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China Open 2015, Mar 30 - Apr 5

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  • China Open 2015, Mar 30 - Apr 5

    A great tournament in Beijing China featuring best
    of 9 matches with best of 11 in semis and 19 in the
    final. There will be 2 TV tables which I prefer and
    Day 1 features matches with Ding, Robertson and
    Trump which should be very interesting.

    O'Sullivan pulling out due to medical reasons will
    certainly change the dynamics of the tournament
    I would think.

    Some great snooker.

    Matches are held at 09:30, 14:00 and 19:30 local
    time until only 16 players remain and then it looks
    like matches will be held at 14:00 and 19:30.
    Beijing is 12 hours ahead of my time so the first
    matches will be at 9:30PM today for me.
    Last edited by robertmac; 29th March 2015, 07:01 PM.

  • #2
    Snooker week starts tomorrow then, the final one before the World Championship and the first week-long event with proper matches in a long time.

    The China Open has always been one of my favourite events, mainly because the standard of play always seems to be very high here, with most players getting themselves in good form for this part of the season. Unfortunately the players disgraced themselves last year when a lot of them withdrew at the last minute and left the draw a completely unbalanced mess, but this time the seeding for the World Championship is not yet decided, so all the top players are here, apart from Ronnie O'Sullivan. Also missing is Mark Allen, who lost in the qualifiers, as did the likes of Ben Woollaston, Michael Holt and Xiao Guodong, among others.

    There isn't much time to go through the draw, so this time I really will keep it a little shorter...

    Quarter 1:

    Ding Junhui v. Marcus Campbell
    Mark Davis v. Kyren Wilson
    Mark Williams v. Alex Davies/Zhao Xintong
    Michael Leslie v. Joe O'Connor

    John Higgins v. Yu Delu
    Graeme Dott v. Daniel Wells
    Peter Ebdon v. Zhang Anda
    Judd Trump v. Andrew Higginson

    It's interesting, since the China Open was reinstated in 2005, the players from the top quarter here have won it eight out of ten times, so it's certainly a part of the draw with some real China specialists. Ding Junhui held four major titles when the season started, he now only holds this one. The year 2015 has been terrible for him so far, he is yet to win a match at any major venue, which means he has lost in the 1st round of every event since the Masters. The signs are not good ahead of the World Championship, so I think it's very important for him to get a result here. He was almost unbeatable at venues in China last season, but this season he hasn't had much chance. The World Open was cancelled and he lost in the qualifiers for Wuxi and Chengdu, so he only really played in Shanghai. On a positive note though, Shanghai was his best tournament, his only major ranking semi-final of the season so far. On form alone, Mark Davis will be favourite to beat him here. In the last few years, most of Davis' best runs have come before the new year, but this time his form has held up, so he has been able to get a couple of good results in March. He hasn't played Ding for a couple of years, but he's had wins against him in the past, and he is generally very good at knocking out struggling top players. I think Mark Williams will be most people's favourite to reach the quarter-finals in this top section, having played quite well over the last month or two. It looks like he has really enjoyed all the best-of-7 stuff, so it will be interesting to see how he does now that the matches are a little longer again. He is clearly match-sharp at the moment, but I fear he may have played a little too much snooker recently, and all the travelling is bound to take its toll eventually. I would quite like to see him play Ding though, it would be a repeat of the 2010 final, where Williams played really well, as he did when he beat Ding in the semi-finals of this event in 2006. Of the outsiders in this section, I think three deserve a mention. Kyren Wilson has done nothing all season, but he was a quarter-finalist in Shanghai last season, so I'm sure he will enjoy a return to China, while Michael Leslie got a good win over Allen in the qualifiers and will be looking to follow it up with a decent run here. We also have the young Zhao Xintong here, always interesting to see. Zhao has played as a wildcard in all three previous Chinese events this season, with some good results. He won three matches to reach the last16 in Wuxi, two matches to reach the same stage in Shanghai, and he won two matches in the International Championship as well, so he can clearly play a bit.

