The final of the 2012 China Open will be contested between Stephen Maguire and Peter Ebdon after the pair came through their semi-finals against Stephen Lee and Ding Junhui respectively. Click below for a round-up of their matches and a look ahead to the final…
First man through to the final today was Scotland’s Stephen Maguire, who recorded a surprisingly one-sided 6-2 victory against the in-form Stephen Lee today to reach his second final of 2012.
It was Maguire who made the stronger start to lead 2-0 as his opponent struggled to find his game, but a missed red from the Scot when leading in the third looked as though it might be a key turning point as Lee took full advantage with a fine 67 to get himself on the scoreboard, before adding frame four to draw level at the interval.
That was however to be as good as things would get for the provisional world number six as Maguire atoned for his error by taking the next four frames to secure victory.
While Lee has been the player of 2012 to date having reached the semi-final stages of four of the five ranking events staged to date, Maguire has not been far behind and is arguably looking as confident as he did when he last won this title back in 2008. A player who I feel is underrated in some circles, as with the likes of Lee and Mark Allen recently, I would be surprised if he were not to capture another major title in the near future, possibly tomorrow.
As for Lee, it has been a busy period for him of late and he indicated after the match that perhaps tiredness had caught up with him today as aside from that brief period prior to the mid-session interval he rarely threatened to find his best form. Still, he nevertheless heads into the World Championship in fine form and with a couple of weeks to rest and practice ahead of the big one, can be pleased with his work in Beijing.
Maguire’s opponent in the final will be Peter Ebdon after the 2009 champion came back from 3-1 down to defeat Ding Junhui 6-3 in the day’s second semi-final.
Having endured a disastrous start to the 2011/12 season, Peter has bounced back in fine style this week and with his points from the 2010 World Open set to come off his tally later in 2012, done his prospects of remaining inside the world’s top 32 in the medium-term the power of good. Up six places to 22nd in the latest projected seedings compared to his starting position this week, the result has certainly taken any rankings pressure off of his shoulders.
For those of you that haven’t seen it yet, Peter has recently been talking about his move to a vegan lifestyle which on this week’s evidence looks to have done him the power of good. You can read his thoughts on that here.
Who will win the final? Both former champions here in Beijing, Stephen and Peter are clearly comfortable at the venue and will fancy their chances of taking what would be their first ranking title since their previous triumphs at the venue. In terms of form, from what I have seen both have played strong match-play snooker all week, though if the match were to become a war of attrition then you would have to fancy Peter to come out on top.
Remember, the winner will also secure a place in the 2012 Premier League competition. It would certainly be interesting to see how Peter would fare in the competition, indeed while he is not the quickest player in the game, he can play quickly and has arguably played some of his better snooker when competing at a quicker pace, notably at the 2006 UK Championship which he won in York.
Anyway, we shall see tomorrow, who is your money on?