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Ssb - definitely maybe

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  • Ssb - definitely maybe

    So Luca Brecel returns to action today following his dramatic 6-5 win over Ricky Walden the other night.

    Encouragingly, Brecel did not let this victory go to his head. In fact, he admitted there were areas in which he needed to improve.

    One of his problems was his tip, which was replaced yesterday by the superbly named cuedoctor Claudio Mercurio.

    Brecel today plays Mark King, who he beat to qualify for the World Championship last season.

    King was at times very good in beating Mark Williams 6-3 and needs to bring his vast experience to bear. But Brecel is at that age where he has few mental scars and can just go out and enjoy it. Snooker needs new faces and he represents a chance for continental Europe to start making an impact on these big tournaments.

    For all the fuss about Judd Trump’s ascension to world no.1, Mark Selby can in fact replace him with a good run in the UK Championship.

    Selby today plays Ryan Day, who he beat 6-0 with a very strong performance in the first round at York last year.

    Selby says he felt the pressure of being world no.1. This is understandable: the only way is down after all. He hasn’t made much of an impact on the season thus far but there’s still a long way to go.

    Tonight John Higgins returns to action to face Mark Davis and Neil Robertson – so impressive with his four centuries against Tom Ford – tackles Barry Hawkins.

    Matthew Stevens led Marco Fu 4-1 yesterday but could not close the deal and was suddenly 4-4 and a long way behind in the ninth frame.

    But the Welshman made a really excellent 74 clearance before comfortably adding the next to reach the UK Championship quarter-finals for the first time since he won the title in 2003.

    Ali Carter was solid in seeing off Trump’s conqueror Mark Joyce 6-2 and Shaun Murphy at times played superbly to beat Graeme Dott 6-2.

    But the best performance came from Stuart Bingham, brimming with confidence, who beat Stephen Maguire 6-4. Bingham has been one of the players of the season and the confidence is obvious for all to see.

    It’s Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 37th birthday today, although it needn’t be a special occasion for him to feature in speculation in the morning’s newspapers.

    Today’s story is that he may, and by definition may not, play in the World Championship. The closing date is in the new year.

    By the same token I may or may not win the national lottery this weekend. Either way, rest assured I will continue to write this blog.