The Wuxi Classic, formerly the Jiangsu Classic, is now in its fourth year and marks the start of the televised snooker season.

Shaun Murphy staged a remarkable comeback last year, coming from 8-2 down to beat Ding Junhui 9-8 in the final.

This was a great performance from Murphy but it didn’t exactly make him Mr. Popular in Wuxi City, which just happens to be Ding’s home town.

The tournament begins on Thursday with four matches, two of them played on the TV table: Peter Ebdon v Rouzi Maimiati and Stephen Maguire v Liang Wenbo.

This is Ebdon’s 21st season as a professional and he started it as a member of the top 16 having regained his place last year with a run to the semi-finals of the World Open.

Younger readers may not believe this but he wasn’t always regarded as methodical. He used to fly round the table, his pony tail flying with him.

Ebdon, though, has always been one for introspection and even as he was climbing the rankings became fixated on his technique.

This eventually led to a slowing down, but it didn’t stop his success and his victory at the Crucible in 2002 was one of the hardest earned of any World Championship triumph.

He came from 16-14 down in the semi-finals against Matthew Stevens and made a miracle half century break in the decider.

In the final against Stephen Hendry, Ebdon seemed to have gone at 17-16 but, in the decider, got himself together and completed the victory.

It meant the world to him but was especially sweet to have beaten Hendry, the Crucible’s greatest ever player who had made a record 16 centuries during the tournament.

Now 40, Ebdon is at that stage in his career where he would be regarded as clinging on to the coat tails of younger players, but his appetite for playing doesn’t seem to have been diminished by the passing of the years.

Liang had a shocker last season, losing all eight matches he played in major ranking events and only just remaining in the top 32 having started it in the top 16.

But so far this season he has qualified for the Australian Goldfields Open and must surely feel the campaign can’t possibly be as bad as last year’s was.

He beat Maguire 7-6 in the final of the BTV Challenge in 2009 and home soil may be a factor this week, although of course Maguire is a former China Open champion.

The Scot is also very consistent, with sundry semi-finals and the odd final under his belt in recent years.

But he is a top player and top players want titles. There are more to be won now but that doesn’t make it any easier.

The other two matches on Thursday pit Stevens against Yu Delu and Graeme Dott against Cao Yupeng.

Yu impressed by winning three matches in his first tournament as a professional to reach the final qualifying round of the Australian Open.

He is a veteran of playing wild card matches in Chinese ranking events but if Stevens can maintain the form with which he ended last season the Welshman will obviously be a heavy favourite.

Dott, like Ebdon, burns with determination and has long since got over his problems with playing in China.

This is the first round, best of nine frames, to reach the quarter-finals, where Murphy, Ding, Mark Selby and Ali Carter await.

Eurosport’s live coverage begins at 6am UK time on Thursday.


Arno van der Meer said...

Nice to mention that incredible semi-final of Ebdon vs. Stevens. Ebdon potted some outrageous balls with his back against the wall.

I would like to see these shots again, but can't find anything on youtube.

Anonymous said...

can anyone tell me the times the matches are expected on the tv on thurs?

if ebdons is first at 6am i might go for a lie in until 7am and just miss the first frame

Dave H said...

Ebdon is first at 6am and Maguire is at 12.30pm (UK time)

Anonymous said...

thanks david

jamie brannon said...

Anyone know why the solihull leg of the Premier League has been scrapped? It is now taking place in Stoke.

Betty Logan said...

I'll never forget Ebdon's pink at 14-16 down. He could have taken a routine blue, but could only tie, so opted for the all-or-nothing pink. It had echoes of the Higgins semi 20 years previously. That was shot selection that separates world class players from journeymen. I'm not an Ebdon fan, but credit where it is due. Stevens missed a simple red to win the match 17-14, and it probably would have been his year if not for that.

Anonymous said...

it wouldnt probably have been his yeaar if not for that. dont be silly. the best you can say is that he still had a good chance if hed won.

Betty Logan said...