    Judd Trump is seeded to meet the defending champion in the quarter-finals, but he has some tough opposition on his way, including three former World champions. John Higgins is perhaps the biggest danger at this point, having won the Welsh Open last month, which would have given him the belief that he can compete again. Higgins is at an age now where I think he will never regain his consistency, so an early exit wouldn't surprise me, but he could just as easily play well and come through. I think Trump will be hoping he goes out though, because he has lost all five of his major matches against Higgins in the past, including the World final, a ranking final from 7-2 up, and a best-of-9 last season from 4-0 up. Graeme Dott could be the player to knock Higgins out, having beaten him in the recent World Grand Prix with a good break in the decider. He has had a couple of good runs this season, and of course he is a former winner of this event, back in 2007. Peter Ebdon is in a very similar position to Dott, he is playing well enough to win a match or two at venues, and he too reached the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix. He won this event in 2009 and 2012, his two most recent major ranking titles. He played Trump here a year ago and won 5-4, but the previous two meetings against Trump in China were real thrashings, with Trump winning 5-1 and 9-1. It's quite a tough section to call, but obviously a lot will come down to how Trump plays himself. He has been in very good form recently, he won the World Grand Prix and reached the semi-finals of the PTC Finals, and you don't see him losing in the early rounds a lot these days. Having said that, this season's previous three Chinese events saw him produce his worst snooker of the season, which is not a good sign ahead of this week. It's tough to see an outsider going through here, Andrew Higginson is no longer someone who consistently wins matches at venues, while Yu Delu has never reached a major quarter-final, although he did reach the last16 here last year, which remains his best-ever result in a major ranking event.

    Quarter 2:

    Barry Hawkins v. Gerard Greene
    Dominic Dale v. Jimmy Robertson
    Ryan Day v. Liam Highfield
    Stephen Maguire v. David Morris

    Ricky Walden v. Cao Yupeng
    Liang Wenbo v. Gary Wilson
    Alan McManus v. Jack Lisowski
    Neil Robertson v. Dechawat Poomjaeng

    The second quarter looks quite interesting, but it has a couple of struggling players, so I don't think it's particularly strong. Barry Hawkins has been almost as bad as Ding recently, only winning one match at a major venue in 2015, while Dominic Dale has only won one all season. They played such a great match in the World Championship last year, when Dale came back from 11-5 down to only lose in the decider, but eleven months later time is running out for both of them to get anything out of this season. Similar story with Gerard Greene, who meets Hawkins in the 1st round here, in a repeat of the final of the PTC Finals last year. Stephen Maguire has more cause for optimism in this section. He is on a run of good results in the major ranking events, having reached two semi-finals and another quarter-final in the last three he's played in. He is also a former winner of this event, back in 2008, when his victims included Hawkins in the last16 and Ryan Day in the semi-finals. Day could prove to be his biggest obstacle here as well, a quarter-finalist in the German Masters this season, and a player who generally plays well in China when he qualifies for the venue stage. I think Maguire will be looking for some revenge here, after losing to Day 10-9 at the Crucible last year. He only started playing well from 9-6 down in that match, when he was able to focus his mind, but I think we've seen him in a more determined mood this season, so he should be favourite here. There are another couple of players who could cause problems in this section. David Morris is a former ranking quarter-finalist, in Wuxi last season, and he played very well to knock Selby out of the UK Championship this season, although he did end up losing to Maguire in a later round, and he also lost to Maguire in the German Masters. Liam Highfield could also do something here, he qualified for this event in great style, but unfortunately he's had to wait a few weeks for the venue stage, so it's a question whether his form has held up or not.

