The quarter-finals of the International Championship feature seven ranking event winners plus a wildcard in every sense, 14 year-old Lu Haotian, who becomes the youngest player to figure in the last eight of a major tournament.

If he beats Neil Robertson it will be the biggest shock in snooker history. Whatever happens, he has demonstrated considerable potential, not least because he is at an age where he can only improve.

I thought Robertson was very strong again yesterday. Last season he won the Masters, was a semi-finalist in the UK Championship and quarter-finalist in the World Championship.

This new event feels like another major and the Aussie has come good again.

But so too have several other players, including Shaun Murphy. He missed a straightforward red which would have moved him towards a 5-1 lead over Ding Junhui yesterday. Ding rallied to 4-4 but Murphy finished off very well in the last two frames.

This was reminiscent of the way he  closed out the 2005 world final against Matthew Stevens, winning the last two frames from 16-16 with big breaks.

It was a match too far for Aditya Mehta, who was beaten 6-0 by Judd Trump. He now faces Mark Allen, which will probably be quicker than Ricky Walden's laborious 6-3 defeat of Mark Selby.

This lasted five hours, 21 minutes, finishing at 1.30am local time. A right old grind, then, but this may not have entirely been the fault of the players.

Away from the relentless PR about snooker in China, two players complained publically yesterday about playing conditions.

Both Peter Ebdon and Dominic Dale said the tables were rolling off. Ebdon told The Sun: "I played six shots in the first four frames that rolled off completely. It’s an absolute nightmare — you don’t know what shots to play.”

Dale commented: “With the Star tables, I don’t know if it is a manufacturing thing or bad fitting but they are not always good for the level.”

I'm not enough of an expert on tables to comment on whether Star's models are better or worse than those which have been used before but it may well be that it's the venue that is the main problem.

It was changed at late notice. Apparently the original one was needed for something else by the state government, and I'm guessing you don't argue with them.

Problems were not so noticeable on the TV tables but Ebdon and Dale were playing away from the cameras. I suppose some would accuse Dale of sour grapes but Ebdon won, although he does seem to obsess about conditions more than many other players.

Playing conditions on the circuit are generally very good, but there have been plenty of venues - including a number in Britain - which have had problems.

Ultimately the least a player should expect is for the table they play on to be level.

Anyway, none of this alters the fact that it's a cracking line-up. The prize fund seems to have focused a few minds and the best of 11s have imbued on the tournament a feeling of prestige purely through being over a longer distance than all the other Chinese events.


Anonymous said...

great line up

and bonus theres no ronnie

great event

thanks for a great blog

Anonymous said...

Great shot of the crowd (well, what little crowd there is) in the Ebdon-Walden match, with a couple of spectators fast asleep. I'm not surprised watching this. In the time they have played three frames, Trump and Allen have rattled through nine!


Anonymous said...

a couple of comments which I would have made yesterday but I was otherwise occupied.

A report in The Times yesterday alleged that the venue was changed because the original venue was unxepectedly requisitioned by the Government.

Secondly, I dont think the issue is High Def - I have reckoned for some time that the Eurosport commentators "benefit" from a few seconds delay in the video being sent to us the viewers, so they dont get caught out by the unexpected - eg a replay or a shot of somebody in the crowd. For instance I noted during the World Championships that the Eurosport output on the satellite was 3 to 4 seconds behind the same BBC output on the same satellite.

Go on Dave - tell us all... (if you are allowed)

Anonymous said...

i love how people get a wasp in their pants over how fast people play.


Anonymous said...

Given the way the Chinese events compete with each other, I guess this means we'll have the longer matches at the other ones as well next year.

Throw in the UK and The Masters as well, and that'll make best of 11 the new standard distance in major tournaments.

Ironic after all the talk about shorter formats over the last couple of years.

Anonymous said...

Well, Ebdon has his supporters who cite his grit and determination. Others say that his procrastinating is a device he uses when he recognises an obvious shortfall in talent between himself and his opponent. Who knows. One thing that can't be argued with is the fact that there is little appetite for his style of play. Borne out by the lack (absence actually) of audience.

Anonymous said...

Re:Robertson's foul - why didn't he call himself? Because aren't we regularly told that players always call themselves. And to compound mattters he had the brazen cheek of Old Nick to query it with the ref as well.Perhaps one day the commentators will have the balls to say that these players are right out of order.

Dave H said...

I certainly one day hope to have the bravery to make anonymous slurs about people.

For the record, Neil clearly didn't know what the foul had been called for and merely asked the referee and accepted the decision when it was explained to him.

kildare cueman said...

Thought Robbo overdid it a bit with the fist pump at 4-2, seeing as he was playing a child.

Anonymous said...

Not slurring anybody, just calling it like it is! Anyone looking at the replay will see he hit another red on his follow through with the cue. How he wouldn't know that defies all logic.

jamie brannon said...

You've got to give Ebdon huge credit for the 2012 he has had.

It's always interesting in a non-physical sport like this how you get players declining at different rates. Hendry was a better player than Ebdon but wasn't producing the sort of form Ebdon is at 41.

Anonymous said...

Ebdon's style of play is more robust. Hendry could have conceivably won more tournaments too if he had adopted a more tactical type of game, but he didn't want to play it that way so he called it a day. I also dispute the claim Hendry wasn't producing that level of form post 40, he produced two 147s at the Crucible which speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

5.22 Hendry is not one for long safety battles; the kind which Ebdon thrives on and which he passed on to Ali Carter at the Crucible.

Anonymous said...

417 is obviously retarded

btw, my name is eric

Anonymous said...

well said 522

jamie is a blinkered ronnie fan who finds it hard to admit anything done by the superior player was good, as he thinks ronnie is god

Anonymous said...

Ebdon sometimes goes for shots that others won't even consider taking on, which I admire.

Completely different from the negative play Selby often show.

I have mixed emotions on the Semi between Trump and Ebdon, because I would like to see Ebdon in the top 16 and Selby kicked off his no. 1 spot.

Thomas Johannesson said...

Ive read somewhere about a documentary about ROS which was going to be televised the sixth of November, has anyone heard of it and got some more info??

Dave H said...

I think it's on ITV4

Anonymous said...

They might make a last minute decision not to show it :-)

Anonymous said...

Well, not only does Judd bring much excitement to the game with his flair and ability, he also refreshingly is able to air his honest opinions. Agree wholeheartedly about his observation that Ebdon, instead of playing his natural game, concentrated instead on trying to slow the match down in an attempt to throw Trump out of any rhythm. His reward was the wrong end of a 9-1 hammering.

jamie brannon said...

10pm on the channel Dave mentioned, and on Tuesday.

Be available on ITV Player for thirty days.

Anonymous said...

127, brilliant.

as an aside it amazes me the amount of people who are sniping at trumps "out there" comments, considering what ronnie has said and done in the past hes a choirboy and the same fans calling judd rude wore blinkers when ronnie was good and saying and doing stupid things. short memories.