UK Championship - Day 2

07:28:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Selby in the Last 16 round after defeating Ricky Walden
Busy, busy schedule these days, as our boys are playing their snooker in the second biggest tournament of the season. Yesterday was a day filled with class matches, not all of them being televised, though. Still we saw some spectacular shots, some really heavy names entertaining the audiences and some well build breaks. From the BBC two quarters, Ken Doherty and Steve Davis were joking around about those "in pain" in the good spirit of collegiality...and if you know the guys, you’ll know I’m telling the truth. It’s always nice to hear them say a joke or two when in the arena things are getting a bit too dramatic.
But let’s see what happened yesterday and who are the first eight players to reach the Last 16 round.

After leading Matthew Stevens 7-1 in the first session held two days ago, "The Chinese Sensation" Ding Junhui started pretty good, hitting a break of 57 and making even bigger the gap between him and his opponent. But Matt had other plans so he fired in breaks of 36, 103 and took on the black for a 8-4 scoreline. Still it wasn’t enough to recover from such a big handicap, moreover since Ding sealed his victory with a 98 in the next frame.

Lee: I can`t watch this!
Mark Allen had a rendez-vous with the PTC 3 winner, Tom Ford a couple of days ago, meeting that ended up on a 5-3 lead for Mark...and things were going to stay pretty much the same as Allen amazed all of us with three wonderfully build century breaks (141, 113 and 100) and a very, very good form of hitting those snooker balls. In the end Ford left the competition after being defeated 5-9.
A very intense match was the one between Stephen Maguire and the Irish Ken Doherty. Stephen was in front with a 6-2 score after their first encounter, but Ken fought back tremendously to reduce the distance created. It was a good performance from the 1997 world champion, a performance that won him four frames, but Stephen was also playing rather well, and with that advantage wasn’t very difficult for him to make it first to nine, ending the match on 9-6.

Mark Selby and Ricky Walden tied 4-4 in their first session and it was quite an odd one, for Ricky was leading at some point and I’m not talking only about the scores, but also about the cueing action. Second session found Mark in a more determinate mood, as he won one frame after another, and while Ricky only succeeded in cashing two frames, "The Jester from Leicester" "ate up" five of them with the help of some pretty good breaks of 75, 109 and 67. Final score: 9-6 for Selby.
Graeme Dott put quite a show after being in bed all week, due to the flu, in the match played against Martin Gould. The battle started with Martin leading 5-3, but it soon transformed itself in a "one way" match, for this year’s World Championship runner-up won everything there was to be won, for a final result of 9-5. Poor Martin, didn’t even get the chance to win one single frame, that’s how fire breathing Dott was! Amazing!

Robbo and Rory shaking hands after a great victory
One of the best matches of the day, in my opinion, was the one between "the returned from the dead" John Higgins and "the Bulldog" (as very wisely Mark Ashenden put it) Stephen Lee. John was playing very good, but Lee wasn’t bad either, as a matter of fact he played fucking awesome! That’s why they’ve started from a 4-4 scoreline. The first session ended up on this score, after "The Wizard of Wishaw" took the lead 2-0, but Lee made a spectacular comeback and started his wonderfully cueing action.
Anyway, yesterday was a pretty tight competition, as both players were good enough to reach the Last 16 round. Higgins won the first frame with a 99 break, but then came Lee’s 137 beautifully break that made things balanced once again. But John was getting tired of this situation so he made his breakthrough with break of 87, 64 and 80 for an 8-5 lead (that forth frame was a bit controversial due to John` s request of repositioning the pink after he hit the balls, but that` s another story :-P).
Stephen tried to come back with another tremendous break of 137, but the Scot hit a 55 break in the next frame to cash his victory and book himself a place into the next round.

Surprisingly, the match between Andrew Higginson and Peter Ebdon, ended with Peter leaving the competition at a 9-7 score. Although the two of them started on the same foot 4-4 and they’ve always been on frame apart for most of the match, from the 7th frame Andrew stepped forward with breaks of 49, 38 and 71.
And in the end, even if this was one of the fastest matches ever played yesterday, is the battle between Neil Robertson and Rory McLeod. Well, not much of a battle, since Robbo had the advantage of leading 7-1 after the first session and he kept that wonderful performance as he won two frame to end on a 9-1 final result. An easy task for the Aussie who will face Andrew Higginson in the next round.

Below, you’ll find the matches that had only one session disputed, the last one being today.

Marco Fu (4-4) 9-7 Barry Hawkins
Allister Carter (4-4) 6-9 Mark Joyce (covered on TV)
Stephen Hendry (4-4) 9-8 Jimmy White (covered on TV)
Mark J. Williams (6-2) 9-3 Mark Davis
*the second session will start today from 12:30 pm

Ronnie O'Sullivan (4-4) 6-9 Stuart Bingham (covered on TV)
Jamie Cope (3-5) 6-9 Judd Trump
Shaun Murphy (5-3) 9-5 Patrick Wallace (covered on TV)
Mark King 3-5 Ryan Day
*the second session will start today not before 2:00 pm

So, today we shall find out the final scores for those ones, while yet another four matches will have their first session.

From 7:00 pm (UK time)
Ding Junhui v. Mark Allen
Stephen Maguire v. Mark Selby
Graeme Dott v. John Higgins (covered on TV)
Andrew Higginson v. Neil Robertson (covered on TV)

TV coverage
12:30 – 16:30   (BBC 2)
12:30 - 17:15   (British EuroSport)
12:30 - 18:30   (British EuroSport 2)
19:00 – 20:00   (BBC 2) 
19:00 - 22:00   (British EuroSport)
19:00 - 22:00   (British EuroSport 2)
23:20 – 00:10   (BBC 2)
00:10 – 02:10 Snooker Extra (BBC 2)

Please be sure to follow my blog for the links where you can see the matches (for those of you outside the UK, especially) :-)