    Ricky Walden and Neil Robertson are the two big names competing for the other quarter-final spot. Walden is a great traveller, having won three major events in China in the past, including the International Championship this season, and he also reached the final in India. In the events that count towards the rankings, Walden has won more prize money than any other player this season, so he surely must be considered among the big favourites this week. He needs to be careful in his 1st round match though, because Cao Yupeng can be a tricky opponent, and has already beaten him this season, 5-3 in the Wuxi Classic. Robertson on the other hand started the season really well, with a title in Wuxi, but has won nothing major since and mostly played his best snooker in the early rounds of events. He has also found some really stupid ways to lose matches he should have won, although I think the return to the slightly longer matches here will do him good. He won this event in 2013 and reached the final last year, and he could be tough to beat again. The pairing of Robertson and Walden is not very common, so it would be interesting to see, but they both have a couple of obstacles first. Liang Wenbo for a start, a semi-finalist in the German Masters this season, playing his best snooker since 2009, but for some reason Liang has never really done well in the China Open in the past. Gary Wilson was a quarter-finalist in Wales, where he had quite a memorable win over Robertson, and Jack Lisowski was a quarter-finalist in this event two years ago, his only good run in a major event so far. Lisowski against Alan McManus should be one of the more interesting matches of the 1st round, although I suspect it might not be televised. McManus is vastly superior in the tactical side of the game, so he should start as favourite, although he didn't really play well in all the short-format stuff over the last month or two.

    Quarter 3:

    Ronnie O'Sullivan v. Robin Hull/Yan Bingtao
    Mark King v. Jamie Burnett
    Fergal O'Brien v. Mike Dunn
    Allister Carter v. Kurt Maflin

    Marco Fu v. Ashley Carty
    Matthew Stevens v. Jamie Jones
    Anthony McGill v. Alfie Burden
    Shaun Murphy v. Jamie Cope

    There always seems to be a weak quarter in every event, and this is it, particularly the first little section. The main reason of course is the withdrawal of Ronnie O'Sullivan who, ironically, is one of the few players not to enter this event last year, as opposed to withdrawing at the last minute, but this year he is the only player to withdraw and mess up the draw a little. Well, it gives a chance to the two players who meet in the wildcard round, Robin Hull and Yan Bingtao. Hull played very well to reach the quarter-finals in Wuxi at the start of the season, and you could say he has an easier draw here, so there is no reason why he couldn't repeat that. Yan also played well in Wuxi, winning two matches, one of those against Yu Delu, and he went on to beat Liang in Shanghai, also as a wildcard. He is only 15 I think, so I don't expect him to do anything major, but he is certainly a promising player. Mark King and Jamie Burnett on the other hand are both very experienced players. King is struggling this season, but Burnett has enjoyed a bit of success, mostly notably in the International Championship where he had a couple of good wins to reach the quarter-finals, and he is of course also a former Shanghai Masters finalist, so clearly quite comfortable playing in China. Ali Carter is the highest seed in this section, but it's hard to predict his chances, as he hasn't played much snooker this season. This is an easy draw though, at least on paper, so a great chance for him to do something. We should also mention Fergal O'Brien, a quarter-finalist in Shanghai this season, although he has done very little after the new year, and of course Mike Dunn, who came out of nowhere to reach the semi-finals here last year, the best result of his career.

    The second part of this quarter does have a few stronger players, particularly Shaun Murphy, who has been one of the best players in 2015 so far. It's interesting, Murphy has done better in the best-of-7 format in recent years, but in the last month or so he didn't really get any great results, while he played much better in the slightly longer matches in the Masters and the German Masters. His last major ranking title was in Haikou last year, but other than that he hasn't done all that well in China over the years. Jamie Cope is his 1st round opponent, a finalist in this event in 2007, when he beat Murphy 5-0 in the quarter-finals. That was a different time though, and Murphy was much the stronger player when they met here a year ago, and he also won 10-9 when they played in the 1st round at the Crucible. Marco Fu has a decent chance as well, he has been very consistent this season with six major quarter-finals, but he hasn't really challenged for any titles yet. He lost in the 1st round of the World Grand Prix and the PTC Finals, although to be fair, he did have pretty tough draws. He has lost most of the high-profile matches against Murphy over the years, but he did beat him 6-5 on the black in the UK Championship this season, after Murphy had played a terrible shot to snooker himself on the final yellow. Fu's record against Matthew Stevens is more encouraging, a 4-2 win in Wales recently, and wins in their previous two matches as well. At this point Stevens is just barely holding onto a top32 place in the rankings, after his 2013 World Open points came off, and it's hard not to think of him as a top32 player really. Of the lesser names, Anthony McGill is surely the best bet. A quarter-finalist in the UK Championship this season, and a player who has developed a pretty good all-round game now, so a few appearances at the business end of events should be coming his way. I also wouldn't rule out Jamie Jones, who showed some decent form in Wales and India recently, although nothing spectacular.

