullivan then led 60-0 in the fifth frame before a trademark clearance of 72 from Higgins saw him home.

The four-time World Champion now continues his quest to go one better than last year and etch his name on the Stephen Hendry trophy. He faces a semi-final meeting with Neil Robertson tomorrow night.

Higgins said: “I lost quite heavily the last couple of times I played Ronnie. I was really trying my hardest tonight in front of all my friends and family.

“It was a brilliant atmosphere when we came out with Deacon Blue playing and everything. Ronnie then came out and had a great support as well. It felt like a football match and these are special occasions to play in.

ronnie-1024x683

Afterwards O’Sullivan, who has remarkably won three ranking titles in the last two months, was keen to heap praise on his opponent.

The five-time World Champion said: “He is a class act and an amazing player. He has touch, power and skill. If you were going to build a snooker player, then you would build John.

“I’ve entered seven tournaments this season and if I had done well in one of then then I would have been happy. However, I’ve done well in four or five, so I have achieved more than I thought I would and it will be nice to get a break now.

Cao Yupeng reached his second ranking semi-final of the campaign thanks to a 5-3 defeat of Ricky Walden

The 27-year-old from China, who made a 147 earlier this week, will now face the same man he met in the European Masters semi-finals earlier this season, Judd Trump.

Cao said: “I feel I’ve been cueing well and my long potting is good. It is about keeping my emotions under control and not letting any mistakes impact on my mindset.

“It will be my second semi-final of the season and I will face the same player. It will be a big occasion.”

It clearly wasn’t Ronnie’s night, he made unexpected mistakes early and was kept off the table by a brilliant opponent. And, of course, although Ronnie would never use that as an excuse, tiredness probably played a part. After making it to five finals in two months 1/2, 2 in China, 3 in  UK and winning 3 of them, 1 in China, 2 in UK including a “Major”, it was always going to catch up with him at some point. Shame it had to be yesterday night as there wasn’t really a match for the fans … the ES  pundits hit the nail on the head during the midsession.

here are the stats … pretty damning.

ScottishOpen2017ROSQFQstats

Videos of interest:

The preview:

The match:

The midsession:

and on a lighter note …

Ronnie made another tongue-in-cheek manifesto (shared on twitter by ES UK)

And visited the FC Celtic facilities with Desmond Kane (shared by ES UK on facebook)

Scottish Open 2017 – Last 32 + Last 16

Yesterday, we had two rounds played to completion in Glasgow, the last 32 and the last 16, and here is how the QFs pan out:

Quarter-final Lineup

1pm

Neil Robertson vs Xiao Guodong

NB 2pm

Judd Trump vs Stephen Maguire

7pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs John Higgins

Ricky Walden vs Cao Yupeng

This is the Last 16 report on Worldsnooker:

John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan both progressed in Glasgow to set up a mouth watering quarter-final clash at the Dafabet Scottish Open.

Higgins came through the day’s action without dropping a frame, as he whitewashed Gerard Greene 4-0, before beating Ashley Hugill by the same 4-0 scoreline.

The Scot wasn’t at his fluent best this evening, but did compile runs of 52 and 66 on his way to victory in front of a packed out home crowd.

The continuation of the Higgins and O’Sullivan rivalry  will see the Wishaw cueman seeking to overcome a recent record which has seen him lose all four of the pair’s clashes so far this season.

I think tomorrow will be the only time from playing Ronnie around the world, that the majority of the fans will be on my side,” said the four-time World Champion. “He has an army of fans everywhere and has a great support up here in Scotland. That will add to the atmosphere.

“The last couple of games I played against him I haven’t turned up and it was easy for him. I am definitely going to need to up my game.

“You can always dream and always hope. If I bring my best game then there could be a chance of me taking the title this week.

O’Sullivan negotiated the challenge of world number 26 and Paul Hunter Classic champion Michael White 4-1 in his last 16 tie.

The Rocket composed breaks of 92 and 75 on his way to the win. He is relishing the prospect of tomorrow evening’s clash with Higgins.

The 18-time Triple Crown event winner said: “It will be an unbelievable atmosphere tomorrow night. A quarter-final with John being a local boy. It should be fun.

ScottishOpen2017ROSL16-1The Scottish have a great snooker knowledge. They love their own players, but they appreciate the other guys. John will have the bulk of the support, but that will make it a great occasion.

