2015 Shanghai Masters - Day 1

21:50:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

The grandiose Shanghai Masters has kicked off today with the much-disputed wild card round, only one Chinese player being able to overcome the snooker-fury of their visitors, Fang Xiongman defeating Jamie Jones by an impressive 5-1 scoreline.

The two Australian Open finalists John Higgins and Martin Gould - have both obtained clear victories in front of Liang Wenbo and Barry Hawkins, respectively (both signed 5-1), while Robert Milkins and Mike Dunn performed the first two whitewashes of the tournament against China's Chen Zifan and Niu Zhuang.

The first biggest shock of this tournament hit on early hours (especially if you don't live in Shanghai), as wild card Fang Xiongman beat Englishman Jamie Jones by 5-1 and hit a beautiful 115 break in the process.

According to World Snooker, the Chinese player was very emotional about his win and recalled the fact that, unlike most of the snooker players, he first picked up a cue when he was 17 (the age when Ding Junhui was winning ranking events already).

Xiongman admitted he "there is still so much about the technical and mental sides of the game to learn" which will definitely count when he'll take on the current world champion, Stuart Bingham in Round One.

Recently landing on home soil from Bangkok, Thailand Liang Wenbo had to take on the four-time world champion, John Higgins who, although not at his best, capitalized his chances more easily to end the match on a 5-1 scoreline.

The opener started with Higgins' 147 attempt, which was brutally interrupted when he broke down on 65, his Chinese opponent trying his best to catch up. A bit of an early drama became the main course on the menu for the next minutes, but in the end Higgins closed and took the first frame.

The following three frames were also going to bare John's name, although his biggest break was a 56 during frame four, the mid-session interval coming on a 4-0 scoreline.

After the mini-break Wenbo used runs of 23, 22 and another 22 to pull back a frame, but it was a bit too late to start coming back so the next frame, Higgins closed the deal to advance in the next round where he'll meet ... Martin Gould (his opponent from Australian Open's final).

Gould (who probably got the best birthday present ever today), beat Barry Hawkins by the same 5-1 scoreline in order to qualify for the next round.

"The Pinner Potter" started with a brilliant 109 break and built his assault by taking one frame at the time. Interestingly enough, just as in John's case, his opponent managed to pull back a frame just before Martin wrapped it up and call it a day.

After the match Gould said he is thrilled to have made a good start in Shanghai and explained that Barry was nothing near his best and missed a lot of balls that he didn't expect to do, this finally working into Martin's advantage.

In the end though, Martin added: "It would be nice to see Barry play at his best at some point this season, but not against me, though", with a smile on his face.

The first day proved to be a prolific one also for Robert Milkins who knelled down Chen Zifan by 5-0, the same scoreline being performed by Mike Dunn against Niu Zhuang, while Ryan Day obtained a hard-fought 5-3 victory against Scotland's Graeme Dott.

Alan McManus showed Yao Pengcheng he means serious business with two top breaks of 100 and 122 for a 5-2 victory, the same scoreline being recorded by Peter Ebdon in front of the young Yuan Sijun.

Tomorrow the players will continue to cross their cues, as it follows:


Tom Ford v. Han Bin
Jamie Cope v. Lin Shuai
Kyren Wilson v. Wang Yuchen
Stuart Bingham v. Fang Xiongman


Marco Fu v. Mike Dunn
Judd Trump v. Robert Milkins
Ding Junhui v. Alan McManus
Stephen Maguire v. Michael Holt

*all hours are UK time