The Masters - Day 3

04:53:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Mark Allen tooks down "The Rocket" of snooker
Well, well, well if it isn’t a quite odd tournament, this year’s Masters :-)) It’s true, when you have the best 16 players in the world anything can happen, but to see early exists from most of the favorites and more over, from most of the players that have won the trophy in the previous years, now that’s something many of us didn’t expect. Still, I think this makes the tournament an even more interesting one because for the first time in many years we shall definitely have a brand new champion and it’s going to be great fun to watch who will be that guy. Will it be an UK based player or maybe a foreign one? Who knows?!

Yesterday started with the clash between Ronnie O`Sulivan (a forth times winner of this event) and Mark Allen, the 24 year-old youngster from Northern Ireland eager to take on "The Rocket" of snooker and prove that he is a very precious and talented player. So in the presence of the wonderful Michaela Tabb (who by the way has had a very interesting and nice hair style), the two boys began their match.
Allen was the one who broke the ice by hitting in runs of 38 and 34 to take over the first frame, but O`Sullivan responded in the next round with a 24 and a beautiful 86 to level things up. As the match started to develop Ronnie missed three easy blacks, the third one making him lose the next frame. At that point O`Sullivan seemed very angry with his way of playing the match and frustration was kicking in...not a good thing...

Biting his nails, Ronnie is frustrated with his way of playing
In the forth frame Allen hit an 88 to take the advantage of leading Ronnie three frames by one just before the mid-session interval. As usual, after the 15 minutes break the player who is in big trouble comes with a brand new attitude and with a great desire to take his revenge. This seemed also possible for 'The Rocket" who won a frame to reduce the gap between him and Mark.
The sixth frame was a very unlucky one for O`Sullivan who was potting his way through and all of the sudden, when no one was expecting it, he missed in potting a red to the left superior pocket. But it was such a strange thing because we all thought he would succeed, there was no doubt about it, but the stubborn red bounced over the pocket jaws and decided to stay on the table. Ronnie couldn’t believe it either as he was heading for the next shot. So Allen fired a 36 and a 32 one to take, once again, control of the match at 4-2.

Ronnie goes on missing to pot a black (this time a very difficult one), but chance seems to be by his side as Allen didn’t take full advantage of Ronnie’s mistake there so "The Rocket" takes the eighth frame with runs of 43 and 20 and also the next frame with breaks of 66 and 31. Now the score was 4-4 and things were starting to get messy as the first player who gets 6 frames also gets a place into the quarter-finals.
Allen hit an 87 break to take the lead (again!) so Ronnie needed to pull back a frame and very quickly! Unfortunately he didn’t, letting Allen take his chances with breaks of 32 and 28 - "The Pistol" had shot "The Rocket". Not a pretty picture for Ronnie’s fans, but Mark’s way of playing the game was much better; he was sharp, cruel and steady as a rock in his way towards victory.

Marco Fu books himself a place into the quarter-finals
The second match of the day was going to be part Scottish, part made in Hong Kong as Stephen Maguire was taking on Marco Fu. The ref in charge: the Dutchman of snooker - Jan Verhaas. ;-)
What can I say? Marco had a spectacular start; it was such a blast to see him taking over not one or two, but four frames, while the poor Maguire had only one in his pocket. Fu fired in breaks of 54, 27, 109 and 117 to make his lead a sure thing and that had a huge impact on Maguire’s mind as he seemed overwhelmed by the situation in hand.

But something clicked in his head as Fu took over the seventh frame to take the score at 5-1 and the Scot started potting those balls in an outstanding way. He practically hit the highest break of this tournament (leaving Mark King’s 139 break way behind), a wonderful 142! It was amazing! He was back in the game with breaks of 47, 43 and 74 as the score was now 5-4 in favor of Marco Fu. Such an incredible comeback!

Maguire is totally gutted by the defeat he suffered
But as the 10th frame kicked off, both players started in making huge mistakes and taking too much time on every shot. This frame lasted almost 50 minutes (the clock showed 2 minutes per shot!) and although the score was in favor of Fu 46-23, none of the players were sure of what’s going to happen next.
Needless to say that the safety shots battles were the main key there and that the boys snookered themselves as long as they could. At this point none of them were at their best. Maguire missed a huge opportunity to get back in the frame and win some points when he missed in potting a very easy and straight yellow, so Fu took full advantage of that. At 29-58 the Scot concealed the frame and the match leaving the arena totally gutted, while Fu seemed fully exhausted. That was quite a battle!

Today the last two matches of the first round will break off, as it follows:

13:30 (UK time) - Neil Robertson v. Stephen Hendry
19:00 (UK time) - Shaun Murphy v. Jamie Cope

TV coverage
13:30-16:30 Masters Snooker (BBC 2)
13:30-17:00 Masters Snooker (British EuroSport 2)
19:00-20:00 Masters Snooker (BBC 2)
19:00-22:00 Masters Snooker (British EuroSport 2)
23:20-00:10 Masters Snooker: Highlights (BBC 2)
00:10-02:10 Masters Snooker: Extra (BBC 2)

Don’t forget the "magic" link for those of you who want to watch the boys online. See you tomorrow! ;-)