Shanghai Masters Qualifiers 2009: Day Three Updates

Day three of the Shanghai Masters qualifiers from Pontin’s is now upon us as some of the bigger names make their entrance into the competition. Click below to read updates throughout the day…

Morning Session

Racing into the final qualifying round with a terrific 5-0 victory over Alan McManus is Tamworth’s David Gilbert. Though there were no centuries made, he scored consistently enough to make a 50+ break in each of the five frames and understandably Alan had no answer, a shame for him after he reached the final of the Pro Challenge event last week.

For David though it is an excellent performance as he bids to reclaim the place in the top 48 that he lost last season after an indifferent spell. Now though due to Liang Wenbo’s visa problems he will have to wait until the venue stage out in Shanghai to play his next match following World Snooker’s slightly controversial decision to hold that match over.

Soon to join him was Stuart Pettman, who of course performed well in both of the events held in China last season, reaching the semi-finals of the event over in Beijing. Today saw him up against Joe Delaney and while not scoring as heavily as Gilbert did, he was far more consistent than Joe and wrapped up a 5-2 win in one hour and 48 minutes.

Having had such a strong last season, indeed nobody has gained as many places in the rankings as him over the summer, Stuart is in with a real chance of moving into the top 32 for the first time if he can maintain this form and this is a good start. Next up for him is world number 16 Mark King, forced to qualify due to the success of Ricky Walden last year.

Jimmy White meanwhile has seen his run come to an end as former Welsh Open finalist Andrew Higginson has booked his last 48 with a 5-2 win. Apart from a nicely taken century by Higginson in the second frame, it was a close match as Jimmy managed to score  58, 59 and 60 in the other three before the interval. Unfortunately for the world number 56 however he failed to win any of them and at 4-0 up it was hard to see Andrew faltering, though Jimmy did win the next two to give himself hope.

His hopes of emulating the comeback of Matt Couch yesterday were soon ended however and it is Andrew, looking to move up into the top 32 for the first time, who moves into the last 48 and a tie with Dave Harold tomorrow.

Another man to comeback successfully yesterday was Tony Drago but it was not to be today as he lost to Marcus Campbell in a thriller. Despite Tony making a break of 100 in the first frame it was Marcus who led 3-1 at the break, though his highest break was a mere 51 in frame four.

From there however Tony again showed that he can still do it and rattled in three frames in quick succession with breaks of 84 and 70 to lead 4-3, before making 53 in the next as he looked to secure a place in the final qualifying round. Marcus is not a top 48 player for nothing however and was able to hang on to force a decider which he then won thanks in part to a run of 42.

A disappointing result for Tony but a decent week in all for his ranking. As he showed today he is still capable of mixing it with the pro players and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up, particularly when the longer frame matches come around. For Marcus it is a good win for him and next up will be a tough match with Bristol’s Judd Trump tomorrow.

Winning his first match in a ranking event since the UK Championship back in December was Ken Doherty who came through to win 5-2 against Rod Lawler today. Despite looking relatively comfortable on paper it was actually a really tight match with little to separate the two in each of the frames. From 2-2 however it was Ken who pulled away to secure what I think is a crucial win because had he started the season with another defeat then it would have been another blow to his confidence and could have set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

Now however he goes on to play Fergal O’Brien in tomorrow’s final qualifying round, another player who has been struggling so this could be a real opportunity for Ken to make another venue…

Match 33 – Stuart Pettman 5-2 Joe Delaney
65(46)-9, 74(45)-47, 8-68(44), 75(75)-0, 58-32, 0-92(38,45), 61(42)-4
Match 34 – Marcus Campbell 5-4 Tony Drago
14-108(100), 66-38, 64-37, 68(51)-0, 0-84(84), 27-49, 22-71(70), 63(43)-53(53), 63(42)-17
Match 35 – Alan McManus 0-5 David Gilbert
35-72(72), 4-65(53), 7-68(62), 0-82(82), 5-90(67)
Match 36 – Andrew Higginson 5-2 Jimmy White
61-59(44), 105(101)-8, 71-58(45), 73(65)-60(46), 2-80(75), 42-76, 55(45)-1
Match 37 – Jamie Burnett 5-4 Joe Jogia
76(71)-30, 78(60)-43, 0-93(93), 37-68
Match 38 – Anthony Hamilton 5-4 Robert Milkins
46-53, 65-37, 66-41, 0-69(62), 32-54(41), 64-53(45), 55(38)-19, 66-76, 63-41
Match 39 – Ken Doherty 5-2 Rod Lawler
62(42)-58(41), 19-49, 97(97)-36(36), 2-76(34,42), 72(40)-60(45), 71-62(57), 70(56)-47(47)


Afternoon Session

Jimmy Robertson continued his dream start to the season today with a terrific 5-0 victory over Redcar’s Mike Dunn. Needing just one hour and nine minutes to see off his experienced opponent, Robertson now moves into the last 48 where he will play Graeme Dott tomorrow, a player still struggling since the unfortunate incident with a cue over the summer.

