News

TT Races Through as Others Lag Behind

Yesterday, Luca Brecel was briefly discussed as one of the game’s rising stars but today he fell 5-1 at the hands of Andy Hicks in the second qualifying round for the 2012 Shanghai Masters.

Instead, it was another teenager in Thailand’s Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon – or TT, which is inevitably going to be one of his nicknames – that reaffirmed his potential as an up-and-coming youngster.

Thanawat whitewashed compatriot Dechawat Poomjaeng to advance to the penultimate stage, having already fallen at the final hurdle for the Australia Open last month in what has been a more than solid start to the 18 year-old’s campaign.

The 2011 World Under-21 champion has been widely recognised as one of the star international players who are surging through the ranks and also include Belgium’s Brecel, Poland’s Kacper Filipiak and the bombardment of exuberant Chinese talents that have emerged on the scene – among others.

This worldwide flavour is integral to the continued success of a sport that has made clear its ambitions to go global in the last few years.

Thailand, once a hotbed of popularity in the prime years of James Wattana, has been tried and tested in the last two seasons as a host venue for tournaments but ultimately failed miserably, with terribly poor attendances on show overall.

Yet, TT’s rise could begin a new wave of optimism in the Far East country while former world amateur champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also progressed with a 5-2 triumph over Peter Lines.

Another place where there have been several rumblings over recently is India, and its best player Aditya Mehta has been doing his most as well to ensure there is an Indian representative higher up the rankings.

The 26 year-old reached the final round of qualifying for the Wuxi Classic and will be hoping to go one step further for the second ranking event in China this season after a 5-2 victory over Wattana today.

Today’s action garnered a lot of negative reaction on Twitter after several of the encounters, particularly those involved in the afternoon session, were drawn-out, dreary affairs.

Indeed, Barry Pinches’ deciding frame victory over Fraser Patrick approached the six-hour mark with fellow Englishmen Alfie Burden, David Grace and Liam Highfield’s wins not lasting much shorter.

But it is easy to forget that these players are under immense pressure to overcome as many challenges as possible in any given season.

The prize money is still very small in the qualifiers and at the end of the day this is their profession, with their livelihood literally on the line.

It is unreasonable to expect them to alter the manner in which they approach a game just to please the few who are watching on a live stream.

There were some outrageous knee-jerk reactions for an introduction of a time-limit on matches or alternatively the widening of pockets to make it slightly easier but, in truth, these were simply preposterous suggestions.

The qualifiers have always been dog-eat-dog events that lack the high quality snooker played at the venue stages of tournaments because they are what they are – qualifiers played by those who are way down the rankings.

Simply because fans now have the privilege of watching these rounds does not mean there should be any drastic alteration to the traditions of the game.

Elsewhere, the matches ran smoothly as Scott Donaldson continued his remarkable debut on the professional scene with a 5-3 victory over Yu Delu, with even more young prospects in Michael White of Wales and China’s Cao Yupeng also advancing.

Englishmen David Gilbert, Mark Joyce, Ian Burns and Jimmy Robertson rounded off the day’s results with the likes of Jimmy White, Ken Doherty and Steve Davis entering the fray tomorrow.

The full draw and list of results can be viewed by clicking here



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.

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