China Open Qualifiers 2009: Round Two News (updated)

Day two from Pontin’s and it was an interesting day of play. Click below for my reports and here to view the draw over at GSC…

Morning Session

Already this morning the experienced trio of Stuart Pettman, Andy Hicks and Rod Lawler have all recorded comfortable wins over their opponents to move into the third round.

Pettman was particularly impressive during his win over Peter Lines as he equalled his highest ever tournament break of 142, a feat that he first achieved at the 2001 Thailand Masters. In winning 5-2 he has now earned himself a tie with veteran Scot Alan McManus who will be looking to make the TV stages of a tournament for the first time since the season-opening Northern Ireland Trophy.

Also winning 5-2 was Andy Hicks who saw off Simon Bedford to progress in the tournament. Bedford has had a good season so far and Hicks ‘only’ had a 4-3 advantage in their previous meetings so it had the potential to be a close one, but Andy managed to string a few half-centuries together and win comfortably. Next up for him will be Shanghai Masters winner Ricky Walden who is sure to give him a much sterner test.

Lawler meanwhile had the most dramatic win of the three, defeating highly-rated Welsh left-hander Daniel Wells in a deciding frame finish. It was a brilliant match with eight breaks over 50 which looked like going either way, but a run of 80 from Lawler capped off a great performance and earned him a tie with Telford’s Adrian Gunnell tomorrow.

Despite these wins though, a few unseeded players have managed to break the trend this morning, namely Scott MacKenzie and Jin Long who are both looking to build on decent runs in the UK Championship.

Scott’s win in particular was a good result against Mark Joyce, the man who made the final of the Masters qualifying event recently. Having won their only previous meeting, Scott must have taken some confidence from that and with a performance highlighted by a break of 131, now moves into the third round of an event for the first time all season. Next up for him is a very interesting tie with fellow Scott Jamie Burnett who plays his first match since the match-fixing controversy at the UK Championship last month. All eyes will be on him and I am looking forward to seeing how he does.

Long’s win meanwhile was an even more convincing performance against a talented player in Davy Morris. Having narrowly lost out to Judd Trump in the UK’s, Long is clearly in decent form and with a century break today will be pleased to avenge his defeat to Morris earlier on this season in the Shanghai Masters. If he can defeat Tom Ford in the next round he will give himself every chance of qualifying for his home event, though Ford is another good player and it will be far from easy.

The final result of the morning was the win of Kuldesh Johal who defeated the experienced Barry Pinches to make the third round of a ranking event for the second time in a row. What made this win all the better though is the fact that Kuldesh had to fight really hard and come back from 4-1 down to win the match, a strong effort indeed. He’ll need to improve further though if he is to defeat Judd Trump in the next round…

Andrew Norman 5-4 Stephen Craigie 64-6, 73(42)-45, 78(78)-37, 47-61, 51-61, 4-102(59), 75-42, 62(42)-74, 79(54)-0
Barry Pinches 4-5 Kuldesh Johal 70(53)-38, 73(36)-39, 27-88(61), 94(41,53)-28, 60(60)-64(50), 63-22, 25-71, 0-80(49), 30-64
Andy Hicks 5-2 Simon Bedford 71(42)-22, 99(40,38)-22, 59-46, 1-126(54,72), 71(49)-2, 0-71(40), 53(43)-10
Rob Milkins 5-1 Andrew Pagett 32-90(75), 84(84)-4, 89(89)-0, 69(41)-2, 75(67)-29, 68(55)-3
Mark Joyce 3-5 Scott MacKenzie 1-79(43), 0-131(131), 76(64)-5, 43-80, 79(42)-22, 72(62)-56(56), 39-76, 20-66
Stuart Pettman 5-2 Peter Lines 78-53, 142(142)-0, 43-51, 67(38)-32, 75(53)-20, 56(54)-63, 55-17
Rod Lawler 5-4 Daniel Wells 96(32,33)-30, 68(68)-53(53), 96(65)-8, 0-81(81), 16-83(71), 104(95)-21, 19-81(53), 20-56, 80(80)-0
David Morris 1-5 Jin Long 56(40)-23, 21-58(47), 21-109(103), 27-74(73), 19-71, 31-70(51)

Afternoon Session

Indian professional Aditya Mehta continued his good run this evening with a dominant 5-1 win over the struggling David Roe. After a similarly impressive win yesterday, this is a good run for a player who apart from a couple of matches in the Grand Prix qualifiers has failed to shine so far this season. He can expect a tough match tomorrow though as he comes up against Michael Holt for a place in the final qualifying round.

