Six o clock already, I am just in the middle of a dream… now name that tune in one.
Yep, it is the story of today – Manic Monday. And what a day – after avoiding going skating on my backside on the ice paths this morning – more by luck than anything else it is a day where a few others have been on thin ice.
Roll on roll off matches are the order of the day as eight of them reach their conclusion this afternoon – which means a busy days for us scribes. Four starting out tonight. Hendry and White keep us guessing while the Rocket implodes before our very eyes against a deserving winner in Stuart Bingham.
And guess what? The carry on at St James’s Park is talked about in the press room as poor Chris Hughton is sacked. God knows why, he was doing a good job – yours truly is not happy – and is not averse to calling it correctly as to what she thinks is going to happen, and I am proven right. Oooh what it is to be intuitive and able to suss out what is going on. Grrr
Day and King keep us guessing and it goes right down to the wire as Day wins 9-8 on the final black.
Oh well let’s see what day 4 brings us.
STEPHEN Hendry was breathing a huge sigh of relief after edging through against Jimmy White in a bizarre opening match 9-8.
Resuming at 4-4 from overnight it was Hendry who appeared to get the better start as he fluked a red and made 58 before breaking down. White though, who was still in contention in the frame, helped himself to a clearance of 71 after a long pot on the penultimate red. White too had his chances to move 6-4 in front when well placed among the reds missed s delicate cut to the centre. Hendry was not about to pass up a chance like this – and he duly punished the Whirlwind with a 77.
The match was a comedy of errors, yet a few dazzling pots were being pulled out when the odds seemed stacked against either player. It was like watching two giants of tennis from years gone by slugging it out on the baseline and failing with a simple forehand but nailing an outrageous backhand.
The jaw dropping in the press room continued when with the match tied at 6-6 Hendry missed a black to the corner. To make matters worse there was a red sitting close to the top corner pocket. Using the spider is never straightforward but White underhit the cue ball and the red stayed out of the pocket. And it was Hendry who took full advantage to lead 7-6. Jimmy now had it all to do. Chances had gone begging and he knew he had to knuckle down. And that is what he did as he capitalised on a Hendry error when he left the black in the jaws of the top corner pocket. Stroking in a red White negotiated his way through a break of 69 to draw level, and encouraged picked out an audacious plant in the early stages of frame 15 which paved the way for a frame winning contribution of 68 to be one frame from victory.
Inexpicably there was more drama to come in frame 16 when Hendry, aided with a break of 45 built a 60 point lead. White though could still snatch a dramatic victory if he could clear the remaining points on offer of 67. As White chipped away at the lead the balls were hardly in the best position – as two out of the four reds were at the baulk end of the table. Surely it couldn’t happen. As White removed three reds and three blacks he then ran to safety. But still the clearance was far from easy – it was nothing short of painstaking effort that was seeing Jimmy inch towards forcing a respotted black. As he dispatched the remaining red and black with just the colours on he was faced with a choice on the yellow. The yellow was pottable and White claimed it – but the green was not ideally placed. As Jimmy failed on the green so you sense his chance had disappeared as a relieved Hendry sank green and brown to make sure of the frame and take the match into a decider.
White was only allowed one shot in the decider and that was to break off as he left a red to the top corner from distance. It was risky as if Hendry missed he would be careering into the cluster of reds. There was never a moments doubt as the red flew into the top corner pocket. It was all over as a 73 break saw the Scotsman scrambled through to a meeting with Mark Williams.
Elsewhere Mark Joyce claimed a deserved 9-6 victory over a disappointing Allister Carter with the help of a 68 break in the decisive frame. He now meets Judd Trump who put paid to the hopes of Jamie Cope. And Mark Williams and Marco Fu are also through to the last sixteen after beating Mark Davis and Barry Hawkins respectively.
STUART Bingham pulled off his first victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan as he sent the former UK champion crashing out of the tournament 9-6.
At close of play yesterday O’Sullivan and Bingham were 4-4. However the Rocket could count himslef highly fortunate to be on level terms as Bingham was the better player. And for a an hour today it looked as if the Rocket would pull away to a victory, especially as he built a 6-4 lead.
But Bingham, who had never beaten O’Sullivan pulled himself together and soon levelled at 6-6. The match was now the best of five, and it was Bingham who, despite making mistakes of his own was taking full advantage of Ronnie’s numerous errors. A 40 break for Bingham came to an end in the vital 14th frame, when he missed a routine red. O’Sullivan was only able to make 24 before missing and the returning Bingham swooped with a 44 to move 7-6 in front.
With Ronnie in disarray it was no surprise when Bingham pieced together enough points to move 8-6 in front – and then completed victory in frame 15 when O’Sullivan bungled his break off shot. Stuart’s initial 48 put the Rocket under the most severe pressure, and when O’Sullivan missed a simple blue it was Bingham who stepped in with 19 to wrap up a deserved victory.
Joining Stuart in the second round was Shaun Murphy who dispatched Patrick Wallace 9-5 and will now face Ryan Day who beat Mark King in a black ball game in the deciding frame.