Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ronnie's ready to reatin PL title

This year's Premier League snooker kicks off on Thursday.

King of the 'stop the clock' play Ronnie O'Sullivan will be bidding to win back the title he lost last year to Shaun Murphy.

The Rocket went down 7-3 to the 2005 world champion in the final last time out, and this came after Ronnie had won each of the previous Premier League events.

While he'll again be installed as the heavy favourite, O'Sullivan is certainly not unbeatable, even in this format of the game.

It's true the quicker style of play definitely suits him more than any other player, but without a ranking title to his name in nearly 12 months, the vultures are looming as to whether Ronnie has the fight to win more trophies.

He certainly has the ability, that's not in question, but last year's competitions saw a lot of players cross a barrier where they now believe they can beat O'Sullivan.

The fear factor has gone, and that's what will really make O'Sullivan's form a particular point of interest this season.

Can Ronnie bounce back to win more titles this year? Or will he continue to just turn up, play fairly well, then falter when he faces a really stern test?

Either is possible.

The only saving grace for Ronnie in his quest to make sure it's the latter is that he won't feel the pressure of this challenge that lies ahead. He'll continue to go out, knock some balls around, and give it his best shot. That's why it's still conceivable for him to start firing on all cylinders again. Because if his best efforts translate to the kind of form we know he's capable of, he'll soon be back as the most feared player on the circuit.

My worry for O'Sullivan though is that he won't make this happen. He'll play snooker, and success may come back because of it. But I question his mentality to want it enough, and force the issue. That's what makes his tale this season, so intriuging.

Can he turn around his fortunes? The reason I talk about this now, is because an event he notoriosuly performs well in, starts again this week. And maybe, just maybe, this could be the beginning of his turn around.

O'Sullivan's first Premier League test comes on Thursday when he takes on Marco Fu. OnCue will keep you up to date with all the action as the competition tours the British Isles.

But here's the run down of who faces who, and when...

Week 1 - September 2 - Southampton Guidhall
Shaun Murphy v Ding Junhui, Ronnie O'Sullivan v Marco Fu

Week 2 - September 16 - Plymouth Pavilions
Mark Selby v Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan v Ding Junhui

Week 3 - September 30 - Preston Guild Hall
Marco Fu v Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui v Mark Williams, Neil Robertson v Mark Selby

Week 4 - October 7 - Brentwood Leisure Centre, Essex
Mark Selby v Ding Junhui, Ronnie O'Sullivan v Shaun Murphy

Week 5 - October 14 - Inverness Leisure Centre
Mark Selby v Marco Fu, Neil Robertson v Mark Williams

Week 6 - October 21 - Spiceball Leisure Centre, Banbury, Oxfordshire
Neil Robertson v Ding Junhui, Marco Fu v Mark Williams

Week 7 - October 28 - Penrith Leisure Centre
Marco Fu v Ding Junhui, Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Williams

Week 8 - November 4 - Hutton Moor Leisure Centre
Marco Fu v Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy v Mark Selby

Week 9 - Nov 11 - Grimsby Auditorium
Shaun Murphy v Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan v Neil Robertson

Week 10 - November 18 - Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson

Semi-finals Nov 27 Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton on Sea, Norfolk
Semi-finals are the first to five.
1st v 4th
and 2nd v 3rd

Final - Nov 28 - Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton on Sea, Norfolk
The final is the first to seven.
Winner of semi-final 1 v winner of semi-final 2.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Top Trump must transform EPTC fortunes

Judd Trump can enjoy a couple of pints this Bank Holiday.

And no-one will begrudge him his celebrations after he landed the Euro Players Tour Championship (EPTC) 1 title with a 4-3 win against Anthony Hamilton in Germany on Sunday.

The 21-year-old showed some impressive form to win this prize and his biggest success of the weekend probably came in the semi-finals when he beat former World Champion Shaun Murphy 4-2.

On route to the last four, he also defeated Jack Lisowski, Andrew Pagett, Anthony McGill, Peter Ebdon and Michael Judge.

While it's important younger players enjoy their triumphs as much as they dissect their defeats, this win has to be the start of progression for Trump. It has to be the moment he kicks on.

No-one can deny the Bristol potter is a massive potential talent. We've heard it all before, and I for one, am getting bored of it. Talent is one thing, accomplishments is strictly another.

And Trump himself knows he must start to distinguish the difference, if he is ever to be remembered as one of the sport's greats.

Trump has shown glimpses of real quality over the last couple of seasons. The kind of class that suggest he could by now have earned a place in the top 16.

Some of the sport's top pundits even predicted he'd be a top 8 player by now.

But we need to stop talking about his potential and start seeing more from him at the major ranking events.

This weekend he has again shown what he CAN do. But he needs to do this more consistently on the bigger stage.

So, I think it's about time Trump grabs this victory by the scruff of the neck and takes his form and confidence to Shanghai.

There's always a lot of attention on focus on how he performs when he qualifes for the bigger events. But in Shanghai more than perhaps before, people will be waiting, to see if he can build upon his achievements on Europe's mainland.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

It's all gone quiet....

It's been nearly a week since I settled down to write a blog for OnCue.

Mainly, because I'm a very busy man with an unbelievably packed social life. Ok, I lied, I've just been snowed under at work, under the cosh from the missus and a little bit too lazy to write anything when I have got the odd few seconds free.

But this lull is definitely not the end. In fact, it's probably the beginning.

I've been having a massive think about the direction of this blog, and come up with some great new ideas.

So don't give up on me yet.

Back onto the snooker though, hasn't the EPTC1 been exciting. Stuart Bingham beating world champion Neil Robertson was fantastic.

And there willll be an exclusive interview here with Stuart once he returns from Shanghai.

Martin Gould has been one of the shining lights of the season so far too. He'll be answering my questions within the next week.

So it's goodbye for now, but I'll be posting again very soon.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Shot of the week - Jimmy White

I'm going to watch Jimmy at an exhibition at my local snooker club tomorrow.

I'm absolutely buzzing.

I've met the legend before at the Crucible, but to get up close and watch him on a table I usually play myself, will I'm sure be a great experience.

I just hope he's firing on all cylinders. I'm sure he'll bring the whole club to its feet.

I'll be posting a full run-down of how the evening went over the weekend, but at the moment I'm just like a little kid at Christmas, and can't wait to get down there.

To get myself in the mood, this week's shot of the week comes from the six-time world championship finalist himself.

In his day, Jimmy really was the king of spin. In this clip he shows exactly why with a wonderful escape from this snooker.


Monday, 16 August 2010


It's interview number two for OnCue and we're back in Leicester, with PTC3 champion Tom Ford.

By his own admission, the 27-year-old has finally got the balance right between time on the practice table and being out on the town.

This has seen him start to produce his best, but surely more is still to come from this talented cue man.

In a down-to-earth interview, here's what Tom had to say...

We'll start with your PTC3 triumph. How did it feel to win your first ranking tournament?

Yeah, it felt good. I don't really regard it as a real ranking tournament though. Sure, it has ranking points but it's not one of the big ones. They're relatively small and have low crowds. Only about 12 people were watching me in the final. I think the televised events are the real ranking events. The funny thing about it is that I didn't really play well until the final. It didn't feel like a proper ranking title, but it was still a good win.

Is it fair to say you haven't produced your best snooker at the televised events yet?

Yes I'd agree with that. Everytime I get there, I always seem to get a very difficult draw. I know there's no easy games against players in the top 16, but I've come up against some players at the top of their form. Last year I met Neil Robertson at the UK Championship, and Mark Allen in Sheffield. They were difficult games.

I was at your match against Robertson actually. No offence, I expected a lot more from you. What went wrong?

Oh, don't mention that game. That was terrible. I tried everything but it wasn't happening for me.

Sometimes the harder you try, the tougher it gets, and it just didn't click then.

Do you feel more pressure at the televised stages?

No not really. Sometimes I think I need the pressure before I start playing my best snooker actually.

There's no real reason for it. It just hasn't happened for me yet. I'm just hoping that once I get a couple of wins, it'll get easier at the big events.

After winning the PTC3, you lost your first match at the PTC4. How disappointed were you not to build on your success?

I've got no excuses. It was my own fault. I play football every Wednesday and last week there was a bad tackle on me, and I got quite a bad cut. It was very uncomfortable playing, I couldn't walk properly. I was 3-0 down against Martin O'Donnell and eventually lost 4-3. He's an amateur I beat 4-0 in another PTC event, so I was really disappointed.

The snooker calendar is a lot busier now. How pleased are you with that?

Yeah there's more events and more money to win but there's still a few gaps in the schedule. I think in October there's a massive run of PTC events every weekend, then nothing for a month. I think the new events could do with being spread out more.

Do you see the increased number of events as a chance for players like you to climb the ranking quickly?

