Shanghai Masters Qualifiers 2009: Day Two Updates

Day two from Prestatyn and so far it has been a morning for experience as only one player younger than 30 has progressed into the third round so far. Incidentally if anyone is wondering about my provisional rankings page, I have decided to update this on Thursday once the qualifiers have been completed rather than after every round…

Morning Session

World number 56 Jimmy White has got his season off to a perfect start with a 5-0 whitewash of Bjorn Haneveer in little over two hours. On paper it looks like a straightforward win for Jimmy but on closer inspection it was in fact a closer match as Bjorn scored 53, 44, 40, 38 and 24 in the frames played, yet somehow was unable to win any of them.

As a result of his win, Jimmy has now added a further 805 points to the 455 that he was already assured of and moves into a third round tie with Andrew Higginson. Having experienced something of a return to form last season, Jimmy is in with a real chance of a return to the top 48 at the end of this season and a run to the TV stages of this event could only help him with that.

Soon to join him was Robert Milkins who ended the hopes of tour debutant Craig Steadman with a comfortable 5-1 victory. On their last two (non-tour), meetings it was apparently Craig who managed to win on both occasions but these ranking events are a different matter entirely and Robert’s far greater experience was reflected in the scoreline today.

He got out of the blocks quickly with a break of 58 and though Craig soon levelled at 1-1, further runs of 70, 85 and finally 112 booked Milkins a second third round tie with Anthony Hamilton tomorrow morning. Starting the season 55th provisionally it was important for him to get off to a good start and having got those extra ranking points in the bank now he has certainly done that.

Comeback of the day so far goes to veteran Tony Drago who from 4-1 down against young Irishman David Morris managed to produce some inspired snooker to secure a 5-4 win.

In the early stages of the match it was not looking good for Malta’s finest as apart from a break of 72 to take the second frame, he failed to make the most of his opportunities and saw his opponent open up a three frame advantage. From there however he responded with breaks of 86, 74 and 69 to force a decider and with his opponent now obviously feeling the pressure, managed to edge what was a much tighter ninth frame to book his place in the third round.

While there is still room for improvement as far as Tony’s game is concerned, for a player in his position every win is crucial from a ranking perspective and the extra 350 points gained today (on top of the 910 already earned), could make the difference at the end of the season. More immediately however he is just two wins away from reaching the venue stages out in Shanghai and the next man standing in his way is gritty Scot Marcus Campbell. Could Tony do it?

Following a disastrous season for Liu Song in 2008/9 it was important for him to start well this time around but it was not to be as Simon Bedford cruised to a 5-0 victory.

Having played in both the English Open and the Pro Challenge event in Leeds recently, Simon has had plenty of match practice going into the new season and it certainly seems to be helping as he moves into the third round of an event where he will face another player who struggled for form last season, Ian McCulloch.

Finally despite a couple of good fightbacks from young duo Daniel Wells and Xiao Guodong, the experience of Joe Delaney and Rod Lawler has proved to be crucial as they managed to win 5-3 and 5-4 respectively.

While Wells was able to score 30+ points in each of the first three frames it was Delaney who managed to take the lot to put himself in a commanding position early on. Daniel responded well (no pun intended), taking three of the next four but the damage had already been done and it is Joe who moves on to face Stuart Pettman tomorrow morning.

Rod meanwhile came into his match on the back of a good run in the English Open event in Leeds where he defeated players such as Dave Harold and looked to be easing through today as he found himself 4-1 up with breaks of 108 and 70. Xiao is a talented young player however and showed his fighting qualities to take the next three and force a decider, but perhaps predictably it was the experienced player who again came through and Rod will now face Ken Doherty in the last 64.