    Quarter 4:

    Stuart Bingham v. Peter Lines/Yuan Sijun
    Michael White v. Ken Doherty
    Joe Swail v. Zak Surety
    Robert Milkins v. Nigel Bond

    Joe Perry v. David Gilbert
    Anthony Hamilton v. Zhou Yuelong/Zhang Yong
    Matthew Selt v. Elliot Slessor
    Mark Selby v. Mark Joyce

    And another interesting quarter to conclude with, featuring quite a few players who have won tournaments this season. Stuart Bingham is one of the in-form players at the moment, having reached the semi-finals of both the World Grand Prix and the PTC Finals recently. He is also a China specialist, the winner of the Shanghai Masters this season, and a winner of four PTC titles in China in the past. I don't think anyone would be surprised if he won this week, but of course there are some good players standing in his way. He could meet Michael White in the 2nd round here. White lost in the 1st round of both recent tournaments, but only a few weeks prior won the Indian Open with some great snooker. I am usually quick to dismiss all the short-format stuff, but even if I do so, there are still the two quarter-finals White reached in the first half of the season, both in China, and it took a very strong Allen to knock him out both times. Ken Doherty hasn't had much success lately, certainly not enough to make him favourite against White, but he did win when they played in the UK Championship this season, 6-4. Robert Milkins is always a danger on these travels as well, although he does seem to play most of his best snooker early in seasons, like in the International Championship this season where he was a semi-finalist, but his form after the new year has been quite poor, apart from a decent run in India. On a positive note, he does have a very strong record over Joe Swail, probably the only other player who could do something here. Swail has also had his best result in the International Championship this season, a run to the last16 with a good win over Robertson along the way.

    The bottom section only really has three contenders, but they are all very strong. Joe Perry in particular should be very high on confidence after winning the PTC Finals. As I said in another thread, I don't consider that win on par with winning a standard ranking event, but I'm sure Perry couldn't care less. He is playing the best snooker of his career in these last two seasons, and he has had some success in China as well, most notably in Wuxi this season, where he reached the final. He has also won two PTC titles in China, one of them only a few months ago. I would expect Perry to meet Mark Selby in the last16 here. I'm not too surprised that Selby struggled a little in the short-format stuff after winning the German Masters, but the longer matches are back now, so he should be a strong contender in the last two events. He has never won this event, but he came close in 2011 and 2013 when he lost in the final. If the two favourites show some weakness, I think Matthew Selt is the first in line to take advantage. He too is playing the best snooker of his career, at the age of 30 now, and he recently reached the quarter-finals of the PTC Finals in Thailand. A slight problem could be his mediocre record in China though, if I'm not mistaken he has only won one match at venues in China in his entire career. Anyone else going through would be a surprise for me, but let's mention a few other names anyway. Mark Joyce was a quarter-finalist in Haikou last season, so he could perhaps cause problems for Selby in the 1st round, and I think this will be the first-ever match between them. Anthony Hamilton is a very experienced player who could do something on his day as well, although we haven't seen much of him recently. Zhou Yuelong is worth keeping an eye on as well. You may remember him as the player who came closest to beating Walden in Chengdu earlier this season, only losing 6-5 in the last32. He has struggled in the qualifiers at times, but he is only 17, and there are a lot of players doing worse than him.

