MCMANUS SURVIVES STEVENS FIGHTBACK
ALAN McManus squeezed past Matthew Stevens 3-2 to move into the last 16 of the World Open.
The Scotsman dominated the first two frames and went 2-0 up before Stevens finally got the the wake up call and launched a fightback which saw him roll in breaks of 52 and 45 to reduce his arreas to 2-1 before levelling the match at 2-2 with the help of a decisive 57.
McManus, who’s last round of last 16 berth came in the Northern Ireland trophy in 2008 where he lost to Stephen Maguire, was initally forced to sit and suffer in the decider as Stevens had the first chance making 35 before suffering a kick on the black that caused him to miss the following red into the centre pocket. Presented with a mid length red to the ‘yellow’ pocket McManus replied with 56 before overcutting the penultimate red to the corner. With the scores showing 56-35 in favour of the Scotsman McManus kept the pressure on Stevens by leaving him in trouble with the red and cue ball at opposite end of the table. As Stevens looked for a place of sanctuary to leave the red and cue ball he managed to concede 8 penalty points. McManus needed just the final red to make certain of a place in the last 16 – and so it arrived as Stevens bungled a safety shot that knocked the final red on into a pottable position. McManus needed no second invitation and sunk a straight red to the corner before accepting a concession from Stevens.
JOGIA GOES FOR A SONG
LUI Song booked his place in the draw for the last 16 of the World Open with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Joe Jogia.
The world number 88 from Beijing did not look troubled against Jogia, who while having his opportunities struggled to make the most of them. The first frame was to set the tone of the match as Jogia led 59-30 only to miss a red to the corner. Without batting an eyelid the bespectacled Chinese star cleared with 38 to lead 1-0.
Jogia was to have a much easier time in the second frame when he put together a decisive 79 to level the match but it was the third frame that effectively decided the result as both players began to make mistakes. Song was the first to err as he missed a black off its spot while on a break of 46. Jogia though couldn’t capitalise and failed on 27 when he ran out of position and was forced into playing safe. Song must have thought he was going 2-1 down to the world number 68 when he caught a safety far too thickly and let Jogia in. Inexpicably Jogia missed a straightforward red to the corner, and it was relieved Song who cleared up with 41.
There was to be no way back for Jogia as Song pressed home his advantage. And as Jogia wilted under the pressure in the arena Song cruised throught the fourth frame with a break of 107 to wrap up a 3-1 victory.
COPE SHATTERS HAROLD HOPES IN POTTERIES BATTLE
JAMIE Cope won the battle of Stoke in Glasgow as he grabbed a 3-2 victory over Dave Harold.
Beginning at breakneck speed Cope fired in a 78 to account for the first frame. Only for Harold to return the compliment with an effort of 94 to restore parity at 1-1.
Cope was soon back in his familiar routine of polishing off frames quickly as he fired in breaks of 35 and 31 to wrap up the third and lead 2-1. But then the tempo of the match changed. As Cope and Harold reached stalemate in a safety battle at the beginning of the fourth frame referee Michaela Tabb was soon racking the balls up again as both players agreed to a re-rack. This maybe allowed Harold a little more thinking time and fired in a quickfire 24 before missing a tricky red. Cope quickly replied with a 50. With the scores poised at 50-24 there were five reds left on the table both players were now struggling to string breaks together. As the scores inched along to 43 – 58 in favour of Cope it was Jamie who rattled a short red in the jaws of the ‘green’ pocket. With the red at his mercy Harold had no trouble in clearing up with a break of 45 to level the match at 2-2.
So to the decider and Cope’s initial 35 quickly put Harold under pressure and Harold was unable to take advantage of the chances he was receiving. Cope knew that with the cluster of reds on the bottom cushion a clearance from Dave would be doubly difficult. As Cope picked off the odd red in visits to the table so he inched closer to victory. With the scores showing 65-1 in Jamie’s favour Harold needed two snookers as he came to the table. Sinking a short range red but missing a long pink to the corner Dave turned to offer his hand in concession as Cope moved into the last sixteen.
CAMPBELL BATTLES PAST DUNN
MARCUS Campbell clinched a place in the draw for the last sixteen after beating Mike Dunn 3-1 in a battle that lasted over two hours.
