Day 4 in the Home Nations is always very busy, with two full rounds – Last 32 and Last 16 – played to completion.
I missed always all the action because I was traveling back from Athens to Brussels.
Shaun Murphy scored one of his best wins of the season so far, beating Kyren Wilson 4-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Glasgow.
Triple Crown winner Murphy has had a difficult start to this campaign, having succumbed to six first round defeats. However, the 2005 World Champion has started to show signs of a return to form this week, especially in tonight’s victory.
By contrast world number ten Wilson has enjoyed a strong first half of the 2018/19 campaign and claimed back-to-back titles at the Paul Hunter Classic and Six Red World Championship three months ago. However, it was Murphy who edged a tightly contested tie this evening.
There was a high standard of play when the match got underway, with each of the first four frames being won with a break of over 50. Murphy ensured that those frames were shared thanks to a sublime contribution of 124 in the fourth to make it 2-2.
Wilson then moved one from victory. However, it was 36-year-old Murphy who won the final two frames, including a break of 82 in the decider, to progress.
Murphy said: “Kyren has been building his reputation and he now comes into every tournament as one of the players you talk about. While he has been building that reputation, I have sort of been on sabbatical. I feel like I have been in the jungle for the best part of a year or so. However, that feels like a big win for me. I am holding back on calling it a turning point in my season, but it was an important result.”
Alfie Burden secured one of the biggest wins of his career so far, defeating Scotland’s four-time World Champion John Higgins 4-2 on home turf.
Burden came within a frame of falling off the tour at the end of last season. He narrowly kept his card after beating David Gilbert 10-9 in a crunch game at World Championship qualifying. Burden has shown similar levels of tenacity this week, winning two matches 4-3 from 3-0 down.
“It feels amazing. John is the best player, alongside Ronnie O’Sullivan, to have ever played the game,” said Burden. “I just kept fighting, like I have done all week. Those wins from 3-0 down have given me the mentality to never give up whatever happens. It is not easy to do that when you have John Higgins sitting in the other chair, but you have to blank that out and try to take your chances.”
Up next Burden will face Mark Allen, who downed Scotland’s 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott 4-2 to book his place in the quarter-finals.
The Pistol is coming fresh off his run to last weekend’s UK Championship final, where he lost out 10-6 to Ronnie O’Sullivan and he will be hoping to go one step further this weekend.
Judd Trump is through to the quarters after a 4-1 win over Ian Burns. The Ace in the Pack, who recently won the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, has only conceded two frames over the course of the week.
Ryan Day and Daniel Wells both won to secure an all-Welsh last eight meeting. Day saw off Asian number one Ding Junhui 4-2, while Wells whitewashed his good friend Matthew Stevens 4-0.
Sam Baird defeated four-time ranking event winner Ali Carter 4-3 to clinch his place in the quarters and Stuart Carrington also secured his spot in the last eight line-up after beating Tian Pengfei in a deciding frame 4-3.
As I wrote above, I saw very little, but what I saw was a couple of frames of the Murphy-Wilson match. I’m quite puzzled to read that this was a “high quality” encounter. Yes, in both frame I watched, one of the players eventually made a telling break, but before getting to that point, and after when for snookers, both made a lot of mistakes, some quite baffling for players of their caliber. Kyren looked badly out of sorts, and Shaun played some real stinkers.
Ronnie is back on the couch and commentating on matches.
The first one contains a chat with Ronnie about his UK Championship win and the reasons why he withdrew from this tournament.
If you are interested in Ronnie’s commentary, here are two links