Royal London Watches Grand Prix 2008: Day Two – Fu gets title defence off to impressive start

Following a lengthy afternoon session with both matches going to deciding frames, Marco Fu had a much more straightforward run into the next round. Click below to read about this and the two other matches this evening…

Marco Fu 5-2 Jimmy Michie

Marco Fu made a successful start to the defence of his Grand Prix title this evening with an impressive 5-2 victory over qualifier Jimmy Michie.

Surprisingly though, it was Michie who began the match in better form, narrowly edging two scrappy frames to move into a 2-0 lead. Fu then began to find his rhythm however and managed to level things up at 2-2 going into the mid-session interval.

From this point Marco never looked back as he really upped his game, first making the highest break of the tournament so far with a 139 before looking good for a 143 in next before missing on 77. Although Michie had a chance in frame seven he missed a relatively simple shot when concentrating on position, letting Fu in to seal the win with a break of 94.

Marco should be pleased with his performance as in the last three frames in particular, he looked very comfortable in amongst the balls and capable of scoring heavily when he gets in. Would be nice to see him go deep in the event and make a really strong defence of that title he fought so hard to earn last year.

Marco Fu 5-2 Jimmy Michie 42(34)-77(39), 49(40)-68, 65(41)-7, 68(48)-28, 139(139)-0, 81(77)-0, 94(94)-42(38)

Michael Holt 5-1 Mark Allen

In the shock of the tournament so far, Nottingham’s Michael Holt upset world number 16 Mark Allen to move into the last 16.

Michael started well with a break of 64 in the opening frame, but it was to be Allen who would snatch it with a well-taken 73 of his own. Some might have expected Michael to react badly to this, after all it wouldn’t be the first time, but he hit back in fine style, taking the next three frames to lead 3-1 at the interval.

Things did not get any better for Allen when the players returned as Holt continued to take his chances with a number of decent breaks. He needed a couple of chances to close out the match but this he did with a break of 42 in frame six.

Holt must be full of confidence at the moment as ever since finding himself 3-0 down to Jimmy White in the qualifiers for this event, he has played some terrific snooker. A few more results like this and hopefully for him he will find himself back in the top 32 of the rankings once again.

Mark Allen 1-5 Michael Holt 73(73)-64(64), 16-50, 33-71, 9-68(52), 47-70(52), 0-89(36,42)

Ryan Day 5-4 Ricky Walden

Shanghai Master Ricky Walden came back down to earth with a bump tonight as he lost out in the last match of the day to Welshman Ryan Day. It was not to be a straightforward win however as Ryan, despite looking the better player throughout the match, struggled to get himself over the winning line, eventually taking it 5-4 having at one stage led 4-2.

BBC commentator Willie Thorne attributed this to Ryan’s at times questionable shot selection, stating that he always seems to make things harder than they need to be and you could see what he meant. One example was at 4-3 when faced with a choice of two reds he took the one that if he missed it, would leave Walden right in amongst the balls. This is exactly what happened as it jawed in the left centre and Walden forced a decider.

Day held his nerve however and despite these problems, he had been the stronger player throughout the match and he looked to be cueing superbly well. Already ranked at number five provisionally, Ryan has a real chance to establish himself as a top six player at the moment and a good run here will be a further boost to his chances.

Ryan Day 5-4 Ricky Walden 8-80(34,28), 80(80)-0, 71(70)-29, 64(51)-40(31), 24-74(51), 72(72)-19, 24-103(103), 53(52)-56(50), 71(62)-0