Campbell claimed the first frame against the world number 30 from Cleveland but as a safety duel ensued at the start of the second so a re-rack was agreed after five minutes. In what was a low scoring frame it was Campbell who was managing to put together enough points without making any breaks of note. The Scotsman making the Englishman toil for every point – and the pressure very quickly got to Dunn as the frame came down to the colours with the scores showing Campbell in front at 48-22. And it was Dunn who made the key error as he caught his safety too thickly as he left Campbell a mid length yellow. Campbell rifled in the yellow to put himself 50-22 in front meaning that Dunn needed a snooker which he was not to get as Campbell increased his lead to 2-0.
Dunn did manage to open his account with the help of a 66 in the third frame only for the frame to be thrown into confusion when the score appeared to jump forward by a point. This was crucial because it would have meant the difference between Marcus needing and not requiring a snooker. Thankfully it was not to have any further effect as the score was corrected and Dunn was able to claim two more reds to put the frame beyond any doubt.
But it was to prove only a temporary reprieve as Campbell fired in a long red and followed with the yellow and compiled a break of 42 to go with an earlier 18 to draw a concession from Dunn in 2.5 hours.
WILLIAMS FLIES INTO LAST SIXTEEN
MARK Williams stormed into the last sixteen daw for the 12bet.com World Open after crushing Ali Carter 3-1 – and a huge fly on the table.
Williams and Carter was one of the stand out matches when the draw for the last 32 was made – and as so often happens becomes one way traffic.
That Ali contributed to his own downfall by some careless mistakes when at the table should not go unmentioned, but Williams potting looks back to it’s imperious best.
The world number 8 from Wales made two quickfire breaks of 29 and 27 to wrap up the first frame, with Carter struggling to find his touch. And it was to get worse for the world number 2 as Carter, among the balls had a blue to the corner. Incredibly the blue bounced around in the pocket before shooting back on to the table. Lady luck had well and truly deserted Carter, and with the blue ball still playing on his mind it was surely inevitable that Williams would go on to take the frame with a 37.
Carter though had a chance of a 147 in frame 3 when he negotiated nine reds and nine blacks for 72 only to miss a red to the corner. To make matters worse there was still enough points on the table for Mark to pinch it by one point. That he didn’t is down to one solitary pink he took which led up to a respotted black. Trying to cut the black in off the break off shot Williams left it sitting over the pocket for Carter to sink and reduce his arrears to 2-1.
But Williams soon re-asserted his authority as he powered in a long red and signed off with a 95 break to end Carter’s interest in the tournament, and ultimately for the moment his hopes of taking the world number one ranking.
DING ENDS MICHIE DREAMS
DING Junhui dismissed the challenge of Jimmy Michie 3-1 to book his place in the draw for the last 16 of the World Open.
The world number 4, who is bidding for his third ranking tournament victory on British soil proved to be too strong for Michie, the world number 56 from Pontefract.
Ding took immediate control of the first frame, rattling in a break of 64 and then claimed the second when Michie in trying to cut a red into the top corner pocket along the cushion cannoned into another. With the balls nicely spread Ding calmly stroked in a break of 109 to leave Michie staring down the barrell of a 3-0 defeat.
But in a tactical third frame it was Ding who was forced to sit in his chair as Michie managed to accrue enough points without any significant breaks to reduce his deficit to 2-1.
Michie though badly needed a quick start in the fourth frame to keep the pressure on the Chinese number 1 – but missing a red to the centre was hardly the way to do it and Ding with assurance stroked in a red to the centre pocket for a break of 97 to run out a 3-1 winner in just under 1.5 hours.
LEE LEAVES BOND SHAKEN AND STIRRED
STEPHEN Lee stumbled into the last 16 of the World Open with a 3-2 victory over Nigel Bond.
Lee, winner of four world ranking events in his professional career entered this tournament with a world ranking of 23 and very quickly had Bond, the world number 41 sitting in his chair for much of the two hours that the match lasted for.