It can work like that. You can climb very quickly but it's dangerous because you can fall just as fast. I think after PTC3 I was up to world number 26, but I'm probably right back down after PTC4. I had a bit of a mare. So, I don't really think it makes much difference, Your ranking just changes more regularly now.

What targets have you set yourself for the season?

I haven't set myself anything specific. It would be nice to stay in the top 32 for a while. But I don't ever set anything because then you just set yourself up for disappointment. I never go out to lose a match so I'll see how I do. I'd like to make it back to the UK and World Championships this year though.

How did first you start playing snooker?

I first picked up a cue when I was 3. My dad and brother used to play on a fold-up table at the bottom of the stairs. I used to watch from the stairs but I always wanted to play. I would bug them for a go, and I guess the first time they thought they'd let me have one shot, I'd miss and go away. But I hit the ball first time. It was all quite natural.

Then when I was 8, not many clubs would let me play but my dad asked Willie Thorne's brother (Malcolm Thorne) if I could play in his club. He said as long as I was good enough, I could play there. I showed I could hit the ball and I was always welcome.

Being from Leicester, I hear you used to play with Mark Selby as a junior. How was that and do you take inspiration from where he is in the game now?

No, I don't take inspiration from him. We were always on par when we played. If anything, I was a little better than him, so watching him frustrates me. We used to play together but at 17, we went our separate ways, and he's doing well. I've always felt I was the more attacking player. I'm not the kind of player to want a frame to last an hour. I don't like sitting back. I enjoy attacking more.

Who do you practice with now then?>

I don't really. There's some local lads I play with sometimes. Mark Joyce and Dave Roe, but I'm not the best practice player. I can't go down the club and play for three hours. I get about half hour in, and start calling people on my phone. I get bored. It's something I've always found difficult to hit the table for long. I can't concentrate.

I've had a habit of going out on the town too much, but I've really knuckled down recently and found a better balance. I've got sick of going out all the time. And as a result, I've started playing more now. Over the last couple of seasons, I've gone to Romford before the bigger tournaments and had a knock about with the likes of Mark King, Barry Hawkins, Ali Carter and Joe Perry.

Talking about other players on the tour, who is toughest person to play, or who frustrates you the most?

There's not many players who frustrate me. Barry Pinches and Anthony Hamilton are tough. They don't go for much, and make a game difficult.

Who is the best player you've ever played?

Ronnie. He's the best. You don't many chances with him and if you make one mistake, you lose the frame.

I've only played him twice, and should have beaten him twice too.

I was 3-1 up against him in the Grand Prix and lost 4-3. Then I was 4-2 ahead of him in the Norther Ireland trophy, before losing 5-4. It's good playing him though. He brings in a good crowd.

Who do you get on with most on the tour?

All of them. They're all nice guys. You see everyone so often that you quickly make friends.

Who was your favourite player as a kid?

I didn't really have one. I never liked watching it. It bored me then and I don't watch it much now either. I enjoy playing when I'm at the tournaments but that's all.

What's your proudest moment in the game?

I was happy with winning the PTC. I also enjoyed getting to the quarter-final at the Malta Cup. I was playing well. I was only young but people said I could win it, but then I lost 5-0 to Stephen Hendry.

What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?

It's not the funniest but the most shocking. I was playing football out in Shanghai, and I hit the ball from range and ended up breaking Graeme Dott's wrist. He was supposed to be playing the next day and had to pull out. I felt awful.

Barry Pinches O'Sullivan's glory

How Ronnie O'Sullivan didn't win the PTC4 championship, I'll never know.

But world number 57 Barry Pinches upset all the odds to conquer The Rocket 4-3 in the final, and storm to top spot in the Order of Mertit.

Pinches, a former runner-up in the PTC event, took his PTC prize total up £17,000, and is now the overall top performer in the PTC events so far.

While reaching the final here looked like another fine achievement, he somehow beat O'Sullivan, who looked imperious earlier in the competition.

The three-time world champion stormed to the semi-final stage dropping just one frame, including 4-0 wins against Mark Selby, Ryan Day, Judd Trump and Marco Fu.

But that didn't deter little Pinches, who grafted his way to the most unlikely of victories.

Pinches can be proud of his route to the final too, where on his way he knocked over PTC1 winner Mark Williams, Liu Song, Matthew Selt, Jak Jones and Chan Zhe.

This ranking title caps a wonderful start to the season for Pinches and affirms him as a player now capable of going on to trouble the world's elite more regularly.

