Saturday, 14 January 2012

The World is waiting

There's always a dramatic sense of tension that comes on the final day of qualifying - and it was no different as players scrambled for their place at this year's World Open.

No fewer than seven of today's 16 final round matches were settled on a deciding frame as the competition was as fierce as ever.

Picture by Monique Limbos
Sam Baird (pictured right) was arguably the stand-out winner.

The 23-year-old has long been tipped as a bright prospect on the baize but really showed his ability this week. He's produced good snooker in all his matches but was especially cool under pressure today fighting back from 3-1 down to beat Mark Davis on a decider.

His reward is a place at his first venue. This highlights not only his, but the kind of talent that is still hiding down the lower end of the rankings.

That wasn't all for the deciders. Mark King recorded an impressive victory against Liang Wenbo. The Chinese star has shown greater resolve this week, proving a switch to The Grove may be a decent one, but narrowly missed out to the Essex potter.

Jamie Jones was left gutted after a last-gasp loss to Tom Ford, Ricky Walden edged past Gerard Greene and Barry Hawkins crept past Ian McCulloch.

The marathon match of the day saw Dominic Dale edge out Dave Harold, while Nigel Bond managed to survive a scare. He led Fergal O'Brien 4-0 but was forced to win a decider before booking his place.

Picture by Monique Limbos
That was it for the nailbiters but the story of the day came courtesy of Marco Fu (pictured left).

He made his second professional maximum en route to a 5-2 victory against improving Matt Selt, triggering yet another debate over whether making a 147 is getting easier.

They are definitely coming more regularly.

That's a combination of more matches being played, a higher standard and cloths perfect for break building.

This may mean maximums are becoming less special, but easy they are not.

Stephen Hendry is heading back to a venue after beating Mike Dunn 5-2. This will delight the Haikou crowd. He's a legend wherever he goes.

The easiest winner of the day was Robert Milkins. He dished a whitewash out to Ryan Day as he further enhanced his reputation as a deadly scorer.

Elsewhere, Michael Holt continued his resurgence with a 5-3 win over struggling Peter Ebdon, Joe Perry breezed past Anthony Hamilton 5-1 and Andrew Higginson put an end to Yu Delu's good run this week with a 5-3 victory.

Alfie Burden lost to Marcus Campbell by the same scoreline but will be kicking himself after establishing an early three-frame advantage.

Jimmy Robertson booked his venue return, overcoming hard-to-beat Rory McLeod in what should probably go down as one of the best wins of the day.

And finally, Jamie Cope eased past Jamie Burnett 5-1.

It's surprising what can happen in just one day at the qualifiers hey? Well, thanks to the emergence of Twitter and the start of live streaming, you can keep right in touch.

Full list of final round results:

Joe Perry 5-1 Anthony Hamilton
Marcus Campbell 5-3 Alfie Burden
Mark King 5-4 Liang Wenbo
Ricky Walden 5-4 Gerard Greene
Andrew Higginson 5-3 Yu Delu
Tom Ford 5-4 Jamie Jones
Jimmy Robertson 5-3 Rory McLeod
Dominic Dale 5-4 Dave Harold
Barry Hawkins 5-4 Ian McCulloch
Sam Baird 5-4 Mark Davis
Marco Fu 5-2 Matt Selt
Stephen Hendry 5-2 Mike Dunn
Robert Milkins 5-0 Ryan Day
Jamie Cope 5-1 Jamie Burnett
Michael Holt 5-3 Peter Ebdon
Nigel Bond 5-4 Fergal O'Brien

1 comment:

  1. Great right up, well done Mark...