A scrappy first frame went the way of Lee who after settling it on the colours with the help of audacious cut on the final red to the corner cleared to the pink to go 1-0 up. Boosted by winning the opener Lee heaped the pressure on Bond by rattling in a break of 55 to take a stranglehold on the second frame. A missed red to the “yellow” pocket was not to derail him as Bond missed an easy brown off its spot in launching a counter. Worse was to come for the former world finalist as Lee was left with the balls at his mercy and had no trouble in clearing up with another 55 to lead 2-0.
Bond was going to need an escape of 007 proportions if he was to prolong his interest in the tournament and with just the green to black remaining Nigel held a slender advantage of 49-37. But when Nigel left the green hanging over the pocket it looked as if Bond would be on his way home then and there as Lee tapped in the green, but the positional aspect of his shot had gone awry and he ended up snookering himself on the brown behind the blue. Lee’s escape saw him hit the pink which was on the top cushion and handed Bond a reprieve. As Bond won a tense safety duel on the remaining colours he finally wrestled the frame from the grasp of Lee after 55 minutes to trail 2-1.
Encouraged Bond then took the fourth frame thanks to a break of 84 to send the match into a final frame decider. So down to the decider and who would now grab the licence to thrill? The answer was to be Lee who with the help of a vital 23 struck the killer blow. And after negotiating a scare on the colours where he managed to hit the brown rather the green finally staggered over the line with a 3-2 victory.
HENDRY BEATS AILING DAVIS
STEPHEN Hendry showed Mark Davis little mercy in beating him 3-0 to book his place in the draw for the last sixteen.
Davis who climbed off his sickbed to face the former world champion would not have been feeling any better after being dispatched in just under an hour. Hendry began with breaks of 20 and 37 to take the opening frame and was soon 2-0 in front. Hendry rifled in an initial 43 before a missed blue allowed Davis a fleeting visit to the table. But a missed long red to the corner soon sent Mark back to his seat as Hendry stepped in with a 70.
Twenty minutes late it was all over as Hendry with the help of breaks of 50 and 32 finally put Davis out of his misery.
EBDON FORCES HIS WAY PAST O’BRIEN
PETER Ebdon withstood a determined fightback from Fergal O’Brien to advance to the last 16 of the 12bet.com World Open.
Ebdon took the opening frame, though Fergal will perhaps feel that he should have taken it, only to miss the frame ball pink off its spot. Ebdon pounced and dispatched the pink and the black. And as if to rub salt into the wound the former world champion took the second to lead 2-0, needing one frame for victory.
Then the match turned. It was Ebdon who was left to curse his luck after fluking the blue, he then he missed a frame ball pink and saw the white travel around the table and into the corner pocket – and this time O’Brien gave Ebdon a dose of the medicine that the world number 17 had meted out to him by snatching the frame from out of the fire with a pink to the centre and then the all important black.
Inspired O’Brien then stepped up a gear to dominate the fourth frame with a break of 129 and so take the match to a deciding frame. Could Fergal maintain the momentum or would Ebdon regain control?
The answer was to be Ebdon who got a flyer with a break of 37 only to miss a red to the corner. With the reds in pottable positions O’Brien now had a golden chance to snatch victory against all the odds. In good position on 14 Fergal then missed an easy red into the corner. And even worse it was left hanging over the corner pocket. Stepping in Ebdon trickled in the red and and put together a decisive break of 31 to end the hopes of the gallant Irishman.
ROBERTSON EDGES MORRIS TEST
NEIL Robertson battled his way into the last sixteen draw at the World Open after a hard fought 3-1 victory over Ireland’s David Morris.
World Champion Robertson was far from convincing aginst the world number 59 and will have to lift his game if he is to take the title here in Scotland and with it the world number one spot.
In every frame Morris had his chances and will surely look back on this match with a sense of what might have been as Robertson looked ill at ease throughout.
No more so than in the first frame where Morris who had taken advantage of a shot to nothing opportunity to make 28 then found himself out of position. But one errant safety was to spell the end of the frame as he left Neil with a red from under the side cushion. Sinking the pot Robertson proceeded to make 72 to take the opening frame.
Yet that appeared not to settle the nerves of Robertson as he twice in frame two he missed a number of simple pots. First a short range red and then a black from off its spot. Coupled with another miss on an easy red and Morris finally capitalised on the numerous chances he was being given by putting together enough points to leave Robertson needing a snooker with just the colours left. Robertson was destined not to get the snooker and it was Morris who drilled in the yellow from under the baulk cushion to put the frame beyond doubt and level at 1-1.
