UK Championship - Day 4

06:50:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

One of the busiest days of the UK Championship has been completed yesterday as now we are in possession of the eight names witch have a free card to the quarter-finals, due to start today. It was literally a crazy day filled with many unexpected surprises, with a lot of drama and tension. If I were to take a moment and think this through, I think that yesterday excelled on the "wow" chapter better than any other day, since we saw great names struggle to pot easy balls and trophy favorites going home.
Drawing the line, until this moment, it seems like the new names are the ones offering the real top class snooker show, as they’ve defeated more then one legend and have scored beautiful century breaks.

The player who sent home all packed up Ronnie O`Sullivan the other night, Stuart Bingham continued his series of winnings as he defeated Marco Fu with an incredible 9-2 scoreline. Ending the first session on a 6-2 lead, things seemed to be quite sorted out as Stuart kept on winning one frame after another in the second session, by firing in breaks of 76, 56, 90, 74 and 59, while the poor Fu sat quietly in his chair incapable of putting himself together. This victory proves that Bingham is a very dangerous opponent and that the fact he sent home 'The Rocket" wasn’t just a weird coincidence.
A very interesting "battle of youth" was given between Judd Trump and Mark Joyce, both players doing their thing (playing snooker) at their best. Mark took the advantage of leading 5-3 after the first meeting with Judd, (being helped by breaks of 39, 87, 100 and 79) and continued in the second with a 63 and a 69. It was a balanced match until Mark stormed out and took the lead, ending the match in his favor by 9-7.

Hendry and Williams had a awful day in snooker
The following match was a constant pain to watch, as two heavy names struggled to find their way through the quarter-finals. Stephen Hendry and Mark Williams tormented each other and the viewers in what was, in my opinion, one of the worst matches ever played by the two of them. It was just not their day....Stephen was clearly all over the place and Mark was in the same position.
The first session ended up with Hendry taking the lead 5-3, a session where Williams` biggest break was a 24, while the second session was more of a Williams` one as the Welsh succeeded in booking himself a place in the next round by finishing on a 9-6 result.
Although I love and admire both of them, this match was a total disaster and it was horrible to watch. That being said, I can only imagine how they must have felt like, as at this stage you know when you are playing poorly. After the match Mark said: "It was dreadful, the worst I have ever played as a professional, full stop. Stephen played like someone with no eyes. At least I can now look forward to my next match because I can't play any worse."
In return, Stephen added: "Maybe I should go and see (golfer) Bernhard Langer and ask him how he got rid of the yips. I just can't get through the ball."

Shaun put his magic cue to work
On the other hand, the match between Shaun Murphy and Ryan Day showed what two great players can do when they play together. Even if Shaun took the advantage of leading in the first session by 5-3 (breaks of 100 and 131 included), in the second one things got very tight. Ryan started to feel better and win constantly, but "The Magician" hit back with a 101 break to make it 8-6. At this point, Ryan took a 65 and 97 to bring the match into a decider, decider that could have been easily won by him if he wouldn’t have missed a red while playing with the long rest. Shaun took his chance and closed the table with a 9-8 scoreline.

Another interesting and very entertaining match was the one between Ding Junhui and Mark Allen. Allen entered the final session with a 6-2 lead, lead that soon was going to disappear as Ding rushed in to make it 6-5 by hitting in breaks of 78 and 103. It was a constant battle between the two of them, as they were only one frame apart all the way through. In the end, Mark succeeded in closing 9-8 and sending home the defending champion. The boys have played class snooker!

Robbo continues his series of victories
"The Jester from Leicester" won’t be entreating the crowds was he lost 7-9 to the Scot Stephen Maguire in a match were the last one dominated bottom to the top. It all started with Maguire taking the lead 5-3 after their first encounter and making it 7-4 by a 72 break. Still, our Mark wasn’t to stare and look at the table, so he produced some nice break of 72 and 51 in order to level up the situation at 7-7. But that was about Maguire stormed out taking the last two frames and clearing the table with a wonderfully 135.

"The Thunder from Down Under" Neil Robertson, world champion and world number one etc., etc, etc. :-)) had a very prolific day as he ended the first session on a 7-1 lead. The victim? Andrew Higginson. To be honest I was expecting Neil to do the same thing as he did with Rory McLeod, meaning ending the match on a 9-1 score, but Andrew had different plans, as he won four frames. If he had played at least half as good as he did yesterday in the first session against Robertson he might stood a chance, but with that gap between the them it was way too hard. That’s why for Robbo it was pretty easy to win two frames (9-5) and earn his place in the quarter-finals.

Higgins is through the quarter-finals
A very tight battle was given between Graeme Dott and John Higgins. With the first session ending on 4-4, with a Higgins out of his hand and a second session that started not too good with a lot of misses and crappy shots, yet the match was pretty good, as a whole. The two were constantly one frame apart so it wasn’t as much as a surprise the fact that the battle ended up on a decider. At 8-8, things could have gone either way, but this time "The Wizard of Wishaw" was the one who yield victory as he finished on a 9-8 result.

As I was telling you at the beginning of this article, the quarter finals are about to start, for today the schedule looking something like this:

From 1:30 pm and from 7:00 pm (UK time)
Mark Allen 5-3 Stuart Bingham
Stephen Maguire 3-5 John Higgins
*updated after the first session

TV coverage
12:30 – 16:30 (BBC 2)
13:30 - 16:30 (British EuroSport)
13:30 - 16:30 (British EuroSport 2)
19:00 – 20:00 (BBC 2)
19:50 - 22:00 (British EuroSport)
23:20 – 00:10 (BBC 2)
00:10 – 02:10 Snooker Extra (BBC 2)

See you tomorrow, dears! ;-)