Monday, 15 December 2014

Stephen Maguire wins 2014 Lisbon Open

Stephen Maguire proudly showing his trophy
Stephen Maguire beat Matthew Selt by 4-2 to win the Lisbon Open tournament, the last ranking snooker event of the year. However, the competition stands up also for the fact that is the first of its kind to be played on Portuguese soil.

For four long days Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, was on fire, as the snooker lads have come to conquer the land that gave the world many fearless explorers back in the day when we didn't know what lies across the ocean.

Considering this special occasion, Ben Woollaston registered a great 147 by playing Joe Steele, this becoming the 110th in snooker history.

But the biggest round of applause was received tonight, as Stephen Maguire and Matthew Selt entered the arena to cross their cues into the grand final battle.

Maguire and Selt
It all started with Selt's great 78 clearance which was bringing him a fair advantage of 1-0 and the scoreline could have easily gone 2-0, if he hadn't snookered himself on the last blue. 

This was the moment when Maguire seemed to have woken up from the dead, a great clearance of just 22 points levelling the match at one apiece. Must add that the frame was dramatically won on the black.

The next frame opened with Maguire's maximum attempt, which unfortunately materialised in just a break of 100, but it was surely enough to give him a boost of confidence as he was now leading by 2-1.

Selt fought back, a break of 69 making the scoreline go all square again, but Maguire put an end to whatever hope was left for the Englishman (who was actually playing for the first time ever into a ranking final) with runs of 50 and 86.

Stephen singing autographs for fans
A thrilled Maguire admitted that he was absolutely "delighted" to win this weekend and that his opponent was fairly the better player for the last two days, but luckily for him he "didn't show up in the final". 

The MC ended with asking Stephen if he is "on fire" to which the Scottish replied with an honest and big smile on his face: "Yeah, definitely on fire".

Monday, 8 December 2014

A victory in sneakers: O'Sullivan wins 2014 UK Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan - the 2014 UK Championship winner
Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Judd Trump 10-9 after a tremendous battle of cues and nerves to win his 5th UK Championship crown. Although the first part of the match was pretty much a one-sided one, Ronnie leading by 5-3, the last session proved to be a genuine snooker drama, Trump taking Ronnie all the way to a decider.

As the lads re-entered the arena in the company of referee Terry Camilleri, the final of this year's Coral UK Championship began. There was no turning back for at the end of the day a new (or old) champion will arise.

Trump was the first in with a chance, a much-needed one considering that he was two frames behind, but unfortunately he broke down on a 48 break after missing a red, this clearing the way for Ronnie and a 53 break that was putting him at 6-3.

Judd Trump - the 2014 UK Championship runner-up
Almost in a xeroxed manner the next frame started in the same way: with Trump as favourite this time though losing position on 56, his opponent using runs of 36 and 31 to grab one more frame. However, a tiny 48 break in frame 11 was proving just was Judd needed to keep his hopes alive. It was 7-4.

But Ronnie was in the mood for the kill, a brilliant 133 clearance and breaks of 54 and 35 helping him to land one step away from the victory line, at 9-4. Surely this was going to be the end for young Judd.

Surely not, would be the right answer, as the Bristol-man won a scrappy affair with a top break of 40 followed by some very special snooker treats: breaks of 120, 127 and 86 to go 9-8 behind.

The lads congratulating each other
With almost 39 minutes since his last pot O'Sullivan started the 18th frame, but missed the black of its spot on 21, followed by losing position on a 38 break, thus Judd capitalising with a beautiful 67 clearance to force the decider.

It was starting to look like the 2010 UK Championship final between John Higgins and Mark Williams, the Scotsman being 9-5 down before performing a magnificent comeback and win the title with a 10-9 scoreline.

Still, this wasn't to be the case for Trump, as O'Sullivan took care of sealing his victory with a 51 break and a punch in the air.

One very happy Rocket!
In the interview taken by Hazel Irvine, Ronnie confessed he was "gone to be honest" at 9-4 and lost his focus while seeing Trump potting one ball after another. The Rocket added that he hopes not to have these sort of matches in the near future and joked about not wanting to face Trump too soon.

So, here it is: after starting the tournament with a strained ankle that caused him to consider pulling out of the event after the first match and after wearing those horrendous sneakers for the entire time, Ronnie O'Sullivan proved that no matter what, as long as you put in the work, the talent and the belief you can win in style.

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