    Possible quarter-final line-up:

    Ding Junhui v. Judd Trump
    Stephen Maguire v. Neil Robertson
    Allister Carter v. Shaun Murphy
    Stuart Bingham v. Mark Selby

    There we are, we should see some great snooker, and it will also be interesting to see how the seeding for the WC works out after this event.


    • #3
      So one quarterfinal is 100% certain - Williams vs Trump ....
      Looking forward to somehow proper format of tournament after long time. I think the most important thing here is, if Maguire can defend his 16th position in world rankings, or some of his chasers is going to overtake it.
      Also, what is interesting for me, there could be repeat of the second semi-final with possible meeting of Bingham Perry in their quarter.
      With recent wins of M. White and J. Perry, I think it is time to more usual winner, I kind of think, maybe Robertson?
      Last edited by Hal; 29th March 2015, 08:34 PM.


      • #4
        Once again thank you Odrl for another fine analysis
        of what we can possibly expect in the coming days
        at the China Open.
        Group 1 has several players who have been playing
        fairly well of late.. Davis, Williams, Dott and Trump.
        Group 2 has Robertson, Maguire and Walden who are
        all overdue for a win.
        Group 3 seems weak with only Murphy and possibly
        Carter who look good.
        Group 4 has several players.. Bingham, Perry, White
        and possibly Selby.

        The best of 9 does favour the top players however
        snooker is a strange game and whoever brings their
        best game to the table certainly has the best chance.

        I am looking forward to it and hopefully some of my
        favourite players will advance to at least the semi


        • #5
          I haven't paid too much attention to the snooker scene lately, but I am interested in seeing how Ding will do. I haven't really trawled through the forums to read if he has any off the table issues, but if the man wants to win the World Championship, its going to have to start here.


          • #6
            Anyone know what channel this is shown on inthe uk, no details on the WS website as usual.

            It says live streaming so click link to their site and it says no scheduled events.....

            Got a sky sports package on youview via talktalk for the f1 but for some reason it doesn't include eurosport like i was hoping.

            Working till weds but nice long weekend coming up so would like to watch some longer matches on the big screen, guess eurosport app and stream to tv is bext route?

            Enjoy the snooker folks.

            1st round accumulator coming up shortly.....


            • #7
              It is on British Eurosport (sky 410/411) which is free with basic package I believe (i.e you dont have to pay for the sports channel), it is on now

              British Eurosport shows nearly all tournamnets, I think the only one they dont is the ones on ITV/SkySport.
              Up the TSF!


              • #8
                What a dramatic finish!


                • #9
                  Poom-BANG! Robertson the robot out. Made my day already.


                  • #10
                    Poomjaeng beats Robertson 5 - 4 on the final black !.


                    • #11
                      That's three tournaments in the last two months that Robertson has gone out on a black ball game!!
                      I'm really hoping his luck improves at the World Championships.


                      • #12
                        Lovely opening match. Poomjaeng really raised his game from 3-1 down, but he was a little lucky to go through in the end, as Robertson once again loses a decider he should have won. He was 40 points ahead at one point, missed a blue, missed a red, and finally missed a mid-range black. It's funny, it was exactly the kind of black he could have left himself against Davis in the World Grand Prix when he played safe. This time he went for it, but it still cost him the match.

                        Robertson has now played nine deciders since the Wuxi Classic and only won three...


                        • #13
                          Robertson now has problems. All of them in his head. Instead of playing his natural game he has tried to be ultra cautious over the last few matches and lost them all. He had plenty of running earlier in the deciding frame and should have taken the blue on.


                          • #14
                            Not sure whats happening to Robertson but he
                            has been defeated again which is a surprise.
                            Maybe Ding will win his match.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ghost121 View Post
                              Poom-BANG! Robertson the robot out. Made my day already.
                              I hear ya! Well done to The Poom-ster