While a tale of 'David v Goliath' was saved for the final, this PTC4 event was arguably the most entertaining of all them all so far. From ball one there were thrills and spills.

Stephen Hendry faced defeat in his very first PTC match, as he was beaten resoundly 4-0 by Anthony McGill.

World champion Neil Robertson fell foul at the first hurdle too, losing 4-3 to amateur Daniel Wells.

The world runner-up Graeme Dott suffered the same fate when he played Adam Wichead.

Shaun Murphy couldn't reverse his poor form either. After beating Michael Holt 4-3, he lost out to Selt in the next round.

Defending PTC champion Tom Ford suffered a first round shock to Martin O'Donnell, but was suffering from injury.

As for the more brighter performers, Dominic Dale built on his impressive PTC3 quarter-final, to make the last four this time. He took the scalp of Stephen Maguire in the last eight, before being narrowly beaten 4-3 by O'Sullivan.

Matthew Stevens made it into the quarter-finals with his form looking like it's gradually appearing. He recorded wins against Alan McManus, Mike Dunn and Stephen Lee before defeat to his fellow countryman Williams.

Marco Fu got to the last eight, while Belgium's Bjorn Hanaveer made the last 16 along with young promise Jimmy Robertson.

Why I love snooker?... with Tom Ellis

OnCue launches the first in a new feature called Why I love snooker?, which pays tribute to the great fans of the game.

Tom Ellis, from Swindon kicks it off, answering our questions.

What are your first memories of snooker?

My first memories of snooker are watching it round my grandad’s house in the afternoons. I was only young at the time so probably didn’t understand all the rules but he was really into it and I liked his passion for it. It was then I started to appreciate the long build-up play. For a young kid to sit still without getting bored is a testament to my early appreciation of the game and his passion for talking about it to me.

What is your greatest snooker memory?

Very difficult to pick a stand-out favourite as there are a couple of contenders but I would perhaps go for a recent one when Ronnie O'Sullivan came back against John Higgins in the semi-final of last year's UK Championship, but then was beaten in the final frame. I can't remember the exact scoreline but Higgins only needed one more frame to get over the line and Ronnie pulled level I think before a sweating Higgins eventually secured his winning frame. It's one of my best memories because it had Ronnie as the underdog when he is usually the favourite. I remember John Virgo saying in commentary "And who said Snooker was boring?". I thought to myself 'damn right!'

Who are your three favourite snooker players and why?

My top two are easy and perhaps predictable choices but to pick a third took more consideration.

In top spot is O'Sullivan. I don't care one jot that he hasn’t won as much as Stephen Hendry or isn’t as consistent as he should supposedly be for someone with his natural ability. But the fact that his level of skill is touching on perfection when he gets it right, puts him at number one for me. That brilliance becomes even more fantastic for me when you consider the clear emotional impact losing his father to a long jail term has caused him. I often think if his father hadn’t been sentenced to prison he would have utterly dominated the game, but he was, and the affect on his mental health has been obvious and well documented. But, like I said, despite that he still clinches number one position for me.

In second is Neil Robertson, who has emerged on the big game scene in the last couple of years and I think in the near future he has the chance to win more. I think Snooker needs more modern trendy young men like him to continue the game's growth and attract new audiences. I also unashamedly like his hair ha!

Third place I’m going to give to Graeme Dott. This could have gone a few different ways but I like a tryer and boy does Dott try. He has come back from set backs in his past and played very well against Robertson in the last game I saw him play. I didn’t think he was capable of putting in a performance like that if I’m honest, but he did, and all credit to him. He shows that grit and determination which go a long long way in Snooker.

Who is your player to watch this season and why?

I'm going to go for Ding Junhui. The bloke just has to come good sooner or later. I don't think he ever gets as far in competitions as he should. The worst thing is I don’t think he feels he can but the ability is there. It's difficult to put your finger on why, but he seems very shy and that sometimes comes through in his game play. If someone could get him by the scruff of his neck he could increase his potential 10-fold.

Who is the greatest player ever to pick up a cue and why?

Unfortunately I’m going to be boring and go for Ronnie again for reasons stated before. I just can't fault the guy for natural talent. Sorry to be predictable!

Where do you see snooker in ten years' time?

Honestly, I don't see it changing drastically. I think timed shots may make an appearance and some slight rule changes to shake it up a bit. I'd like to more new tournaments on the calendar but I think snooker sadly will never compete in terms of audience size with football and I don't know if I'd want it to.

