Roewe Shanghai Masters 2008: Day One – Wenbo wins as wildcards fall

Day one in Shanghai and the final three wildcard matches (plus the climax of the Hamilton match and the qualifying tie between Wenbo and Mahitthi) have now been completed. Click below to find out what happened.

Liang Wenbo 5-3 Atthasit Mahitthi

Liang Wenbo won a match with Atthasit Mahitthi that to start with was an entertaining affair with both players looking in reasonably good shape, before the match descended into a scrappy affair that went on for almost four hours. Eventually though Wenbo managed to scramble over the line and set up a tie with Mark Allen tomorrow in what is actually the final qualifying round.

An interesting match from the off, Wenbo made a promising start as Mahitthi struggled to escape from a tricky snooker. With over 30 penalty points to his name, Liang then added a break of 94 to move into a 1-0 lead.

Frame two was to be intriguing for a totally different reason as following a foul on the white by Wenbo when attempting a long blue into the green pocket, Mahitthi was awarded four more points than he should have been by the marker in the arena. This inaccuracy went on for a number of minutes before referee Terry Camilleri consulted with Jan Verhaas and the marker in order to resolve the situation. Going down to the final two balls, eventually Mahitthi was to prevail anyway, levelling the match at 1-1.

Both continued to play quite well, trading frames up until the sixth which proved to be the most error-strewn of the match so far. With just the colours remaining, all six balls ended up in the top half of the table as the frame looked like it would never end but eventually Liang Wenbo was to prevail and move into a 4-2 lead. Reminiscent of that moment in the World Championship, Wenbo celebrated the frame ball blue with a clenched fist but unlike against Swail he was to make no mistake as he managed to pot the pink for good measure.

To Mahitthi’s credit, after losing a frame like that some players might have given up but he responded with an excellent break of 127, unfortunately missing the final black which had it gone in, would have made it his highest ever tournament break.

The next frame however was to be another scrappy affair as both players began to struggle badly with their game. With the clock coming up to midnight in China perhaps they were beginning to tire, though more likely is that they were feeling the pressure of the situation as the match approached its conclusion.

Eventually though Liang managed to just about hold himself together and when presented with a good chance to wrap up the match, did so with a break of 51. He now goes on to meet Mark Allen tomorrow morning while Mahitthi will next be in action at the Bahrain qualifiers next month.

Best of the rest:

The second match of the day to go to a day deciding frame was that between Leciester’s Tom Ford and Chinese wildcard Yu Delu. In what was a match with some solid scoring, highlighted by a 107 from Ford in frame three, an upset looked on the cards at one point as Delu led 4-3. Ford however showed his class to fight back and take the last two frames and earn a tie with John Higgins in the last 32.

The final two wildcard matches of the day were to be more one sided affairs as Andy Hicks and Stuart Pettman both recorded 5-1 wins over Li Yuan and Cao Xinlong respectively. Pettman in particular looked impressive as he started the match with a 115 and never really looked back. No doubt he will face a more difficult challenge tomorrow as he faces world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan however.

Anthony Hamilton also managed to see off Li Yan in their match that started this morning but had to be suspended at 4-1 due to the slow pace of the match. He now meets Marco Fu in the last 32.

Click here to see my post on the wildcards playing today.

Wildcard Round

Anda Zhang 0-5 Ricky Walden 18-69, 24-83(37), 23-87(32), 11-62, 0-74(74)

A Bulajiang 4-5 Judd Trump 27-84(53), 10-85(65), 71(43)-51(50), 57-44, 53(30)-61(44), 82(67)-41(46), 29-77(51), 65-2, 53-67

Xiao Guodong 2-5 Jimmy White 0-91(34,51), 0-109(102), 100(54)-0, 21-84(67), 22-85(57), 84(44)-31(31), 0-85(60)

Li Yan 1-5 Anthony Hamilton 33-83, 29-63, 61-73(42), 2-57(42), 88(72)-0, 18-69

Andy Hicks 5-1 Li Yuan 68-52, 65-30, 23-70, 65(48)-7, 115(104)-8, 69(60)-7

Tom Ford 5-4 Yu Delu 84(79)-9, 1-109(68,41), 107(107)-0, 66(65)-45(41), 10-74(52), 30-66, 56(39)-61(30,27c), 79(78)-0, 83(77)-14

Stuart Pettman 5-1 Cao Xinlong 119(115)-8, 80(33,31)-5, 7-85(83), 71(31,33)-36, 93(73)-26, 72(54)-25