WILLIAMS FIGHTBACK STUNS DING
MARK Williams produced a stunning fightback to beat Ding Junhui and move into the semi finals at the World Open.
Trailing 2-0 Williams needed to do what no one had done throughout the week here in Glasgow and win the remaining three frames after Ding had dominated the early exchanges.
Ding had opened with a quickfire 81 to take the first frame and soon went 2-0 up thanks to a contribution of 45. Williams forced to sit in his seat and watch as Ding then made sure of the frame when Williams took on a long red and missed. Even worse was to come for Mark when the red shot up to the top end of the table and ended in a pottable position. Just that one red and a pink was necessary for Ding to leave Mark staring defeat in the face.
But then the match turned as Ding erred on a long red to the corner. Mark, finally at the table with a chance made 40 before trying to delicately cut a red in from off the top cushion, only to miss. The red was left hanging over the jaws, with all of the other reds in accessible positions. Ding tried to play another red on to the one in the jaws but amazingly missed. With a lead of 50-14 and two reds left Ding found himself back at the table with a chance to counter with a long red to the corner. As the ball wobbled in the jaws so the tide had turned. Ding had missed his chance of reaching the semi finals.
Williams dominated the fourth frame without making any high breaks. Three runs in the 20s were to prove enough as Williams levelled the match at 2-2.
Ding’s body language had changed. He now wore the expression of a man who feared the worst. A 49 from Mark did the significant damage in the decider, and with only two reds left on the table Ding saw one last chance go begging when he missed a green to the centre. Williams stepped in and knocked in the red he needed to record a 3-2 victory in two hours.
EBDON EASES INTO LAST FOUR
PETER Ebdon eased his way into the semi finals after a 3-1 against Martin Gould.
Ebdon, the world number 17 looked more relaxed than he did against Liu Song and it showed in his semi final here against Gould who will surely be rewarded with a significant move up the rankings after his performance this week in Glasgow.
It was tough matchplay snooker from Ebdon as without making any sizeable breaks claimed the opener before Gould levelled the match in a tactical second frame that saw the Londoner take advantage of a loose safety shot to hammer home a 56 break.
Ebdon looked to be fully in control of frame three as he led 60-37 before falling victim to a Gould snooker on the blue. Leaving the cueball tight against the blue Gould extracted the five penalty points he needed as Ebdon missed and left Gould with a blue to the corner. Lashing in the blue Gould cleared pink and black to force a re-spotted black. Ebdon left the black and the cue ball on either side cushion, which gave Martin the tempting prospect of a double. Taking the double on Martin saw the black miss and trundle up the table towards the baulk end with the cue ball firmly anchored to the top cushion. Taking a deep breath Ebdon powered in the black and effectively decided the outcome of the match.
The fourth frame unfolded in the same vein as the first before Ebdon struck the killer blow. Drawing the cue ball away from the remaining reds he sent it up to the baulk end where it nestled in behind the yellow. As Martin looked for an escape route to ensure he did not leave the final red on he saw the cue ball slip past the reds and round the back of one to leave it in a pottable position.
Rising from his chair Ebdon proceeded to dispatch the red and finish off the match with a 77, his best break of the match. For Ebdon this means a return to the top 16, and also a place in the last four of the inaugural World Open.
O’SULLIVAN ROCKETS PAST MAGUIRE
RONNIE O’Sullivan stormed past Stephen Maguire into the last four of the World Open.
But lift off for the Rocket was to be delayed for a frame and a half as Stephen Maguire succeeded in subduing Ronnie with a break of 58 that gave him the first frame and then swiftly went 46-0 up in frame two only to miss a red to the centre. It was to cost him the match as Maguire was not to pot another ball.
Pouncing on a red to the middle Ronnie grabbed his chance and with consumate ease rolled in a 81. It was enough to knock Maguire into submission as the Scotsman wilted as Ronnie cranked up the pressure. A long red to the corner in frame three sounded an ominous warning to Stephen and Ronnie followed with a 116 to put himself one frame from victory.
A break of 62 did the damage in the fourth frame – though Ronnie still exercising discretion played safe. But it was merely delaying the inevitable as Ronnie completed victory with another 62 to set up a semi final with Peter Ebdon.
ROBERTSON SEES OFF WALDEN
NEIL Robertson proved too strong for Ricky Walden as he dispatched the Englishman 3-1 to enter his first ranking event semi final of the season.
The Australian took the first frame after a long red let him in for a frame winning break of 70, and swiftly went 2-0 up when Ricky, digging down on the cue ball on a safety shot only succeeded in scattering the reds over the table. A gift for Neil, and he duly helped himself to a break of 46 before breaking down. Robertson though was soon to get another crack at finishing the frame off when Walden missed a pink off its spot. This time there was to be no let off for Englishman as Robertson fired in a 53 to lead 2-0.
Walden, though fought bravely and succeeded in keeping Australian quiet in the third frame with breaks of 31 and 36 to reduce his arrears to 2-1. But it was all to no avail as Robertson lashed in a long red from baulk to build a match winning break of 78 to set up a semi final with fellow left hander Mark Williams.
O’SULLIVAN DISMISSES EBDON CHALLENGE
RONNIE O’Sullivan eased past Peter Ebdon 3-1 to book his place in the final of the World Open.