As for David Roe however it is a fifth first round exit from six tournaments now and his place on the tour that he has held since 1986/7 is beginning to look increasingly fragile. In his favour though he does have a decent amount of points from last season and it will be these that will probably see him maintain his place for another season.

The impressive run of Li Hang was brought to an abrupt halt tonight as Martin Gould continued his strong recent form with a resounding 5-1 win tonight. Having made it 1-1 with a break of 74 it looked like Hang would push Martin all the way but Gould was scoring well himself and soon knocked in a century of 103 amongst other big breaks to stroll to victory.

Next up for Martin is a hard to call tie with Andrew Higginson as both look to boost their hopes of a top 48 place at the end of the season. Currently in 56th place in the rankings Martin will need to win a few more matches yet but making the TV stages of the UK’s last month has at least given him a chance.

After Scott MacKenzie’s win earlier on, countryman James McBain joined him in the third round tonight with an excellent 5-2 win over Mark Davis. Given Mark’s form over the past 12 months and the fact that he beat McBain at this stage in the Shanghai Masters quite recently, I was expecting him to win to be honest but James defied that belief to secure an impressive win. His performance was highlighted by breaks of 68 and 78 and sees him through to the third round of an event for the first time all season. With his provisional ranking down at 84th this is just what he needed and a win against Dave Gilbert tomorrow would be even better!

For Mark though it is his first round one defeat of the season which will come as a disappointment to him I’m sure, though he is still in with an excellent chance of moving back into the top 48 next season and hopefully from his point of view he can do well in the last two events.

Another man who has won his first two matches this week is the ever-consistent Thai hope Atthasit Mahitthi who won an excellent match with Welshman Ian Preece tonight. Things looked good for Atthasit early on as he opened the match with breaks of 110 and 88 to lead 2-0, but Preece hit right back with 40, 40, 61 and 67 to turn things around completely. Mahitthi though regained his composure and with breaks of 56, 53 and 40, powered on to secure his ninth ranking win of the season.

Already up in 66th coming into this event, Mahitthi is now sure to move up the provisional rankings further and looks a certainty to remain on the tour, either via finishing in the top 64 or in the top 8 outside of that group on the one year list.

Liu Song 4-5 Robert Stephen 29-59, 58-69(63), 76(69)-63, 63-39
Paul Davies 2-5 Andy Lee 54(38)-58(38), 19-72, 0-72(68), 39-60, 76(40)-0, 67-66, 15-60(51)
Mark Davis 2-5 James McBain 75(37)-38, 0-8838), 60(41)-56(35), 0-81(78), 14-69(41), 0-57(39), 57-58
Ian Preece 3-5 Atthasit Mahitthi 0-110(110), 4-88(88), 98(40,40)-0, 128(61,67)-4, 80-66, 16-77(53), 30-96(40,56), 68(42)-69(38)
Joe Delaney 3-5 Patrick Wallace 79(79)-16, 82(45)-40(39), 8-102(38,63), 8-78(76), 94(50,44)-7, 58-68(35c), 30-64(51), 24-63(46)
David Gray 5-3 Lewis Roberts 779(60)-13, 84(65)-4, 24-75(50), 40-68(62), 106(97)-26, 58-25, 70(52)-71, 83(34)-48
David Roe 1-5 Aditya Mehta 48-81(53), 0-100(83), 40-77(34,34), 95(53,42)-0, 49-52(37), 14-57(35)
Martin Gould 5-1 Li Hang 76-8, 32-89(74), 92(64)-25, 61-36, 67-10, 103(130)-0