Robertson was first in in frame three but a run of 13 came to end with a missed black. Morris though failed to take advantage when he missed a red to the centre. Back among the balls at short range Robertson held himself together to build a 62 to account for the frame. Morris though was to fight and opening 35 in frame four gave hope that he may take it into a decider but then as he jawed a red to leave it sitting on the lip of the pocket with another red the break came to an end. With the balls handily placed Robertson countered with 40 before being forced to play safe. And one misjudged safety was to cost the Irishman dear as he came to the table with the red hidden by the baulk colours. Morris’s escape missed and even worse left a straight red to the corner for the Australian. Dispatching the red Robertson grabbed the 12 points that were to prove sufficient to progress. As Neil turned to leave the table David sportingly held out his hand in concession after a brave attempt at a massive upset.
HAWKINS BLASTS PAST DOHERTY
BARRY Hawkins took little under under an hour to dismiss Ken Doherty 3-0 and put his name in the hat for the next round.
Hawkins dominated the first frame but was made to work a little harder for the second. With Doherty leading 38-0 the frame had become something of a conundrum as the black had been left sitting in the jaws of the corner pocket with a posse of reds surrounding it (a magnet frame – Sonny). Only one red was available and that was on the side cushion. Hawkins was left with little alternative but to try and pot his way out of trouble. As Barry lined up the double the crowd watched the red disappear into the centre pocket. The black followed and with it so did an excellent break of 73 for the Dartford professional.
Boosted by that break Hawkins was soon back at the table when Doherty sportingly called himself for a foul on the red while taking aim at the black. As the cue ball whizzed round the table towards the “yellow” pocket Hawkins was left with a shot to nothing on the pack of reds. As Hawkins took aim so the red disappeared and a break of 53 combined with an earlier run of 20 was enough to ensure himself of the frame and with it a 3-0 victory over the former world champion.
WALDEN CRUISES THROUGH
RICKY Walden cruised into the last 16 of the World Open with a 3-0 destruction of James McBain.
McBain, from Glasgow, world ranked 82 looked overawed by the experience and Walden was a comfortable winner. Leading 31-5 in the opening frame Walden benefitted when a shot to nothing from McBain backfired leaving Walden among the reds. With a handy points lead already showing on the scoreboard a 48 break was enough to seal the opening frame.
McBain’s misery was to continue in the second frame as a miscue when adressing the cue ball led to Ricky firing in a break of 102. Still McBain had yet to pot a ball, as the points he had gained in the first frame was by virtue of a foul. McBain had to wait until the the third frame before breaking his duck. James was experiencing the TV debut from hell as Walden helped by an effort of 34 built a lead of 63-21 with just one red left on the table meant that James was now needing snookers.
To his credit James continued to battle, fluking the last red and adding pink and then the yellow to cut his deficit to 63-34 before extracting three snookers from Walden. Unfortunately four of those points were to be returned to Ricky when McBain miscued on taking aim at the green. And after trying to cut the green into the top corner pocket James could only watch in dismay as the green came back up the table with the cue ball in close attendance for Walden to pot and confirm a 3-0 victory.
MAGUIRE SQUEEZES PAST TRUMP
STEPHEN Maguire set up an all Glasgow showdown with Alan McManus after beating Judd Trump 3-2 in the last 32 of the World Open.
Maguire, the world number 7 took the opening frame thanks to a decisive break of 40. Trump though is not one to be overawed and the Bristolian answered Stephen’s challenge with breaks of 51 and 29 to level the match at 1-1. Maguire’s performance was significantly better than that against Stuart Pettman and the potting game looks to be in good working order, especially after powering in a break of 132 to take a 2-1 lead.
Frame 4 was tight as Maguire close to the finishing line had chances to finish Judd off. With the scores at 40-22 there were two reds left on the table and Maguire concocted a vicious snooker that left Trump snookered on a red behind the yellow brown and pink in the baulk area. Two escape bids from Trump went wrong, the first missed by some distance and the second went in off the red the result of which presented Maguire with the cue ball in hand in the “D” and a straight red. Potting the red he looked set to clear up but then managed to miss the final red, and even worse left it on for Trump. Trump potted it but then had to scamper to safety.