Scotland’s Stephen Maguire is still in contention for home glory after he defeated Chinese teenagers Yan Bingtao and Xu Si 4-3 and 4-1 respectively.

The five-time ranking winner hasn’t tasted silverware since 2013. However, after a fine showing last week in reaching the UK Championship semi-finals, he looks to be in a strong position to contend for a first ranking win in four years.

It gets harder now. Everyone has a chance once you get to the quarter-finals,” said Maguire. “It would almost be too special to win the Scottish Open. I’m not going to get my hopes up too much.

He will face an enticing last eight meeting with eight-time ranking event winner Judd Trump, who battled past Elliot Slessor 4-3.

Ricky Walden progressed to the 20th ranking quarter-final of his career after a hard fought 4-3 win over Rory McLeod. Walden now meets Cao Yupeng, who whitewashed Leicester’s Tom Ford to reach the last eight.

Neil Robertson produced an impressive four-frame burst to overturn David Grace 4-2. The Thunder from Down Under compiled breaks of 69, 102 and 124 as he stormed to victory. He will meet Xiao Guodong for a place in the last four after the 28-year-old ended Marco Fu’s title defence with a 4-3 win.

Videos of interest – Ronnie beats Michael White by 4-1:

The preview:

The match:

The review:

 

 

Scottish Open 2017 – Ronnie books his place in the last 16

Ronnie looked extremely tired this afternoon, he even fell asleep briefly in his chair,  but somehow still managed to beat Li Hang, who was playing well, by 4-3. Ronnie made century n° 920 in the process.

ScottishOpen2017ROSL32-nap

He will now face Michael White tonight in the last 16 … let’s hope that he can get some rest and come back refreshed. If he manages to win, he is likely to play John Higgins tomorrow. If he doesn’t win, well, it might actually be for the best as he will have a bit more time to rest before the German Masters qualifiers next week. Whatever happens he’s been doing extremely well over the last two months.

The preview:

The match:

The match review, with Ronnie talking snooze:

 

Scottish Open 2017 – Round of 64

The round of last 32 was played yesterday to completion in Glasgow and most favourites went through, although Ali Carter, Liang Wenbo, Joe Perry and Anthony McGill were defeated.

Here is the report on the day by Worldsnooker

Neil Robertson missed out on Masters qualification last week, but continued his quest to bounce back today with a 4-2 defeat of Liam Highfield at the Dafabet Scottish Open in Glasgow.

The Australian was pipped to the final spot at snooker’s most prestigious invitational event by Ryan Day’s performance at the UK Championship.

World number 20 Robertson misses out on the Masters for the first time in 11 years, but having already tasted silverware this season at the Hong Kong Masters, the Triple crown winner isn’t short on form.

Robertson compiled runs of 138 and 89 to move 2-0 up this afternoon. However, 27-year-old Highfield showed his resolve to hit back and level at 2-2. From there Robertson forced himself over the line to book a last 32 clash against Scotland’s Chris Totten.

Robertson said: “It was a good game in the end. I made a break of 138 in the first frame and then made 89 at the first opportunity in the next. A lot of players would have crumbled under that pressure, but Liam fought really well.

“I’m really enjoying playing at the moment. I think I showed that at the UK Championship. Every time I get in the balls I look like I am going to clear the table. It is just about being a little bit tidier in the scrappy frames.

John Higgins admits that he has a ‘good feeling’ about capturing the Stephen Hendry Trophy this week, as he kept his campaign going with a 4-1 win over Christopher Keogan.

The Scot was in blistering form this afternoon, as he narrowly missed out on winning all of his frames with century breaks. He fired in contributions of 144, 138 and 108, before breaking down on 85 as he stormed past the line.

Higgins said: “I have got a decent feeling. Last year I was probably playing better and that is maybe why I gott into the final. You can sometimes just go to venues and have a good feeling about things. I’m hoping it is me this week.

“I was disappointed not to clear up at the end and make it four centuries. It would have been good to do.

ScottishOpen2017ROSL64-1

The Rocket has been in sublime form this season, having already won ranking silverware at the Dafabet English Open, Shanghai Masters and last week’s UK Championship.

A win this week would see him win four ranking titles in a single season for the first time in his career and he would have achieved it in the space of just two months.

O’Sullivan put on a superb display this afternoon, compiling runs of 112, 72, 80 and 101 to delight the Glasgow crowd and book his spot in the next round. However, he feels that he still has room for improvement.

I’m treating these matches like practise games. I’m trying to work on a few technical things to get my game back to a more consistent level,” said the 18-time Triple Crown winner. “You can’t perfect your game but you can always increase your chances of having good cue ball control. It doesn’t just get there, you have to instruct the cue ball to go where you want.

Judd Trump saw off the challenge of Sam Craigie to book his place in the last 32 with a  4-2 win. While Scotland’s Stephen Maguire kept his name in contention with a 4-2 defeat of Hamza Akbar.

Ding Junhui progressed as he continued his quest to put a shock UK Championship defeat to Leo Fernandez to bed. He defeated Chris Wakelin 4-2.

Regarding Ronnie’s match, the only thing that worries me a bit is that, just like in the previous round, he rarely was first in. He punished his opponent mistakes rather that created the occasions for himself to get in. But of course, having read the quotes above, and given that he must be very tired, it’s a choice he makes, confident that he will get opportunities. Not sure Li Hang will give him that many today though …

ScottishOpen2017ROSL64Win

The match preview:

The match:

The match review:

And Ronnie did both punditry and commentary yesterday as well.

ScottishOpen2017ROSWatching

He commentated with David Hendon on Judd Trump vs Sam Craigie

What I found really good in their commentary, other than the professional insight on what happened at the table, is that they focused on the positive of both players, and they didn’t feel the need for idle babbling when there was nothing interesting to tell about the unfolding action.

Here are the preview (with a short Ronnie feature) and review of this match:

and there is more here

 

 

The German Masters 2018 Qualifiers – Draw and Format

The German Masters 2018 Qualifiers Draw and Format have been published by Worldsnooker

The draw and format for the qualifying rounds of the 2018 D88 German Masters is now available.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The qualifiers run from December 19 to 22 at the Barnsley Metrodome. All players must win two matches to make it through to the final stages at the Tempodrom in Berlin, which run from January 31 to February 4.

Entry for the qualifiers is FREE with fans given access to the arena on a first-come first-served basis.

For tickets to the final stages in Berlin click here 

Ronnie will play his first match against Rory McLeod on December 20 in the evening. Should he win, he will play again on December 22, in the afternoon against Ian Preece or Niu Zhuang.

The Masters 2018 – Draw and Format

The Masters 2018 Draw and Format were published by Worldsnooker today

The draw and format for all rounds of the 2018 Dafabet Masters is now available. The tournament will run from January 14 to 21 at Alexandra Palace in North London.

Click here for the Masters draw

Click here for the Masters format

Ronnie O’Sullivan will begin the defence of his Dafabet Masters title against Marco Fu on Tuesday January 16 at 1pm.

If O’Sullivan wins his opening match he’ll face Luca Brecel or Mark Allen in the quarter-finals on Thursday January 18 at 1pm.

World Champion Mark Selby has been drawn against two-time Masters king Mark Williams, and that will be the opening match of the tournament on Sunday January 14 at 1pm.

Judd Trump will take on Chinese ace Liang Wenbo while John Higgins faces an all-Scottish clash with Masters debutant Anthony McGill.

Tickets for many sessions have already sold out, including the final, semi-finals and first round matches involving O’Sullivan and Selby. However tickets for other sessions including the quarter-finals on Thursday January 18 and Friday January 19 are still available. For ticket details click here

The Dafabet Masters is one of snooker’s Triple Crown events, with a rich history dating back to 1975.

First round draw:

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marco Fu (Tuesday January 16 at 1pm)
Mark Allen v Luca Brecel (Sunday January 14 at 7pm)
John Higgins v Anthony McGill (Wednesday January 17 at 7pm)
Ding Junhui v Ryan Day (Monday January 15 at 1pm)
Judd Trump v Liang Wenbo (Monday January 15 at 7pm)
Shaun Murphy v Ali Carter (Wednesday January 17 at 1pm)
Barry Hawkins v Kyren Wilson (Tuesday January 16 at 7pm)
Mark Selby v Mark Williams (Sunday January 14 at 1pm)