Marco Fu. Now there’s a player who is hard to read.

When he plays well he gets into such a nice rhythm that he is unstoppable. He’s won a ranking title, been UK Championship and Masters runner-up and a semi-finalist at the World Championship.

But when he struggles he really struggles. Fu has a good record against several top players – including John Higgins, his opponent in the Haikou World Open today – but he has also lost matches where he appeared nailed on.

Marco is one of snooker’s true gents, a player without any malice or self importance. He of course made a 147 in qualifying for the World Open but form doesn’t seem to matter with him. He could conceivably beat Higgins comfortably or slump to a disappointing defeat.

Higgins himself has not enjoyed the best of seasons. Victory over Ding Junhui at the Welsh Open could have turned his campaign around but he missed a tough pink en route to winning 4-2 and was beaten 4-3 by the eventual champion.

Ding today plays Jin Long after his fellow Chinese beat Sam Baird in the increasingly controversial wildcard round yesterday.

Baird was one of two qualifiers to lose, the other being Nigel Bond, with a couple of other matches being a little too close for comfort.

The big guns finally start firing today and Judd Trump will doubtless draw a large crowd. It was in China last year that he broke through as a major force and since winning the UK Championship he has appeared in a semi-final, two quarter-finals and got himself up to a career best third in the world rankings.

I hope the creaking floor at the venue isn’t as annoying for the players as it is for TV viewers. The noise made the vuvuzelas at the 2010 World Cup look like a lot of fuss about nothing.

But all this is a mere sideshow as we descend into an orgy of self-congratulation with the news that this blog has come fourth in a list of the UK’s top ten general (non-football) sports blogs by Cision, a media research body. The placings are decided according to the “influence” each blog carries.

Ah, fourth. Who wants a place on the medal podium anyway? If I were a Premier League team I’d be heading for Europe now despite finishing 17 points behind the champions.

Well, like Meryl Streep at the Academy Awards, I shall attempt humility, not least because I have seen very few signs of this apparent ‘influence’ even though I’m sure that, right now, Barry Hearn is pouring over every word.

If he is, please have someone look at that floor, Barry. It sounds like it might give way at any moment.


Anonymous said...

Well done Dave.

Anonymous said...

You do yourself a disservice Dave. I bet perusing your blog is the third thing Barry does in the morning after brushing his teeth and calling his accountant.

Anonymous said...

Pouring? Shouldn't that be poreing?

Anonymous said...

dont worry dave, i was going to do an adele on you..

well done

great blog

Ayrshirebhoy said...

Congrats Dave, great blog.

jamie brannon said...

Jin Long is striking a blow for the wildcards.

Don't agree with the wildcard round but it would some story if he won it.

Holt's scoreline was surprising

Anonymous said...

You deserve your rating - I look at it most days & enjoy

Anonymous said...

An orgy of self congratulation...ha funny! Well done anyway mate,a good read this blog.Like a lot of folk,I check in every other day or so.Keep it up!

Witz78 said...

crowds have been dire so far

infact id have to say the crowds in general always are pretty poor in China, or it certainly comes over like that on the tv, not to mention the distinct lack of atmosphere.

And im sure im not alone in finding all these Chinese events a tad bland and almost clones of each other. They just seem to be all so similar and lacking in personality. The same format in all doesnt help but theres something else lacking from them too i feel.

Having the WC top 16 cut off after the China Open would have spiced these events up far more. As it is, a lot of people are already looking towards April now instead, and i almost include myself in this category. Dare i say it, im needing a break from watching wall to wall snooker after the feast of the last few months.

Anonymous said...

I went to the China Open last year, watched Ding beat Hendry. The place was packed, but hard to see that on TV as the majority of the crowd were sitting quite far away. The 'expensive' seats are very close to the action, but there aren't many of them!

They could do more at the events to create atmosphere, for example there are no real facilities there: one orange juice stand and a small coffee bar! but its early days for snooker in China and I am sure the events will get better as more events take place over here.

I'm looking forward to this year's China Open too - a great opportunity to see some good snooker up very close.