Neil Robertson's sensational display of break building last night was a joy to behold - unless, of course, you were Andrew Higginson.

Completely in the zone, Robertson continued to play in the fashion that has seen him ascend to the twin peaks of snooker achievement: world champion and world no.1.

Yes, Higginson let him in several times but he didn't make the breaks for him. They were all Robertson, who is expending minimum mental energy in coasting to the quarter-finals.

In cricket parlance he is winning by an innings. (These are strange times we live in when Australia is rubbish at cricket but brilliant at snooker.)

A few people got rather excited by Ronnie O'Sullivan's capture of the Premier League ten days ago but, as he himself said afterwards, the UK Championship is a different ball game completely.

While they may have been fillips off the table, neither the League nor the release of his father had any beneficial effect on O'Sullivan in the arena as he lost to Stuart Bingham.

Why? Because, love him or loathe him, Ronnie is not going to change. He will remain what he has always been: a complex mix of instinctive brilliance, inspiration and talent but also prone to maddening bouts of frustration and petulance.

That's the man and that's also why he's the biggest draw in the game.

Credit should go to Bingham who took the game to O'Sullivan in the opening session and put him under pressure in the second.

Ballrun is a player who actively seeks out snooker competitions and has a terrific record in pro-ams. He hasn't really done himself justice much on TV but maybe this will be his week to shine.

His defeat of O'Sullivan is his best win since he beat Stephen Hendry in the first round of the World Championship a decade ago.

Stephen Hendry was embarrassed by his performance against Jimmy White. He knows a vast improvement is required if he is to stay with Mark Williams.

Shaun Murphy played as well as he had to in defeating Patrick Wallace and is now up against Ryan Day, who came through 9-8 on the black against Mark King, a result which could revive his flagging fortunes.

John Higgins and Graeme Dott played a high quality first session to be poised at 4-4 coming back this afternoon.

Mark Allen leads defending champion Ding Junhui 6-2 in a match not favoured by the cameras.

Stephen Maguire and Mark Selby were also unlucky not to get a TV table. Maguire, who has a solid record in this event, leads there 5-3 as another no doubt dramatic day gets underway.


Anonymous said...


Dave H said...

That's what they call him

Matt said...

Definitely expect Williams to beat Hendry, well done Bingram or Ballrun. Maguire and Selby shame we can't see it.

Anonymous said...

If Robertson's match finishes before Selby and Maguire start their's today surely they should move their game to table 2.

Anonymous said...

actually the way Mark is playing, dont be surprised if Stephen wins

Matt said...

re. my comment @12:20@ I have been proved wrong williams played very poorly missing at least twenty-nine balls but hendry missed at least twenty-one balls will williams ever get a 30 break in the second session just goes to show what can happen in snooker doesn't it. murphy should be further ahead against day but you never know what happen in the second session. good to see that trump or joyce will be a quarter-finalist in this tournement.

Betty Logan said...

The QF line-up looks pretty good, I have to say. Can't say I'm sorry to see Dott and Selby out — we're guaranteed fast and free-flowing snooker from here on in. The Robertson/Murphy tie looks like the tie of the round, and I think will produce the winner of the tournament.

Anonymous said...

I think the most interesting matches in the second session yesterday were the clashes between Maguire versus Selby and Ding (defending champ) against Allen.
I fully appreciate and agree that the world champion Neil Robertson should play on the showtable (in this case the secondary TV arena) but did anyone really care whether Higgins/Dott was centre stage?
It was never going to be an extravaganza or lavish pot-fest and neither hold a major title at present.
I am assuming the TV company thought we needed to have another look at the NOTW subject Higgins, despite him featuring on TV in his first match against Lee.
There were grounds for the defending champion to be seen on the box maybe he isn't controversial enough.
I suppose if Ding wants BBC exposure, he knows what to do eh?

Anonymous said...

Watching Hendry go down in flames the way he has this tournament is very sad. It has been far from glorious the past 5-7 years but each tournament I get my hopes up.

It HAS to happen, I keep telling myself but it never happens. Suddenly he produces a 147 and I'm over the moon but then he crashes out.

After his last two matches it just brings me down to see this champion play to such a poor standard.

Sure, Williams was also horrible but that was more a one-off. Hendry needs to seek help, because his cueing is obviously damaged. It can't all be a matter of confidence.

kildare cueman said...

Hendry is in decline because he is too stubborn to change his game.

You cannot consistently knock in long pots in your 40's, and unfortunately for him, long potting under pressure was the feature which made him the best player.

If Hendry is to remain a major force, he needs to turn down low percentage pots in favour of safety.

He went for the last red at the start of the second session against Williams yesterday when 30 odd ahead.

It was a 4 out of 10 for Robertson or Murphy but 2 out of 10 for Hendry.

Whoever potted the last red was going to win so effectively Hendo backed a 4-1 shot at even money.

There was an easy safety cum snooker that would have made him a huge favourite, and with a 30 point lead, the ensuing safety battle would probably have afforded an opportunity to put a colour or two safe.

Im not for one minute telling Hendry what shot to play, but he has to realise that the old Hendry, barring sporadic bursts, has been put out to pasture in Stirling somewhere.

In order to remain a force in the game, he has to concentrate, like Steve Davis before him, and to some extent, O'Sullivan now, on his close cueball control, and safety. Keep up that all out attacking style and he will keep losing. Its a young mans game.