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Monday, 15 January 2018

The Masters 2018 Day Two

Day Two at the Masters and contrasting fortunes for two of the games big starts who were hoping to kickstart the second half of the season here this week.

Ding Junhui has really been having a torrid time of late and with that in mind i'm sure he would have ,if given the choice,picked someone else to play in his first match here rather than Ryan Day who has been a bogeyman to him on some of the games biggest stages in the past.

Day has always been one of those players who on his day you don't think he will miss,but when things are going badly looks like someone down the club.Today looked like it was going to be one of the latter as Ding flew out the blocks to a 3-0 lead.Day needed to do something quick and he did,taking the last before the interval with a 79 to trail 3-1.

That seemed to light a fire under Day and two beautifully crafted centuries (125 & 105)drew him level at 3-3.

Three in a row for Day then and that would become five in a row thanks to two extraordinary incidents with Ding.Firstly a lengthy 7th frame was decided when Ding miscued on the final red,leaving a free ball and he then saw then the next frame go a begging  when he brushed off the blue while trying to cue over it with the rest. All of which meant Day now only needed one more for victory at 5-3.

A 100 from Ding in the next closed the gap to 5-4 ,but there was to be no comeback as Day took the next with a 115 of his own to seal his victory 6-4.

Into the night match match then and what on paper looked like the potential tie of the round as Trump faced  off against Liang Wenbo.

For someone of Trumps talent,his record in this tournament over the years has been disappointing & that coupled with a few incidents in recent months where he has been creating headlines for the wrong reasons may have him feeling he has something to prove here this week.

He certainly started off the better in this one with a series of big breaks giving him a 3-1 interval lead in what seemed like the blink of an eye and an early night looked in store as that quickly became  5-1 when they resumed.

Liang though wasn't finished with yet and as so often happen when you get to the nothing to lose stage, his arm freed up.Breaks of 58 & 51 got him off and running,before two of the most beautifully constructed centuries ( 139 & 116) you could wish to see saw him back within one at 4-5.

It was very much game on again now and \when Liang knocked in a long red in the next he was unfortunate not to finish on a colour.Three minutes of thinking time followed ,before he decided to put all his eggs in one basket,taking on an ultra difficult green. Unfortunately for him it proved one pot too far and he missed it gifting Trump an easy opener from which he ran out the match with 85.The score in the end 6-4.

Finally again today we saw the subject of the overly generous pockets causing a stir.This has been a bug bear of mine in recent seasons and its nice to see it getting some proper discussion on tv for a change as up to now we've only heard the whole tournament v club table argument.That of course misses the point as at the top level even the slightest fraction can make such a difference.I may be wrong on this ,but it seems to happen more in the BBC tournaments than any of the others.This may be with the mistaken belief that all the casual viewers want to see is big breaks..I think this would be an incorrect assumption.

Anyway things roll on tomorrow with a certain defending champion entering the arena in the afternoon session.

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