I almost find half the appeal of it is it has become a bit niche. I think producers should accept it has a hardcore audience and just be happy with that. We like it how it is, it's a formula that works.

Ok fine, give the players walk on music, make subtle changes but really it's working well. I feel other factors come into play as well.

If you could change one thing in snooker, what would it be?

Tricky this because I’m a bit anti-change but maybe something like opponents get a 1 or 2 frame advantage depending on where they are seeded. That could spice things up a bit...

I love snooker because...the intense build-up play to dictate a frame can be lost in one mistake handing the advantage and the frame to your opponent, turning the game on it's head in a second!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Tom Ford EXCLUSIVE coming soon

OnCue will be interviewing world number 41 Tom Ford on Monday.

Interview will be online on Tuesday.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Shot of the week

With the distractions of last week's Shanghai Masters qualifiers and the PTC 3 tournament this weekend, shot of the week is later than billed.

But following his successful path to the last eight at the Sheffield Academy, OnCue went digging into the archives to find a classic clip from Dominic Dale.

This long pot is impressive enough, but great cue power sees him bring the cue ball right back up the table to make it a shot to nothing, and leave himself with a chance to put his opponent into a difficult snooker.


Flying Ford captures PTC3 cup

The PTC trophy returned to Leicester after event 3 this weekend.

But it was world number 41 Tom Ford who was the pride of the county this month, instead of PTC2 winner Mark Selby.

The 26-year-old nearly faced his his old practice partner Selby in the final too, until he was beaten 4-3 in the last four against Jack Lisowski.

The Jester will be kicking himself. A semi-final defeat against the minnow came after he'd already done the hard work beating Judd Trump, Graeme Dott, Ryan Day and Barry Hawkins in a difficult route.

Ford, whose previous best ranking event performance was a quarter-final place in the 2005 Malta Cup, showed no stage fright as he went on to beat Lisowski 4-0 in the final.

This capped an excellent performance from Ford this weekend, who also beat Mark Davis, Andy Hicks, Marcus Campbell, Stephen Lee, Sam Baird and Patrick Wallace on route to triumph.

While Ford's victory sees him earn vital ranking points as he bids to break into the world's top 32, not needing to beat anyone from the top 16 this weekend still leaves the question looming of whether the Leicestershire potter can make a big impact at the major ranking events later in the season.

A number of other rank outsiders enjoyed a good run this weekend as well.

Dominic Dale made it through to the quarter-finals after beating PTC2 runner-up Barry Pinches in the last 16 and world champion Neil Robertson at the last 32 hurdle.

Ian Glover was beaten 4-1 against Adrian Gunnell in round 4, but this was after he had taken the prized scalp of PTC1 winner Mark Williams in the last 128.

Shaun Murphy lost at the same stage, shocked 4-3 by Martin O'Donnell.

Friday, 6 August 2010

PTC3 starts today

Keep in touch with all the scores at world snooker.

You can read all about it here on Monday.


John Higgins will be the scrutiny of a two-day hearing on 7 and 8 September.

The tribunal will be held at Sports Resolutions and will analyse allegations made by the News of the World, claiming the three-time World Champion was prepared to lose frames for money.

The tribunal clashes with days two and three of the Shanghai Masters.

Shanghai Masters - Round four

The final day of qualifiers for the Shanghai Masters was as enteratining as predicted, with the usual batch of surprises keeping everyone glued to the results sheet.

Maybe the biggest shock of the day though was for Peter Ebdon himself, who actually won his match against Michael White.

The Force was a comfortable 5-1 victor depsite bizarely claiming last week he didn't fancy his own chances, due to a lack of table time.

Elsewhere in the shock department, Robert Milkins took the 5-1 scalp of favourite Joe Perry and Joe Delaney beat PTC2 semi-finalist Gerrard Greene 5-2.

But the game of the day was delivered by the two Dubliners.

Ken Doherty eventually beat Fergal O'Brien 5-4 in the deciding frame of a match last lasted more than three hours.

O'Brien looked on course for the win but missed the blue in the final frame to gift the 1997 world champion a win.

Steve Davis continued to roll back the years as he crushed Rod Lawler 5-0.

Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins continued their impressive starts to the season beating Joe Swail 5-2 and Martin Gould 5-3 respectively.

Matthew Stevens maintained his march back to form with a 5-2 win against Anda Zhang, while Stephen Lee was a winner by the same scoreline in his match with Jamie Jones.