Maguire, snookered on the yellow behind the green escaped but still left the yellow to the centre. Trump though was cueing from just under the top cushion sank it but couldn’t add the green. As Maguire won a brief safety battle he had the colours at his mercy. Down went the green – but then trying to screw back on the brown saw it jump out of the pocket. With a look of disbelief Maguire conceded the frame. He was promptly warned by referee Jan Verhaas for unsporting conduct.
So to the decider and it was Maguire who was to prove the stronger as breaks of 22 and 33 secured his passage to the last 16 in front of his home fans.
GOULD THRASHES COUCH
MARTIN Gould raced into the last 16 of the World Open after a 3-0 destruction of Matthew Couch in just under an hour.
Gould, who had been kept waiting until just after nine o clock before starting his match, looked as though he was after an early night. The Pinner potter kept Couch firmly pinned to his seat for the first two frames as he fired in breaks of 70 and 89 in about half an hour.
During these opening salvos Couch had failed to pot a ball and with Gould on fire the misery not to mention pressure was intensifying on Couch. Couch was to break his duck after a Gould effort of 22 came to an end early in the third frame. Unfortunately Matthew was only able to make 35 before running out of position. And to make matters worse his safety shot left Gould in prime position with a red to the corner.
Given his earlier display it was surprising that Martin was only able to make 27 before missing the last red. Martin though did not have to wait long to complete victory as he cleared yellow and green before engaging in a tactical battle on the brown that he was to win when Couch left a straight pot to the corner. Drilling in the brown and with it the blue Martin assured himself of victory and with it a clash with Stephen Lee in the last 16.
WHIRLWIND BLOWN OUT BY ROCKET
RONNIE O’Sullivan needed just below 45 minutes to dispose of Jimmy White and set up a showdown with Stephen Hendry in the World Open.
But it was far from vintage O’Sullivan who, like Jimmy, missed plenty of chances in the opening frame before finally taking it with a break of 42.
It was the Rocket who had first opportunity to build a good break in frame two but broke down on 23 when he missed a mid length brown. White though was unable to take advantage of his chance and could only make 26 before falling victim to the curse of the match that is otherwise known as potting. It was to prove very expensive as Ronnie cut a red to the “green” pocket and rolled in an effort of 79 to go 2-0 up with three to play.
At the point of no return Jimmy finally capitalised on Ronnie’s errant safety shot. Left in baulk Ronnie went in off. With the ball in hand Jimmy powered in a long straight red and rattled in a break of 88 to cut his deficit to 2-1.
And it looked for all the world that Jimmy was about to level at 2-2 only to miss a tricky red to the centre. Backing away from the table Jimmy saw he had left the Rocket a chance. It was to be the last walk to the table the Whirlwind would make here in Glasgow as Ronnie sank a short range red and proceeded to put together a winning break of 73 with clinical ease and run out a 3-1 winner.
HIGGINSON STUNS FU
ANDREW Higginson sent Marco Fu crashing out of the World Open with a conclusive 3-1 victory over the Hong Kong man.
Fu, a beaten finalist in the UK Open two years ago never looked at ease against Higginson who by contrast looked totally relaxed from the start. And it was Andrew who was to edge a tight first frame, thanks in main to a timely contribution of 31.
With that first frame behind him Higginson took full advantage of Marco’s discomfort by rattling in a decisive 51 to extend his lead to 2-0. And Andrew should have finished Marco off in frame 3 but for a plethora of missed reds to the centre pocket that finally allowed Marco to get a foothold in the match with a break of 60.
But that was to be snuffed out as Andrew quickly took control of the fourth frame, powering in a break of 51 only to miss a mid length red to the corner. For a few fleeting moments Marco looked as though he would have a chance to launch a counter attack but missing a cuttable red to the corner was to prove costly as Andrew returned to the table to drill in a long red and put together a few extra points to post a 3-1 victory and set up last sixteen clash with Neil Robertson.
This completed the line up for last 16. And the first two to bid for a place in the last eight will be Ding Junhui and Marcus Campbell which will be covered in the next blog.
Suzy Jardine, Glasgow