Today sees the final qualifying round of the 2012 Haikou World Open take place and already it has been a dramatic day, not only due to the 147 made by Marco Fu but also dramatic matches involving Mark Davis and Marcus Campbell…
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- Please note that points earned this week will not appear on the projected seedings list until AFTER the Welsh Open
Having shown much-improved form this week with wins against Xiao Guodong and Jack Lisowski heading into today, Alfie Burden looked good to qualify for the venue stages of the Haikou World Open as he raced into a 3-0 lead this morning with a top break of 123. His opponent Marcus Campbell had other ideas however as he then won the next five frames, eventually finishing with a run of 138 to complete an impressive turnaround and secure his place at the venue.
There was also a good win for Marco Fu who from 2-2 produced a fine finish, winning the final three frames, as highlighted by his excellent 147 in frame six, to defeat Matt Selt and continue his climb back up the rankings. Having at one point looked in danger of losing his place inside the top 32 earlier this season, Marco will be hoping for a return to the top 16 at some point although he has work to do yet if he is to make that a reality.
Elsewhere there were contrasting wins for Robert Milkins and Barry Hawkins against Ryan Day and Ian McCulloch respectively. For Robert his 5-0 victory against a man who had previously not lost a qualifying match since the last World Open back in 2010 was over in very little time at all, while Barry’s deciding frame success against Ian was to take at least four hours and run well into the afternoon session.
There were also wins for Jamie Cope, a 5-1 victor against Jamie Burnett, the man who defeated him during last season’s Shanghai Masters semi-finals, and for young Sam Baird who came back from 3-1 and 4-3 down to defeat the much-more experienced Mark Davis to qualify for his first full venue. A player who has impressed me when I have seen him in action during the past couple of years, I am pleased to see Sam make it to China for the first time and will be interested to see who he is paired with when the full draw for the tournament is released.
First man through to the final round this afternoon was seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry who was a 5-2 winner against Mike Dunn at the Academy in Sheffield. While the match failed to really catch light, there were flashes of quality from Hendry, most notably an excellent break in frame six to put himself one away from victory at 4-2, but generally Mike struggled to make the most of the chances that came his way.
Soon to join Hendry at the venue was On Q’s Jimmy Robertson who followed up his deciding frame win against Ken Doherty yesterday with a 5-3 victory against Rory McLeod. An impressive result in its own right, it is even more so given that Jimmy trailed both 2-0 and 3-2 in the match and it will now be interesting to see how he can acquit himself at the venue.
Also booking his place in China was Leicester’s Tom Ford who consolidated his position inside the top 32 with a deciding frame victory against Welshman Jamie Jones, having trailed 4-3 with two to play. Similarly Mark King was also to make it through a decider against Liang Wenbo, despite a brave fightback by Liang from 3-0 and 4-2 down.
In a marathon final match of the session, Dominic Dale came through a decider with Stoke Potter Dave Harold to book his place at the venue and like Ford, further consolidate his top 32 position in the rankings.