Tuesday, 30 October 2012

International Championship 2012 - Wrapping up the first two days of cue action


Murphy opens with a perfect scoreline
Two days passed since the biggest ranking snooker event in the history of China had started and with the World Seniors Championship taking place at the same time, I haven't been able to write a proper report about what happened on the green baize from Asia.

So, without any further ado, let's see (divided on days), how did the snooker gladiators started their journey in the quest of the "holy Grail from China".

Day One:

"No pain, no gain" is an expression that tends to get along these days, but when the pain you have is located on your ankle and you have to hop around the snooker table, things don't look very easy for you. Still, Michael White (for he is the man in question), tried his best to overcome the pain and got a great 5-2 lead in front of the 14-year-old lad from China, Lu Haotian.

Robbo in action
However, the situation changed dramatically when Haotian launched himself into a dangerous comeback that concluded not only with disputing a decider, but also with winning it at 6-5.

Some of that twist-and-turn was also detected in the match Irishman Ken Doherty had to play against Zhao Xintong. Only this time, Kenny was the one in need of a comeback as the Chinese player was one step away from a place in the next round.

Unfortunately for the 1997 world champion, his efforts didn't pay off and although he managed to draw level at five apiece, Xintong was sure to win the decider.

On a more positive note, Shaun Murphy took a great and very determined start by whitewashing Andrew Higginson 6-0, while Neil Robertson (putting aside his late-minute passport/VISA problems that almost provoked another withdrawal from the tournament after Ronnie's one) dominated the match against Welshman Ryan Day hitting no less that three century breaks (137, 118, 115) for a 6-3 scoreline and a meeting with (ironically) another Welshman, Matthew Stevens.

Fergal O'Brien moved pass wildcard Chen Feilong with a 6-3 scoreline, Jamie Burnett is to met fellow countryman Stephen Maguire after a perfect 6-0 result obtained din front of Niu Zhuang, while both Cao Yupeng and Aditya Mehta earned a spot in the next round after ending their match on the same 6-5 score, by facing Wang Yuchen and Zhu Yinghui respectively.

Day Two:

Higgins suffers an early exit
The second day of cue action brought with it the first major surprise of the tournament so far, when John Higgins lost the cue battle against Cao Yupeng by 6-3.

Just a few months ago Higgins was triumphing in Shanghai 10-9 (after being led by Judd Trump 7-2), but today wasn't his lucky day as the Scotsman was far from achieving a similar performance.

Breaks of 71 and 73 brought the four-time world champion the first two frames of the match, but a series of terrible mistakes here and there were easily punished by a very determined Cao Yupeng, who managed to win by very detached scoreline of 6-3 and is now facing the opportunity of meeting with Mark Allen (the same player he beat during this year's World Championship) in the next round.

Matthew Stevens found himself on the edge of getting kicked out early in the competition from a wild card, the same one that just a day before was sending Michael White packing.

The dangerous Cao Yupeng
Stevens had a 4-1 advantage, when Zhao Xintong put all his ambition into coming back into the match at 4-4 and pushing his opponent all the way until the last frame. Luckily for Stevens (and unfortunately for Zhao), he managed to wrapped up a 6-5 victory.

Mark Selby, although took a pretty slow start, succeeded into beating Ali Carter 6-3, scoreline also recorded by Dominic Dale in front of Scotland's Graeme Dott.

Barry Pinches' run into International Championship came to an end, unfortunately, as Lu Ning managed to prevail a five-hour match and win by 6-5.

Tomorrow, the action continues with:

6.30am
16) Mark Williams v Mark Davis
21) Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett
15) Martin Gould v Marco Fu
19) Mark Allen v Robert Milkins


11.30am
14) Ding Junhui v Zhou Yuelong
17) Judd Trump v Fergal O'Brien
18) Stuart Bingham v Aditya Mehta
23) Ricky Walden v Lu Ning

*all hours are UK time

TV coverage:
06:30 - 09:30 British EuroSport 2
11:30 - 14:30 British EuroSport 2
11:30 - 14:30 British EuroSport
19:00 - 21:00 British EuroSport 2

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