English Open 2017 – Day 4

Day 4 in Barnsley was even more eventful than the previous ones. We had some very surprising results indeed.

Last 32:

Yan Bingtao beat Liang Wenbo, the defending champion by 4-0. The match was actually very close judging by the frames scores but for Liang who yesterday hit a 147, not to win a single frame was a bit unexpected. Unless of course he celebrated the 147, and the £40000 coming with it a bit too much … (just joking here).

Mark Williams was outplayed by Jack Lisowski, who had 4 breaks over 50 in beating Mark by 4-2. Didn’t see that coming the way “Willo” was playing recently. Mark was full of praise for Jack afterwards.

Michael White beat Ben Wollaston by 4-0 with four breaks over 50. Again it’s more the manner than the result itself that’s surprising here!

James Wattana and Alexander Ursenbacker both progressed: those two are at opposite “ends” of their career. There is still some strenghts in the Thaiphoon!

Hossein Vafaei beat Stuart Bingham on the last black in a decider. Hossein had been 3-0 up only for Stuart to peg him back to 3-3. Hossein probably thought he had blown it and his roar of delight when potting the winning black told how much it mattered to him.

Xiao Guodong beat Mark Selby by 4-1, a comprehensive score. Selby’s form hasn’t really be there this season (yet), and they were on an outside table, but still a surprising scoreline.

Last 16:

Jack Lisowski, Hossein Vafaei, Alexander Ursenbacker and Michael White all confirmed their good form by progressing the QF. In the process Alexander beat Shaun Murphy very comprehensively, by 4-1. Jack beat his good mate Judd Trump, in a deciding frame. Jack in fact leads Judd in the head-to-head.

With Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill also progressing, that’s 6 players born in the 90th in the QF. Good to see!

All detailed results are on Cuetracker

Interviews with Jack Lisowki, Hossein Vafaei, Michael White and more can be found on this youtube channel

About Ronnie’s wins and the floor invasion incident, read here.

 

Ronnie returns to Lincoln next February

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And once again, he will support WDBS, World Disability Billiard and Snooker as you can read in the local press.

Ronnie O’Sullivan to return to Lincoln – how you can see the ‘The Rocket’ in action

The five-time world champion hit a 147 during his previous appearance in the city

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Nigel Coton is a – very good  disabled player himself and a regular at WDBS events.

Circumstances permitting, I will be there taking pictures both days.

World Open 2017 – Ding is your champion!

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Ding Junhui won his 13th ranking title beating Kyren Wilson by 10-3 in a surprisingly one-sided match.

Read  here the report by Worlsnooker

Ding Junhui stormed to a 10-3 victory over Kyren Wilson to win the Yushan World Open and claim his 13th ranking title.

The win comes 12 years on from Ding’s maiden tournament victory, which he secured by beating Stephen Hendry as a teenager at the 2005 China Open. He has now won 13 of 18 appearances in ranking finals.

Victory in Yushan carries great significance for China’s top star, seeing him move to number two in the world rankings after claiming the £150,000 top prize. Ding has also now progressed to sixth on the all-time list of ranking titles won. In the process he has overtaken Mark Selby and Neil Robertson, who both have 12 to their name.

Wilson’s third ranking final didn’t go the way he would have hoped. His first and only win to date came at the 2015 Shanghai Masters, where he defeated Judd Trump in a 10-9 thriller. Today’s encounter proved to be a more one sided affair.

It was the opening part of the first session where Ding seized the initiative and did much of the damage. The 30-year-old went on a five frame blitz to move into a 6-1 lead. However, Wilson did respond by compiling runs of 104 and 66 to make it 6-3 and give himself hope going into the evening.

The Warrior failed to carry his momentum into the final session. Ding snatched back control of the game, displaying his break building power with consecutive runs of 67, 69, 71 and 54 to move to the verge of victory. The 12th frame came down to the final pink, which Ding eventually deposited to get over the line and claim the title.

Following the victory Ding, who has now won six ranking events in China, admitted it is extra special to claim victory in front of his fans.

Ding said: “The home crowd always supports me in the same way as it does with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the UK. That makes a big difference. You can see that some players don’t like it, but you have to learn how to deal with it. I found it difficult in the first few years in the UK, but it is about learning.

“I’ve been playing well all week. I’ve really been focused in this event. I’m happy to have played the way I did. I felt good coming into the last session. I won the first three, it got a bit twitchy in the last frame but I came through. The score was a bit misleading, but I didn’t feel too much pressure. I just played my game.”

Wilson praised his opponent for capitalising from his slow start and stamping his authority on the tie.

“Throughout the match, anything I did seemed to backfire and go wrong. I was just playing catch up from the word go. Ding being the class act he is took advantage of that and was very hard to stop,” said the 25-year-old. “At 6-1 down you think it is a hell of a long way back, but to win those two good frames meant I was back in the game at 6-3. I just didn’t get off to a good enough start in the evening and he took full advantage.”

Congratulations to Ding!

As for Kyren, I’m certain he will bounce back and win more titles in the future. He’s too good not to.

 

The Bulgarian Tour 2017 – Burgas

Ronnie won the fourth and last leg of the Bulgarian Tour 2017, beating Stephen Hendry by 6-4. He wins the series by 3-1.

I was due back to Greece, and I missed the action. So there will be no pictures from me this time. Judging by images shared by Jason Francis on twitter, they had a hard day of preparation:

The match was played outdoor, which must have been nice in the Bulgarian weather, but very unusual. It has to be said, playing under the lights, when the outside temperature is near 30°C isn’t that great. On the previous days, both players came out of the arena totally wet through with sweat.