Having already abandoned his first replacement for it, Graeme told me at the recent Pro Challenge event that his second was ‘hopeless’ so I would not have been too surprised to see him line up tomorrow with a third! I have however been informed that he will be using the same cue again and it will be interesting to see if he is any more comfortable with it a week on. If not then this could be a real opportunity for Jimmy to make it out to Shanghai…

Also through following a whitewash is Martin Gould who has got his campaign off to the perfect start with victory over Peter Lines. Since last year Martin has really stepped up his performances and if he can continue to reach the venues it will only be a matter of time before he moves up into the top 32 I think. Lines is by no means a bad player but Gould these days is on another level I think. Next up for him will be Gerard Greene, not a formality but certainly winnable I would suggest…

One of, if not the most interesting matches of this afternoon’s session for me was the clash between Mark Davis and young Michael White who was into the third round following that impressive 5-0 victory over John Parrott yesterday. Unfortunately for him however this match was to be a step too far as Mark, playing very well himself recently, came through to secure a 5-3 win.

What a match it was though as the two traded big breaks, Mark with contributions of 62, 70 and 51 while Michael hit 77, 62 and 85 as they moved to 3-3. From there though it was Mark who managed to edge in front again with 63 before finishing off his Welsh opponent in style with a run of 126. Next up for him will be English Open champion Stuart Bingham tomorrow.

Shame for White to lose the match but he has at least got his season off to a much better start than when he was first on the tour back in 2007/8 and given himself a platform from which to build on in the ranking events.  As he has shown today, he has the break building skills to mix it with the players around him, he just needs the experience and the all-round game which appears to be coming along nicely now.

Lee Spick continued his excellent run from the first qualifying round to reach round four for the second event in a row with a comfortable 5-1 win over Michael Judge. While he could not produce the heavy scoring that has typified his recent good form, he had more than enough for his Irish opponent and goes on to meet Stephen Lee tomorrow in what could be a close match. Normally I would expect Stephen to win but he has been so up and down over the last couple of years that it is hard to be certain, particularly with Spick’s strong form…

It has been a tough calendar year for Adrian Gunnell until today, no ranking event wins, a bout of swine flu and a drop down the rankings which will see him fighting for his top 48 place this season. Today however he gave himself something to smile about with a win over Noppadol Sangnil to book a fourth round tie with Joe Swail tomorrow. Hopefully this will give Gunnell and lift as he looks to return to the form that took him to 36th in the rankings last season…

Match 41 – Mike Dunn 0-5 Jimmy Robertson
1-84(50), 23-92(91), 39(39)-97(89), 7-78(45), 48-73(37)
Match 42 – Dominic Dale 5-2 Matthew Couch
58(38)-67, 55-50, 54-38, 67-43, 15-92(60), 60-34, 70-34
Match 43 – Michael Judge 1-5 Lee Spick
32-68, 28-76, 63(35)-39, 0-78(60), 28-71(47), 4-76
Match 44 – Mark Davis 5-3 Michael White
75(62)-23, 40-77(77), 92(70)-29, 22-80(62), 87(51)-35, 4-85(85), 63(63)-30, 126(126)-0
Match 45 – Martin Gould 5-0 Peter Lines
62-9, 78(56)-9, 96(65)-0, 99(46,53)-13, 69-39
Match 46 – Rory McLeod 3-5 Patrick Wallace
37(37)-90(50), 39(38)-74(66), 74(45)-7, 102(40)-10, 69-71, 60-74(54), 66(44)-45, 48(43)-61
Match 47 – Adrian Gunnell 5-2 Noppadol Sangnil
87(55)-32, 1-80(40), 90-12, 13-62, 61-11, 76(50)-35, 74-0
Match 48 – Jimmy Michie 1-5 Matthew Selt
14-57, 42-64(43), 12-67(50), 79(50)-41, 20-112(88), 33(33)-65(53)