Stevens was a bogey player for Hendry. Stevens thrashed him at The Crucible in 2001 and beat him again in 2005 (whereas Hendry's win was back in 1999), and Stevens also beat him in the UK final the following year. Hendry was finished in the big events by 2002.

Anonymous said...

hed just got to the final makin 16 centuries
stop talkin boll@cks

tatannes said...

Ebdon seems boring to watch nowadays.

Anyway, it's interesting to listen to him & other snooker stars talking about the game.
I was fond of that 4 players chat during WC.

Anonymous said...

thats a compliment.

by 2002 Hendry was finished in big events and yet he came within a frame of being Hendry the 8th just shows how great he was.

Anonymous said...

Good commentator Ebdon.

Betty Logan said...

You can always see how intimidated Hendry is when he plays Stevens.

Witz78 said...

having had a look at the prize money on offer in this event i have to say its a joke.

winner 20k
r-up 10k
semis 5k
quarters 2.5k
round 1 1k

with the cost of travelling etc for this event, the bulk of the players will be taking a loss for this. Its bad enough when this happens for an event with ranking points, but for essentially a tournament that doesnt really matter, you wonder why so many of these players are putting themselves at financial risk?

For the 3rd most established / well known event in China to have a pityful prize fund of under 60k is a joke really. If the game is booming in China, just where are the sponsors? And dont give me that global financial crisis baloney, Chinas the worlds fastest growing economy and surely the alleged tv audiences of tens, even hundreds of millions in the Far East must tempt some sponsors to stump up more than just a few buttons for the 16 players in this event.

Dave H said...

Unlikely to happen I know but maybe you should find out the facts before mouthing off.

All players have their expenses paid in full - that's flights and hotel - and are guaranteed £3,000 just for showing up.

Nobody will lose money for playing in it.

Anonymous said...

Dave H said...
Unlikely to happen I know but maybe you should find out the facts before mouthing off.

All players have their expenses paid in full - that's flights and hotel - and are guaranteed £3,000 just for showing up.

Nobody will lose money for playing in it.

1:57 AM
Witz78 Clamped

wild said...

yes witz find out the facts ;-)

but even if they weren't getting the appearance money. the only way a tournament can grow is if players play in it.

nobody will want to sponsor a event without any players playing in it thats called at home watering the garden.

i think im right this is the first time this event comes under WPBSA Sanctions you really got to let a tournament grow and get bigger nothing good happens overnight.

Anonymous said...

its already getting bigger now its not called the jigsaw classic

Witz78 said...

fair enough Dave,

doesnt that go against your grain then Wild of players receiving appearance fees then?

or have you changed your opinion on them too?

and wheres your rant on here about the General Cup 12k 147 prize being 3 times higher than the winners prize?

jamie brannon said...

I'm taking know one does have any reasons for the switch to Stoke.

Stoke is a hotbed for snooker and they possess the best snooker club that I have visted, The Reardon, but it is disappointing that the West Midlands seems not to be getting any top-class snooker for years now.

Sorry to mention this on a topic about Wuxi Classic, but just disappointed not to be able to go.

For me, Ding will take some stopping here, a view supported by Racing Post snooker tipster Adrian Humphries.

wild said...


firstly this isnt about the general cup.

secondary no its not against the grain all it means is first round losers gets £4,250 + expenses and the winner gets £23,000 + expenses.

i dont understand why they just did not add it to the price like i did though if thats how much they get.

Anonymous said...

radio station?

Anonymous said...

ive only been watching for 7 minutes and already there has been 3 clangers by the commentary "experts"

Anonymous said...

joe johnson says peters always been slow on the shot....

Anonymous said...

Ebdon 2-0 up. 50 odd ahead. All the reds safe. Couple of colours safe. Cueing well and enjoying himself. Takes on a difficult red up the rail with the rest and wobbles it.
"He's feeling the pressure out there", pipes Joe Johnson.

Trevor said...

Are eurosport showing only 1 semi tomorrow morning ?.according to the sky planner there is no coverage of the second semi at 12.30 can anyone shed any light ?