Jimmy White didn't play great in beating Syrian Omar Alkojah in the wildcard round of the China Open yesterday but he got the result, which is all you can ask for in this tricky, palpably unfair extra match the eight lowest ranked qualifiers have to play for no additional financial reward.

Michael Holt and Jamie Jones did not fair so well, each beaten by Chinese opponents.

White now faces Judd Trump, the latest in the lineage of flair players to which the Whirlwind himself belongs.

He followed in the footsteps of Alex Higgins, his great friend, and is taking inspiration from the Hurricane in the year which marks to 40th anniversary of his first world title triumph and the 30th of his second.

White has cufflinks inscribed with an image of Higgins which he hopes will spur him on to qualify for the Crucible.

Trump represents a significant test. It was in Beijing 12 months ago that he broke through and is a big favourite to win again today.

White will surely have to produce one of his best performances on TV for some time to cause an upset.

His old foe, Stephen Hendry, won an entertaining first round match yesterday against Martin Gould, who will be thinking about the red he missed in the decider, effectively for match, all the way back to blighty.

Had it not been at such a vital time he probably wouldn't have missed it, but herein lies the fascination with sport: who will hold their nerve when it really matters?

Hendry still has an aura, particularly for a player like Gould who grew up watching him. Beating him live on TV in front of a large crowd is still a big deal. This obviously added to the pressure he was feeling.

I was amused to see Stephen say afterwards that his last remaining ambition was to win a major title in China. He did do when he won the 1990 Asian Open but I guess when you've won as much as he has you forget these things.

The chief talking point though was Neil Robertson's curly hair, his natural look when he's not got his hair straightening gear.

The last time I saw a mane so lustrous was on the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. The difference, however, is that Neil has bags of courage.


JC105 said...

Jimmy is waking up at last; come on Jim!

JC105 said...

Not quite...

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't like Robbo's Barnet. Makes him look a bit like a tranny.

Anonymous said...

robertson looks like hes just stepped off the set of prisoner cell block h