Stephen Lee is clearly playing very well again. He made three centuries yesterday in beating Neil Robertson, who himself made two.

Back in the top 16, all that is missing now for Lee is another major title. His last came at the Welsh Open six years ago.

Lee turned professional in the golden snooker summer of 1992 alongside his fellow junior prospects Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Williams and John Higgins.

His career hasn't quite hit the heights that they have achieved but he has done better than most.

Four world ranking titles is a perfectly respectable tally given the quality of opposition he has faced.

When he won his first, the 1998 Grand Prix, it was clear just how good a cueist he is. Lee made two centuries and eight half century breaks in beating Marco Fu 9-2. This remains one of the best performances I've ever seen in a final.

He may not resemble an athlete but is a great competitor and the proliferation in playing opportunities has clearly helped him rediscover something approaching his best form.

A semi-finalist at the German Masters, he could have reached the same stage of the Welsh Open but for a ghastly mobile phone ring putting him off in the decider against Ding Junhui.

Today he faces Graeme Dott, who swam through glue to beat Marcus Campbell yesterday.

I know I appear to have jinxed a number of players on here this week but Lee has the game and the belief back again, and this makes him very dangerous.


Anonymous said...

As far as I remember, Stephen Lee won just one match or so less than O'Sullivan during their first year on the pro circuit but was over-shadowed by the hype over the latter. I believe that had Lee focused entirely on the game, he would have won more titles.

Anonymous said...

Dave what are WS saying about the playing conditions? Shouldn't they have sorted all this out before the tournament.

Anonymous said...

From 1998 to 2003 he was as good as anybody, and was provisionally number 1 at one point IRC. If he had beaten Williams in the 2003 semi-final he would have won the world championship that year. Since then he's blown hot and cold, and even given his recent upturn in form I never believed he would be a top 8 player again, but that's a realistic propect now.

Dave H said...

The main problem is the humidity, which is hard to control. However, the standard has been pretty high these last couple of days so players are adapting.

Anonymous said...

But they shouldn't need to adapt to the creaking floors and balls rolling off. After all, this is a Professional Sport but it seems the venue was signed off by amateurs!

Anonymous said...

Being able to adapt is what makes them pro. Am impressed by Lee btw. Though if he and his classmate are labeled 'underachiever', who would be the biggest one out of the 2? Who should have won more titles?