UK Championship 2011: Day Two Live

Day two in York and already Mark Selby is through to the next round following a comprehensive 6-0 victory against Ryan Day in the morning session. Click below for post-match reaction from the world number one and more throughout the day…

13:17 – With a top break of 111, world number one has completed a 6-0 victory over Welshman Ryan Day to move into the next round. Shortly after his victory he spoke to the assembled press:

Post-Match Reaction From Mark Selby:

On his victory, Mark explained that he was pleased to come through what as a tricky draw against a man who just a couple of years ago was ranked as high as number six:

“Yeah I mean Ryan is obviously a great player and I knew that coming here it was going to be a tough draw so i needed to get on top of him from the word go. The first frame was a little bit scrappy, Ryan had one or two chances and could have took it but after I won the first frame I played quite well then and put him under pressure and managed to keep him under pressure.”

“Ryan is probably one of the toughest draws I could have got coming from the qualifiers so to win it in the fashion I did and play the way I did, obviously I am really happy with that and looking forward to the next round.”

“I think it’s [my form] good, at the start of the season I ended up winning a couple of invitation tournaments and won the Shanghai Masters but that seems like forever ago, so many PTCs in between. So I know my game is there, it’s just a matter of producing it out there consistently and i am managing to do that at the moment.”

Mark also spoke about the tournament schedule at the moment, noting that while the travelling is difficult, he is enjoying the increased playing opportunities compared to the situation before the creation of the PTCs:

“It’s tough, obviously the travelling is tiring but I enjoy playing. At the end of the day we have got more tournaments which is what we was all crying out for and I think it’s great. Obviously we are playing 20-25 tournaments a season now, 18 months to two years ago we only had six. Obviously the travelling is part and parcel of it so you have got to put that to the back of your mind and get on with it.”

“Last year I more or less played in every single tournament, I think I played in over 100 matches and I told myself that while I was still going to play in quite a lot this year to keep match sharp, it would be nowhere near as much as last year. I missed one of the PTCs in Poland and I am not playing in PTC12 to be fresh for the Masters in January.”

13:33 – Interesting news on table two meanwhile as 2008 UK finalist Marco Fu has taken three frames in a row to lead Stuart Bingham 4-3 having trailed 3-1 at the interval. What has the Australian Open champion got left in his locker?

13:51 – The crowds are building for the big match between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis but unfortunately there will be no walk-ons for the players as the match between Marco Fu and Stuart Bingham remains in progress over on table two.

14:09 – Marco Fu moves 5-3 ahead but Stuart Bingham is first in during frame nine and as the scoreboard ticks over to 80 it has been all reds and blacks for the Basildon pro. Position from red to black however has gone wrong on the next shot and the break ends on 81. Still, he is back to 4-5 and right back into the match now…

On table one meanwhile, O’Sullivan and Davis are now out and while there was not the anticipated standing ovation, both players were given generous applause as they came into the arena.

14:32 – Interesting start to the big match today as O’Sullivan made the early running, only for Steve Davis to snatch it with a clearance of 54 to the pink.

Marco Fu

14:47 – O’Sullivan back level with Davis while Marco Fu has completed an excellent win against Stuart Bingham to become the first qualifier to make it through to the last 16. From 3-1 down he took five of the next six frames to come through and secure a tie with Mark Selby in the next round.

Having come through a memorable qualifier with Anthony Hamilton to win 6-5 on the final black having trailed 55-1 with 59 remaining on the table, it will be a particularly sweet win for Marco and one that cements his position inside the world’s top 32.

Post-Match Reaction From Marco Fu:

“I thought that it was a really good match. Stuart played really well in the first four frames. I knew I was hitting the ball ok and in the first frames I didn’t do much wrong to be honest, I could have been 4-0 up the way I was playing but he was playing really well so he was 3-1 up. I was just waiting for my chances to come. I think that the fifth frame was quite crucial because Stuart missed a pink in the middle, it could have been 4-1 then if he didn’t miss it. It gave me a chance to come back and I started to play really well after that.”

“Coming into the match I felt ok, I feel like I am hitting the ball well but I am not winning enough so it was kind of 50-50 for me confidence wise but thankfully I was able to produce some good snooker when I was 3-1 down. Winning PTC matches are important but to be able to produce the standard in big tournaments like the UK and the World is most satisfying to the players I think.”

16:47 – With Ronnie O’Sullivan leading 3-1 at the interval I decided to head on up into the arena for the first time this week to sample the atmosphere and witness the closing moments of what would prove to be a 6-1 victory for the four-time UK champion.

It struck me out there as to how impressive the view was, even from the back row of the upper balcony from which you clearly see both tables, if not a scoreboard in my case!

The arena

In terms of the action as Steve would later admit in his press conference he simply wasn’t good enough on the day and as he began to miss, O’Sullivan grew in strength and by the end of the match looked to be playing as well as he has for some time.

Meanwhile, Robert Milkins and Ali Carter are level at 3-3 over on table two, fancy that one to go all the way…

Post-Match Reaction from Steve Davis:

“I had a chance in the second frame, I played quite an aggressive shot to get a red off the cushion but in the end it was one way traffic. I thought that Ronnie was cueing as well as I have ever seen him cue, he’s hitting the ball beautifully. He really took off in the department. I said at the end that I thought that he was cueing well. He doesn’t tend to agree but after watching him play I thought that he was striking it well.”

“Really I wasn’t good enough in the end, when you make a mistake against Ronnie or John Higgins or one of the top players, they are magnified. Whilst you don’t do a lot wrong, unfortunately you have to be more perfect against those players and I just wasn’t really. I made a few sloppy safety shots and then he overpowered me in the end.”

When asked if he could see himself being able to make it through to more venues in the future, Steve explained:

“I’d like to think I can to the final stages of a tournament and play and obviously you just need a bit of a following wind against the top players. You need them to not perform as well and when they do you are really up against it I think. It’s enjoyable, but it’s never enjoyable when it goes wrong. Going out there and playing was fantastic but once Ronnie won the third frame, he got his own back on the fluke, I fluked a treble and then he fluked the brown”

“He potted such a good yellow from the jaws of the green pocket and then made it look effortless, it was just a great shot, then it went 3-1, 4-1 and all of a sudden it just slipped away so that’s not nice, it’s not a nice feeling when you are sitting out there thinking ‘oh that’s the end of it’ and your heart goes out of it a bit when you know the guy is cueing well.”

Don’t ask…

“It’s tough, it gets harder then because you don’t get many chances and you have got to try and make the most of them. If he cues like that he is going to be hard to beat, even in best of 11’s. I think it suits him actually to play best of 11’s. He’s a great pressure player, a great cueist and he gets going quickly. If he cues like that he is going to be tough to beat.”

“It would have been nice, it would have been lovely, but logistically that’s not how snooker is working and I don’t think that it would be right to say that is how it needs to be. You’ve got stop-start snooker, TV in the afternoons and we want constant snooker. I don’t think that’s a problem. It’s nice when it happens. We need it on the television so it is like a bombardment of snooker, almost Wimbledon-style where as soon as one match finishes, another goes on.”

Post-Match Reaction From Ronnie O’Sullivan:

“It was nice to get a win, I thought it was alright, I made a few decent breaks and managed to nick a couple of frames.”

“It’s nice to play Steve, even in a practice match you learn so much just watching him. He has so much class but he’s probably just not playing with as much confidence as he used to and I think that’s the key to this game. If you can play with a bit of confidence you can get some momentum going.”

When asked if he was looking forward to a possible clash with Judd Trump in the second round, Ronnie was obviously just relieved to have come through today:

“I’m just pleased to be in the next round, pleased to be competing and pleased to be in a nice tournament”

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Following Steve’s observation earlier that Ronnie was playing as well as he has ever played, Ronnie was reluctant to be drawn into that sort of talk:

“I don’t know really, I leave that to other people to judge. I just want to try and play and see if I can pot a few balls.”

And when asked how he would keep himself occupied between now and his second round match with either Judd Trump or Dominic Dale, Ronnie remarked:

“[I will] go for a run, treat myself to a new pair of running trainers!”

17:57 – The match between Ali Carter and Robert Milkins is proving to be predictably tight, Ali leading 5-4 as the clock approaches 6pm.

21:02 – Apologies for the delays people, I had a food break before going into the arena to watch a couple of frames of the evening session. Having qualified brilliantly in Gloucester just a few weeks ago, Li Yan has so far given an excellent account of himself in holding Shaun Murphy to 2-2 at the mid-session interval. It will be interesting to see if he hold himself together if this one goes the distance or whether Shaun’s greater experience will come through.

Meanwhile, Martin Gould has established a 3-1 lead against Peter Lines at the mid-session of their match. In fact Martin has added the next frame to move 4-1 ahead now.

Post-Match Reaction From Ali Carter:

Going back to one of the earlier matches, Ali Carter was understandably relieved to come through a battle against Robert Milkins, particularly given his slow start to the season so far which coming into the match saw him down to 10th in the latest provisional rankings:

“Delighted to get through, it has been two or three months now since a big tournament so to speak. I haven’t started the season great with getting beat in the first two events so it was important for me to win today. It was a hard-fought win, Rob’s a good player, the match was played in good spirit and I was pleased to run out the winner.”

On his clenched fist at the end of the match and a potential tie with either Mark Allen or Adrian Gunnell in the second round:

“I don’t normally do that but I know that was a big match for me so I was pleased to win.”

Ali Carter

“It’s going to be tough whichever one I play but I’m just glad to be in the event, I can go home, regroup and come back.”

On the reduced format, Ali explained that while he preferred the previous format, he is understanding of the commercial reasons behind what was effectively an enforced change:

“I preferred the best of 17’s because in the bigger events, the better player is more often than not going to win over 17. I understand the commercial decisions behind the shorterning of the format. At the end of the day we haven’t really got a say in it because we sold the game to Barry and he can do what he wants.”

“It’s nice to come to a venue for the best of 11’s and you are down to the two-table set-up straight away. Before you could play your quarter-final the way the UK used to be in a cubicle out in the back and it felt not that important but out there it’s two tables, you are down to a semi-final set-up sort of thing.”

21:54 – That’s three in a row for Shaun Murphy now to lead 4-2, but Li is battling hard here in the seventh with a break of 37 and counting as he attempts to hang on to the 2008 champion. Martin Gould meanwhile has pushed 5-2 ahead of Peter Lines with a break of 123, just one more needed for the Pinner Potter now…

22:26 – And Martin Gould is safely through, having just given an interesting press conference when talking about whether he feels that he is in the bracket of players who can now win the major tournaments. Full quotes to follow. Meanwhile Shaun Murphy is set to move 5-3 up against Li Yan – surely Shaun will push on from here now?

Post-Match Reaction From Martin Gould:

“Yeah it wasn’t too bad, a bit scrappy. Sort of come to life at 4-2, I think Pete is regretting letting me back in now after that foul that I committed. But it doesn’t really matter about performance, it was all about getting the win under my belt so hopefully I can improve for the next match that comes up.”

“The 123 certainly got me going, I needed a little something because I just didn’t feel quite at the races this evening. Thankfully Pete didn’t turn up to be fair, he didn’t play as well as I know he could. It was the main thing of grinding out a result really. You don’t want to be producing your top stuff straight away because you are using half of your tank before the tournament has even started. Hopefully it just means that when Wedensday lunchtime comes I am going to start flowing.”

Looking at the state of his game at the moment, Martin is evidently in a good place at the moment and relaxed about his place in the game:

“Winning the Power Snooker was good but I just treated that the way that I am treating everything with my snooker these days, it’s just fun to me. I am just going out there and enjoying myself and if I play well then I play well, if I don’t I get sent home, it’s as simple as that really. I am just enjoying myself and I’m glad that I am competing with the top guys and starting to win a couple of tournaments hopefully now.

Martin Gould

“It has taken me four seasons to get to the top 16 which is pretty quick considering but I think that the new ranking system helped me out a lot. But I’m looking forward to Wedesday, either Shaun who I have got in the Masters in January or Li Yan who I haven’t seen much of but I know is giving Shaun a run for his money so whichever opponent I play it is going to be a tough game.”

“I definitely feel that something is there, it is just a matter of getting everything from up there [points to his head], to my arm, to potting everything. I think give it some time, I definitely think I can win a PTC that’s for sure. It’s just a matter of time to let everything click together. I just need one of those, obviously I had a good run in the Power Snooker but that’s a different game. If I can get everything to click, my long potting is going and I am scoring and playing good then I feel as if I am involved in any tournament that I enter so it’s just getting myself completely in this zone where I don’t feel that I am going to be beaten by anybody.”

“I wouldn’t quite say I am in that bracket [of players who head into tournaments believing that they are tournament winners] just yet. I probably just need to get a few more good results against the top eight. I do beat a couple of them now and again but I am not doing it on a regular basis. I want to feel that once the tournament gets to the later stages I will be ready.”

23:11 – He gave us a scare, but Shaun Murphy is through a 6-3 winner against Li Yan to set up a tie with Martin in the next round. On paper it might have appeared to have been an easy task against a player ranked much lower than himself, but Li was able to impress many during his qualifying run and made life difficult for Shaun tonight.

There was an amusing moment after his press conference as a question prompted by me in the media centre earlier in the day was put to him by On Q’s Janie Watkins, namely who was the referee when he made his first career maximum break at the 2001 B&H Championships. While he didn’t know, he did tell us that the break came from a crazy fluke off the green which left him in a position from which even his mum could have made 100!

Post-Match Reaction from Shaun Murphy:

“It wasn’t my best but I’ve certainly played worse, it was a good match to start the tournament for me. I get to go home and spend a few days in my own bed now so I don’t play for a few days. That was a real potential banana skin for me, he’s a fantastic player and I think he has proven his worth by getting here. Rob Walker introduced him as having beaten Higgins and Williams this season and it was funny the effect that had on me stood waiting in the wings to come out because I didn’t know that. that sort of woke me up a little bit minutes before the last, so maybe Rob should not be so specific! [laughs]”

Shaun Murphy

“I think that is certainly the biggest stage he has played in, that would have been his biggest match and as a fellow pro I thought he handled himself very well, the noise from the other table, the open plan nature of it all, the fact this is the second biggest tournament in the game and I thought he did very, very well. For my money he is the most naturally gifted player to have come out of China that I have seen.”

When asked about his views on the format change to the event, Shaun was relatively unconcerned:

“I think that the rules of the game haven’t changed, it is still the person who scores the most points that wins. I think a bit too much has been made of it really. If you get to the quarter-finals you are in the best of 17’s anyway. No-one has ever had a problem with the length of matches at the Masters, they have always been the best of 11’s and I actually think that best of 11’s is perfectly long enough.”

“I’ve spent the season playing in the Premier League, in Power Snooker so you want to talk about pressure, Power Snooker was far more pressurised than this tournament. I am happy to be playing normal traditional snooker, I don’t mind if it is first to three, five, six, 18 – it doesn’t matter.”

On the removal of the partition at the venue this week:

“I’ve been watching the lads over the last day or so before I came over and I noticed that a lot of lads were watching the other table and it’s not the first tournament we have played in with that set-up. I said to Brandon [Parker] before we came out that I would have to concentrate on that and I very rarely looked over. Between frames I might have had a glimpse at what was happening but for the most part I kept my focus very well and I’m very pleased to get through.”

On his last 16 clash with Martin Gould:

“I’m looking forward to the match, we’re due to play each other at the Masters in the new year so maybe this week’s will be an indicator as to how that match is going to go. He’s a fantastic player, he has burst onto the scene, he won Power Snooker and although there has been a lot of talk about how different that game is, he has still gone out on TV and won a tournament that the best players in the world were playing in and that will have bolstered his confidence.”

1:23 – Back home following another fun day in York. Back to work tomorrow for me I’m afraid but I will be back posting updates from the evening matches upon my return tomorrow and of course updating the latest projected seedings.