Dave Harold was taken all the way against Ian McCulloch, and Alfie Burden, who had won three matches to get to this stage, ran out of steam losing 5-4 to Andrew Higginson in another tight match.

The most disappointed man of the day will be Michael Holt. He didn't give the best account of himself going down 5-1 to Jamie Burnett.

Mike Dunn, Judd Trump, Mark Davis and Ricky Walden complete the qualifiers with their wins.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Shanghai Masters - Rounds two and three

The qualifiers who remain in the hat a place in the main competition are so close, they can almost smell it.

After another two days of intense action at the Sheffield Academy, the just 32 qualifiers are left with 16 places up for grabs.

Win tomorrow, and you're there. There really is no greater incentive.

All eyes will be fixed on Peter Ebdon after his strange statement on world snooker last week. He faces an in form Michael White who has already come through three matches against Liu Chuang, Michael Judge and Dominic Dale, with only five frames dropped so far.

As for the other big names, Matthew Stevens faces Anda Zhang who has also won three games to get to this stage.

Stephen Lee is in the same boat against Jamie Jones, while the tie of tomorrow could be Joe Swial agaisnt Stuart Bingham.

Swail, who entered in round three, thrashed James Wattana 5-1 to book his place.

Tony Drago was unfortunate not to make it to the final day. He beat Xiao Guodong 5-1 in round two but then went down 5-3 to Anthony Hamilton, and misses out on a tie with Ricky Walden.

Alfie Burden continued his good form with wins against Matthew Selt and Marcus Campbell. Next up for him is Andrew Higginson.

Young guns Tom Ford and Judd Trump meet, after Ford derailed Matthew Couch's bid with a whitewash in round three.

Brazil's Igor Figuieredo failed at the third hurdle losing 5-1 to Fergal O'Brien. Ken Doherty awaits.

With qualification within touching ditsnace for 32 hopefuls, tomorrow promises to be an action packed day. Don't miss it.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Shanghai Masters - Round One

The first day of the first major ranking event of the season is always an important one in the snooker calendar.

But today, when when the curtain raised on this year's Shangai Masters, it was special.

Because it coincided with the funeral of snooker legend Alex Higgins.

Many of the sport's most famous faces made the trip to Northern Islland to pay their final respects to the man who made the modern game what it is today.

At the Sheffield Academy, where the first set of qualifiers were being held, the players paid their own tribute to the Hurricane with a minute of silence before the first cue ball was struck.

But just as Alex would have wanted, the show went on with 32 hopefuls in action.

There was no-one of Alex's calibre on show today as the basement boys of the professional tour locked horns, but the standard was excellent considering there was so much at stake for these players bidding to kick-off their major ranking season with a win.

Joe Jogia played without a care in the world as he thumped Noppon Saengkham 5-0 to book his second round tie with Peter Lines with style.

Brazil's Igor Figuieredo marked his first season on the pro tour with an impressive 5-4 victory over Jamie O'Neill. It's Dave Gilbert up next for him.

The dreams of Reanne Evans were shattered by an in form Alfie Burden who won 5-1 to set up a clash with Matthew Selt.

A sought after tie with Tony Drago was the reward for the winner of Xiao Guodongand Paul Davison. Guodong was a comfortable 5-1 winner, as was Patrick Wallace who brushed aside Adam Wichead by the same scoreline.

Anthony McGill had to come through a deciding frame to beat Issara Kachaiwong, and it won't get any easier for him in the next round with Barry Pinches waiting.

World number 68 Matthew Couch beat Andrew Pagett 5-2, and faces Bjorn Haneveer next.

Liu Song earned a second round match with James Wattana after his 5-3 win over Ben Woollaston.

Highly-rated Zhang Anda held his nerve to defeat Jak Jones 5-4 and must now play Paul Davies.

And, young gun Liam Highfield beat Dermot McGlinchley 5-3 to book a dream match with Jimmy White in round two.

Reanne on Newsbeat

Reanne Evans is causing quite a storm in mainstream media, as she bids to make an impact on the professional tour.

She kicks off her Shanghai Masters campaign with a first round qualifier against Alfie Burden today.

But she took some time out of her preparations to speak with the BBC.

You can watch it here.


Shanghai qualifiers start today

We're into August and this is where the real business for the new season starts.

Four days of qualifiers begin at Sheffield as the players scramble to make it into the final 16 places available at the first ranking event of the campaign.

Hold onto your hats as I'm sure the path will be anyhting but predictable.

OnCue will be bringing you day-by-day coverage as the action unfolds.