Match 17 – Joe Delaney 5-3 Daniel Wells
76-36, 68-35, 70(57)-31, 25-72, 82(69)-8
Match 18 – David Morris 4-5 Tony Drago
77(47)-46, 27-72(72), 90(54)-0, 62-47, 71(53)-43, 0-69(69), 0-86(86), 0-74(74), 56-66
Match 19 – David Gilbert 5-2 Brendan O’Donoghue
4-78(49), 36-55, 78(60)-19, 79(65)-15, 80(33)-4, 69-63, 60(39)-42(40)
Match 20 – Jimmy White 5-0 Bjorn Haneveer
68(35)-38, 74(73)-44(44), 61(34)-53(52), 76(62)-40, 93(47)-24
Match 21 – Mark Joyce 2-5 Joe Jogia
71(43)-37, 53-69(43), 51(47)-70(50), 69(64)-20, 17-58(56), 53-62, 44-55(49)
Match 22 – Robert Milkins 5-1 Craig Steadman
60(58)-35, 15-51, 62-55(44), 71(70)-13, 85(85)-9, 113(112)-0
Match 23 – Rod Lawler 5-4 Xiao Guodong
81-12, 0-63(62), 108(108)-9, 57-10, 70(70)-1, 67-6


Afternoon Session

First man through this afternoon is Welsh youngster Michael White who needed just one hour and four minutes to see off 1991 world champion John Parrott in fine style. While John is obviously not the player that he once was, this is still an excellent win for Michael who having made it back onto the tour for a second time looks like he is going to make the most of it if this tournament is anything to go by. Waiting for him in the next round is Mark Davis however, an experienced player who during the last year or so has produced some of his best snooker and will be a much sterner test of his abilities.

For Parrott though this is a poor start to a season which some anticipate will be his last unless he can turn his form around. Hopefully from his point of view he can produce some better snooker at the Grand Prix next month, a tournament that he went all the way to the last 16 of last year.

Joining him in the third round is the impressive Lee Spick who has today taken the scalp of Tom Ford with a 5-2 victory. Although Tom is a highly rated young player, during the World Championship at the end of last season I was really impressed with Lee’s scoring and having continued that yesterday against Andrew Norman I fancied him to cause an upset today.

He hasn’t disappointed me and with a couple of centuries and another two 50+ breaks at least (full frame scores not available at the time of writing), moves into the next round where he will meet Michael Judge. Would not be too surprised to see him reach his second final qualifying round in a row…

Bucking the trend of the experienced players going through today was Jimmy Robertson who recovered from 2-0 down to defeat Barry Pinches 5-4 this evening. After a tough 2008/9 Barry looked to be on his way to getting this season off to a better start as he outscored Jimmy by 149-15. Unfortunately for him however it was not to be his day as Robertson soon levelled the match at 2-2 before eventually prevailing in a deciding frame.

I spoke to Jimmy last week at the Pro Challenge and while not getting ahead of himself, he sounded hopeful going into this event and so far, so good. Next up will be another veteran in the form of Mike Dunn tomorrow evening.

Comeback of the night, indeed the tournament, goes to Matt Couch who bounced back from 4-0 down at the interval against Jin Long to win 5-4. What makes this result all the more impressive is that Long had won his last seven opening round matches, though they were in the first round rather than the second as was the case today.

Matt will now play Dominic Dale in the last 64.

Match 25 – Barry Pinches 4-5 Jimmy Robertson
70-15, 79(79)-0, 17-84, 24-100(65,35), 7-117(68), 83(83), 1-78(78), 76(55)-32, 20-67
Match 26 – Jin Long 4-5 Matthew Couch
87(55)-6, 79(59)-35, 56(39)-38, 68(36)-27, 61(36)-74, 52-69(45), 47-79(51), 47-68, 0-64(48)
Match 27 – Tom Ford 2-5 Lee Spick
29-107(103), 67-54(54), 47-70(55), 66-43, 1-84(56), 5-121(110), 48(33)-77
Match 28 – John Parrott 0-5 Michael White
32(32)-83(38,37), 21-67(48), 14-73(73), 17-54, 10-60(34)
Match 29 – Peter Lines 5-3 Ben Woollaston
64(42)-22, 12-68, 64-31, 74(74)-0, 55-59, 62-38, 0-79(53), 69(61)-28
Match 30 – Paul Davies 3-5 Patrick Wallace
9-67(37), 70(56)-21, 0-88(57), 37(37)-68(39), 53-39, 29-73(72), 58-50, 30-59
Match 31 – David Roe 3-5 Noppadol Sangnil
21-67, 84(76)-38, 39-70, 50-55, 73(58)-25, 15-76(54), 56-40, 3-73(47)
Match 32 – Andy Hicks 4-5 Matthew Selt
42-63(44), 17-67, 45-72, 88(88)-6, 54-7, 20-73, 62(57)-4, 57-5, 19-62(58)