Ronnie, fresh from his destruction of Stephen Maguire last night looked relaxed throughout and crucially in addition to outpotting Ebdon outhought him to win the tactical battle and take the opening frame.
It must have been a massive boost to the Rocket – and a hammer blow to Ebdon. And it was to get even worse for Peter as Ronnie rammed in a long red and stroked in a 135 – just failing on the black when he ran out of position. But every player is human and Ronnie is no exception as he missed a brown to the centre to hand Peter a lifeline. Grabbing it Peter rolled in a mid length red and made as 69 to stay in the match.
But it was to no avail as Ebdon missed a brown to the corner and handed Ronnie first chance in the fourth. As Ronnie drilled in a long red from the baulk line he knocked in an opening effort of 47 – there surely would have been more to come had he not knocked in a red as well as potting the pink.
Peter though was unable to make the most of his chance and could only make 15 before missing a red to the corner. And as Ronnie increased the pressure on Ebdon by snookering him on the remianing reds behind the blue in baulk so Ebdon’s resistance finally broke. He needed six attempts to extricate himself but in the process left himself needing a snooker. And when Ronnie knocked in the final red the end was in sight. The yellow soon followed and with it so did a handshake from Peter.
ROBERTSON REVIVAL STUNS WILLIAMS
NEIL Robertson completed a stunning recovery to beat Mark Williams 3-2 in a match that saw the “miss” rule brought sharply into focus.
In a tight opening frame Robertson had a chance to make inroads into a 56-37 points lead for the Welshman when he cracked in a long red. But with no colour available to pot Neil was forced to play safe and try and snooker Mark behind the yellow. To stunned observers he missed the yellow and soon found himself in deeper trouble when Williams, who had been awarded a free ball promptly tucked Neil up behind the blue in a vicious snooker. Try as he may Neil could not make contact with the solitary red that was just off the side cushion. Referee, Jan Verhaas left with no alternative but to call a miss on each of the six attempts that Neil made. The sixth left the world champion needing a snooker, which he was not to get.
Putting that out of ones head is easier said than done, and Neil was given plenty of opportunity to sit and reflect on it as Williams banged in a long red to made 81 to lead 2-0 and leave himself one frame from victory. But Robertson, who may well have been seething was not about to give the match up without a fight as breaks of 22 and 68 help him to stay in contention. Williams had proven in his match against Ding Junhui that 2-0 down was retrievable. Was he now to become a victim of an identical recovery at the hands of Robertson?
An opening 29 from Robertson came to an end when he left himself obscured from the potting angle on the red, but Williams now, restricted to mid length opportunities at best compounded a string of errors which culminated in him leaving the cue ball among the reds at close range. From that position Neil ran in an easy starter and compiled a run of 101 to level the match at 2-2 and send the match into a final frame shootout.
And it was a grimly determined Neil Robertson who capitalised on Williams’s glaring error when an attempt on a cuttable red to the corner ended in failure for the Welshman. Stepping in Robertson despatched an easy red and made a match winning break of 80 to seal victory and set up a final showdown with Ronnie O’Sullivan.
ROBERTSON THRASHES O’SULLIVAN IN GLASGOW
NEIL Robertson stormed to the inaugural World Open title in Glasgow with a 5-1 mauling of Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Robertson, who had only just staggered into the final after edging past Mark Williams in his semi final kept O’Sullivan rooted to his chair after winning a fluctuating opening frame. It was O’Sullivan who got the first chance when Robertson left a red sitting in the jaws of the pocket. The Rocket though was sent back to his seat when in potting a red he went in off. From there Neil grabbed the final by the scruff of the neck and made 43. Giving him a lead of 63 -43 Neil then kept the pressure firmly on the Rocket with a safety. Ronnie’s escape though was to leave the world champion with a simple green and Robertson made no mistake.
Growing in confidence Robertson then left Ronnie pointless in the second frame as he powered in a long red, and with the cue ball seemingly on a piece of string fired in a 107 to leave Ronnie wondering what he had to do to stop the onslaught that he was being subjected to.
But Robertson was to err in the third frame when he broke down on 18. He then lost a tactical battle as Ronnie faced with the reds clustered on the side cushion picked out one that would go to the corner. As he clipped the red in O’Sullivan progressed to 72 so the deficit became 2-1.
The Rocket was also in good position in the fourth frame but a kick on the pink put paid to any hopes of a sizeable break that he may have been entertaining. Instead the chance was to pass to Robertson who fired in a 59 to wrap up the frame and go into the interval with a 3-1 lead. Resuming the Australian went 4-1 up when O’Sullivan missed a red to the centre. Robertson, striding round the table with increasing confidence carved out a 66 to put himself one frame from victory.
And the end wasn’t slow in coming as a 30 swiftly left Ronnie’s back to the wall. Cornered the Rocket began to misfire, missing an easy red on 44 to allow Robertson a return to the table. Drilling in a straight red the Australian prepared the coup de grace as he stroked in a 29 to seal a 5-1 victory and with it a 100,000 first prize. The Australian now sits on top of the world rankings and holds both the world title and the world open. The Aussie who won the Grand Prix in Glasgow last year now has the world at his feet.
Suzy Jardine, Glasgow