Australian Goldfields Open 2011 - Day 4

00:14:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Mark Selby makes his way to the Last 8
Surprise has been the name of this tournament for sure and if you’ve followed my last reports from Bendigo, you already know what I'm talking about. So, it was impetuously necessary to have some surprises today too, right? But these surprises were being reveled to us at the end of the day - saving the best for last, as they say :-)

The morning started with Mark Williams defeating David Gilbert by 5-2, the Welshman being in a better from that he was yesterday, while Mark Allen was hammering Marcus Campbell 5-1, by hitting in breaks of 100 and 101. However, it wasn't an easy victory for Allen, it was hard fought, despite the final scoreline, but maybe it was for the best, now the proud of Northern-Ireland being readier than ever to go further in the competition.

Later on, Mark Selby and Mark Davis were entering the arena to start their cue battle and what a battle that was!
Although for Selby it felt like the match he played against Perry, he did manage to have a better start and not to lose the first three frames. Actually, the lads shared frames all the way to the interval, when the scoreline became 2-2. But after the mini-break was over, Selby retuned for the victory!
He won the following two frames, the first one by potting the last couple of balls (pink and black), while the second was cashed with a tiny 32 break.

A bit unlucky, Mark Davis ends his run in Bendigo
The 7th frame saw a very strong Davis, the OnQ Promotions recruit hitting a brilliant 78 break to reduce the gap at just one point, 3-4. And since Davis has been unlucky during this match, rather than playing poorly, most of us were fancying a decider between the two. However, that didn't happen, as runs of 33 and 25 were closing the gates of victory for Mark Davis, while Selby was covered in glory. Maybe not the best way to win yourself a match, but hey! a win is a win, no matter what!

At the near table things were crystal clear. Why do I say that? Well, because Stuart Bingham was facing Tom Ford, but this match was more like an one way street, the one that shinned all the way through being Stu. Unintended rhyme there :-P He succeeded to complete the first whitewash of this tournament, a perfect 5-0, over the poor Tom Ford that seemed lost while his opponent was potting one ball after another.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for: the last two matches and the biggest surprises of this day.

Dominic Dale - snooker player, singer, winner
Neil Robertson, the local star and one of the favorites to win this inaugural edition of the Australian Open, suffered a very tactical defeat in front of Dominic Dale. It's been a shock for many of us, but not a real shock if you followed the match. Unfortunately, Robbo wasn't at his best and there were times when he seemed to lose his consistency in playing.

Although the Aussie started in great style, the whole crowd being mesmerized by his 101 break, Dominic made his way through the balls in order not only to draw level, but also to take the lead 3-1 by the interval. Of course that breaks of 77 and 54 were responsible for this, but what matters most is that Dale had that little spark of "I want this!" in his eyes.

After the mid-session interval, Robbo fought back with a beautiful 111 break that made the audience go mad with excitement. Their man was still alive. But Robbo’s performance didn't stop here, him winning the next frame also to trail 2-3.
This was the moment when Dominic put his nose in front for a 4-2 lead, being now just one frame away from the quarter-finals. But that was still a long way to go, as Robertson managed to pull back all the needed frames and force a decider.

Robertson eliminated from Australian Open
The 9th frame seemed to be Neil's without doubt, Dom needing a snooker ... but what do I always say? Never say never until the last ball is potted. And this was one of these occasions, for the Englishman managed to get that snooker and beat the 2010 world champion by 5-4. What an amazing victory! What strong character this Dominic Dale is!

Not many would have given Ken Doherty a chance to beat the revived Liang Wenbo ... maybe not even I, but one must never underestimate the power that lies within a player. That force that makes you keep going. That’s what brought "The Darling of Dublin" a place into the next round.

A break of 53 was breaking the ice as Ken was taking the opener, but by the time the interval kicked in Wenbo was already 3-1 up, with breaks of 44, 63 and 65. And to consolidate his position, the little but powerful Chinese cashed another frame for a 4-1 scoreline. What more can one ask from a player, who's just one step away from winning? Apparently not to let his opponent in.
And that’s exaclty what Wenbo did, he let Ken in. Although we can't say that Kenny made his comeback into the match with brilliant breaks, it was a hard fought battle and a genuine test of endurance.

So, by winning one frame after another, the Irishman forced a decider that he ... what did he do? What? I can't hear you!!!! Indeed, he won it and he won it in great style, apologizing for the statement he made a week ago, during the World Cup, when his team lost in front of China’s and he accused Wenbo for not wearing a bow-tie. Sometimes pressure and tiredness do that to a person.

Tomorrow the quarter-finals will start and I'm dying to know what will happen next. Don't you? ;-)

From 04:00 (UK time)
QF1 - Matthew Selt v. Shaun Murphy
QF2 - Mark Allen v. Stuart Bingham

From 10:30 (UK time)
QF4 - Dominic Dale v. Mark Williams
QF3 - Mark Selby v. Ken Doherty

TV coverage:
09:00 - 13:20 British EuroSport 2

Useful link for when EuroSport is not covering the event: