October 28, 2012

International Championship Day Two

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:29 pm

Mehta – Impressive Debut

It’s Day Two in Chengdu at the International Championship, a day when the likes of Shanghai Masters winner John Higgins and World Number 1 Mark Selby get their campaigns to scoop the jackpot winners cheque underway.

Sunday saw eight matches conclude whereas there are only five on Day Two owing to withdrawals and a suspension. Shaun Murphy scored an emphatic win over Andrew Higginson and as he does so often, really impressed at the start of the tournament looking like he means business.

My only real issue with backing Smurf with any confidence is whether he can keep it up, too often he looks like the winner of the event only to be beaten with a whimper at the business end. But today he was as good as he’s looked for a while, Higginson barely getting any chances and Shaun’s long potting continuing to be a thing of great authority, his piston-like cue action really is his primary weapon.

On the other tables, Cao Yupeng made really hard work of beating his wildcard opponent, who in truth was not really all that good. Funny how the weakest player got to play Cao isn’t it? We’re never told of course how these matches are drawn, I’m sure it’s done fairly….

On the outside tables it was a huge disappointment to see Lu Haotian end Michael White’s excellent progress in the competition. The wildcard, despite his tender years has more experience of venues than White who won through fair and square to take his place in the event and now finds himself going home. Lu is into the last 16 and there are those who say good luck to him, but not me, he shouldn’t be there and I hope he loses next round and that’s that.

Another casualty was Ken Doherty who lost to another promising youngster, even a trademark comeback from Kendo from 2-5 down to draw level wasn’t enough to pull him through, again for me this is a great loss to the event and a player who I’d much rather be watching in the next round than his opponent.

In the second session, the good news is that all the wildcards lost. India’s Aditya Mehta coming through in a decider against a player who sulked and banged his cue and went on long toilet breaks after every frame, he needs to grow up. The rock-steady Aditya again impressed and is very good when put under pressure and is another with a great cue action, I am very pleased to see him progress on his venue debut. Jamie Burnett whitewashed his opponent and now lines up against his best mate Stephen Maguire and the Ferginator, Fergal O’Brien came through a marathon nine-framer in his wildcard round, gaining revenge over his opponent for their match in Shanghai last month and saying ‘You’ve been Ferginated’ at the end to the quivering youngster.

On the main table there was more evidence that the really classy players are bang up for this, Neil Robertson, despite looking half-asleep at the start (which he probably was) came through 6-3 against Ryan Day who must have been a bit confused with all those pandas around the venue. Robbo was superb at times and three centuries were enough to prove that he’s a big contender this week, maybe it’s his time to break his Chinese hoodoo. Ryan, despite starting brilliantly just lost his way a bit in the match.

It wasn’t Ryan’s (left) Day

Dom Dale was watching Ryan and Neil and just the previous day he had joined Rob Walker to go and look at the pandas and talk about them. You can watch the two wildlife experts here. Unfortunately, I am sad to report that such was the confusion and mayhem when these two maniacs arrived unannounced, there are now at least seven pandas in rehab and a further ten in therapy, Rob and Dom have now been barred from all such places and are under house arrest until they step on the plane home.

On the betting front it was a good day with a 100% strike rate to start the week, let’s hope that this is a sign of things to come.

Now to Day 2….

Monday October 29 

Mark Selby v Ali Carter Result: 6-3 Selby
John Higgins v Cao Yupeng Result: 6-3 Yupeng
Barry Pinches v Lu Ning Result: 6-5 Ning

Ali Carter lines up against Mark Selby following on from a comprehensive whitewash by the Jester in their PTC semi-final over in Antwerp, Selby looked absolutely dominant in that match and I wouldn’t take any notice of what happened a few days later in the Premier League as this usually has no bearing on the proper events. Selby leads the head to heads between the two 5-4, but The Captain beat him 6-2 in Shanghai in 2010 on his way to that particular title, their only meeting over this distance. They are both in decent form however for me that match in Antwerp sticks in the mind as it may do in Ali’s, who calls Selby ‘a machine’ and I think Selby will prevail again here. Bet of the day has to be John Higgins but the prices reflect this, he should beat Yupeng with plenty to spare on the Chinese players’ display today and it might be worth looking at the handicap markets on that one. Lu Ning is a wildcard in the last match of that particular round and he faces Barry Pinches, Ning has beaten Matt Selt, Shaun Murphy, Jamie Jones and Nigel Bond before but has lost his last two wildcard matches. I hope Barry wins as he is another that worked very hard to get to the venue but since then he has lost 4-0 three times on the spin to Joel Walker, Robbie Williams and Alan McManus in PTC’s. With Barry also being a long time away from main venues (Grand Prix 2009 being the last time he played at one) I’d have to side with Ning I’m afraid, hope I’m wrong.

Matthew Stevens v Zhao Xintong Result: Stevens 6-5
Graeme Dott v Dominic Dale Result: 6-3 Dale

Welsh Dragon and all round good egg Matthew Stevens has proclaimed himself ready for this event after by his own admission not really being up for any of the events so far this season, one might even say he has been careless in his season preparation to date, but not to his face of course, that would be even more careless. His opponent proved himself today against Ken Doherty, but if Matthew is true to his word I expect him to win this one with a bit to spare, once he gets into rhythm he is different class and he should prove that here. Graeme Dott has now been reunited with his cue and luggage and he faces Dom Dale for the right to play Haotian in the last 16. I have backed Dott at 50’s in the outrights and although Dale leads the head to heads 4-2, I do of course, think he’ll come through here. I have a feeling that the world champions/major winners and those that have been very close to big crowns will be contesting the end of this event and it would be no surprise to me to see the continually underrated Dott in amongst them, hopefully fighting like a terrier.

Recommended Bets: 2 points on Higgins -3.5 frames at Evens with Betfred. 2 point treble on Higgins, Selby and Stevens pays just on 11/8 at Apollobet. 2 points win on Lu Ning at 5/4 with Stan James.

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