One of the most interesting opening round ties drawn out of the hat for next week’s Grand Prix for me is that which sees the impressive Matt Selt come up against four-time event winner Stephen Hendry. Click below to see how both are feeling ahead of Monday’s match…
Stephen Hendry told the Daily Record:
On his clash with Selt:
“I’ve never played Selt so it is a bit of the unexpected.
“At least when you face the likes of Matthew Stevens or Mark Williams you know what you’re going to get but this is different.”
On recovering from 0-4 down to defeat Marcus Campbell 5-4 in Shanghai:
“I don’t think I’ve ever come back from 4-0 down to win a best-of-nine frame match so it was really good to do so.
“I played badly for the first four frames but then played better in the second half . “I had high hopes for Shanghai and was disappointed to lose in the second round.”
On the Premier League:
“I also played well against Judd Trump in my league match the week before and lost but he potted some shots he’ll probably never pot again.
“However, I played really well against Neil, particularly at the start and end of the match, I finished it well. I’m not going to say how well I’m playing in practice because it doesn’t matter unless you reproduce that form when you are on the match table.
On the Grand Prix
“I’ve never played at the Kelvin Hall so it will be a new experience. All the Scottish boys will get a good reception .”
“It’s [the random draw] good for the event, it’s a bit different and a good thing to do.
“It’s important we have different things going on, different events – somebody needs to put the spark back into snooker.”
Matt Selt is reported on SkySports.com as saying:
“That is the perfect draw for me,”
“I want to play the best people early doors and I believe I can win the match.
“It’s a very, very tough draw, but I enjoy a challenge. The harder the match the better, I think. The better someone plays, the better you play. If I lose I’ll be very disappointed.”
“I’ve been playing a lot with Ronnie, who is probably the best player of all time, so to go on and play Hendry in a main event is perfect,” he added.
“If I can get all these massive matches under my belt it won’t do me anything but good.”
While Hendry as the vastly more experienced player and the local hero will naturally start the match as favourite, it will be very interesting to see how his opponent handles the occasion and whether he can pull off what would be a significant upset.
Of course there is no disrespect intended to Matt by saying that, indeed he has played some terrific stuff this season to qualify for both the Shanghai Masters and this tournament. The fact remains however that his match with Hendry will be only his third at a venue (after his two matches in Shanghai), and his first on the BBC so he is lacking big-match experience and could be forgiven for not reproducing the form he has shown at Pontin’s.
All things considered I would expect Hendry to come through, but as Martin Gould demonstrated by beating Stephen in Newport back in February, he can be beaten by the lower ranked opponents and Matt will take confidence from this. I do feel however that Stephen is now in quite good form, particularly when compared to earlier on in the year and I say, I think he will progress…