I haven’t seen the match (yet) obviously but if Jason Francis’ report on twitter is anything to go by, it was another high quality affair:

  • Outdoors tonight in Burgas, first time for everything

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  • 57 from Ronnie 1-0
  • Hendry 116 to go 1-1. Playing like a dream in the balls
  • Ros century 104 leads 2/1
  • 87 from Hendry and its 2-2 at the break. Great standard
  • Hendry goes 3-2 up but Ronnie 50 up in frame 6
  • 3/3 here in Burgas
  • Another century from 125 to lead 4-3

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  • 87 from Ronnie 4-4 now. Ridiculous standard here. Maybe outdoors is the future 😎
  • Ronnie 5-4
  • Ronnie wins 6-4 and takes the series 3/1

And some more pictures of the setup shared by Stephen Hendry on Instagram

And of the action, shared on twitter by fans

And here is the match:

I’m very happy that the series wasn’t one-sided. It would have been if Stephen had played like he did last season in Scunthorpe. But it’s obvious that he’s been working hard on his game and he will be a handful for everybody on the Seniors tour this season. It’s also great to see him enjoying the game again.

The Bulgarian Tour 2017 – Varna

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The Bulgarian Tour hit the beautiful city of Varna (picture shared by Jason Francis).

In the third leg, Ronnie beat Stephen Hendry by 6-4. The boys went serious last night as for each of them there was only one goal: to win. The result? A high quality encounter that got tense towards the end, Ronnie had two centuries, 107 and 100, Stephen hit breaks of 90 and 97.  They went for 3 maximum attempts between them too.  Ronnie built a 3-1 lead before the interval, but was pegged back to 4-4; he looked set to go 5-3 ahead when he potted the final black, only to go in-off and hand the frame to his opponent. Both made probably more mistakes in the last 2 frames than in the first 8, but it was Ronnie who prevailed eventually by 6-4.

Here are the pictures I took on the night:

Stephen Hendry played really well in Sofia and in Varna. He’s a totally different player now than he was last spring in Scunthorpe. He said on twitter last night that he enjoyed playing despite the defeat. That said, we shouldn’t expect a return to the main tour. Stephen was interviewed before the match yesterday and asked the question. The answer was immediate: a unequivocial NO. But he might play in the odd event if offered the opportunity.

Here is the match:

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/WIKpXUyd9HA?rel=0

The first part of the first frame is missing. Stephen was on a maxi attempt after knocking in a long red.

Tonight they will be in Burgas for the final leg. It will be either 2-2, in which case Oleg Velinov, the promoter might request a decider, or 3-1 to Ronnie. Your pick?

But before that, yesterday evening, it was time to relax…

The Bulgarian Tour 2017 – Sofia

Day 2 of the Bulgarian Tour 2017 started with a visit to the National stadium and a great lunch in Sofia, with friend Oleg Velinov and his family.

In the evening, things got serious as Ronnie and Hendry treated the fans to a great match. The venue was packed! It was Stephen Hendry who emerged the winner by 6-5.

Ronnie started well, with a century. But Stephen was determined to prove that he can still play, and prove it, he did! He won 4 frames on the trot to lead 4-1, with a 115 in frame 5 (it could have been a 142 TC). Ronnie responded with 69, to reduce his deficit, only for Stephen to restore his 3 frames advantage and lead 5-2. With his back against the wall, Ronnie produced and forced a decider. Ronnie was first in the decider, and lead by 64. He was on a maxi attempt (not for the first time that evening!). His only option to keep the break going at that stage was a tricky plant in a middle bag. He missed it. Stephen came to the table with 83 on and nothing really safe. He duly cleared with 78 to win.

This was by far the best Stephen has been playing for a very long time. It’s absolutely clear to me that his pride has been hurt by the poor performances he produced in the Seniors World Championship last season, and in exhibitions. I have no doubt that he is out to put things right! The competitive animal has woken up.

Ronnie on the other hand was clearly in exhibition mood. He went for I-don’t-know-how-many maxi attempts during the evening, at the expense of winning at all costs but to the delight of the crowd. He was also in a hurry … helping Desislava Boshilova to reset the balls between frames, and even taking the white gloves away from her and offering her his cue for the break-off. She left Stephen in an absolutely horrific situation! Both players signed autographs for the fans.

The probable reason for Ronnie’s “hurry” became clear to me when, after the match, his first word coming back to the player’s room was “food!”.  More pictures of food can be found on Ronnie’s instagram, along with some funny/silly selfies with matching comments.

Here are the pictures I took on the evening:

The match was streamed on sportal.bg so maybe the videos will become available later today. Watch this space.

Today, we all head to Varna for another great night of snooker.

The Bulgaria Tour 2017 – Plovdiv

Ronnie and Stephen Hendry arrived in Bulgaria yesterday for a 4 days tour.

Eleven30BulgariaPosterSept2017

They landed in Sofia, where they were made very welcome, before heading to Plovdiv for the first of four matches, played under the Eleven30 format (best of 11, 30 seconds shot-clock). Ronnie won by 6-1 but the players agreed to play some extra for the crowd.

Here are a few pictures taken at their arrival in Sofia and shared by Jason on Facebook.

There were about 1000 persons watching, more than in a packed Crucible, but they were seated in a 4000 capacity venue so it didn’t feel like a big crowd which is a bit of a pity.

The highlight of the evening was a 138 by Ronnie (well, a 131 in fact, as he went in-off). You can watch the second half of this break in this video shared by Jason on Facebook.

Ronnie had a 89 in frame 6 as well.

And, of course, the ref on duty was Bulgaria’s very own Proletina Velichova (pictures shared by Jacklina Simova)

 

Please check the comments section: great finds by krdlr! Thank you!