Hossein Vafaei
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Hossein Vafaei refuses to shake hands with Mark Williams

Hossein Vafaei lost 4-1 to Mark Williams in the second round of the World Grand Prix on Wednesday, then refused to shake the Welshman’s hand.

The pair appeared to be smiley with one another throughout the contest, with no obvious animosity evident prior to the game’s conclusion.

Vafaei, however, got himself caught up in a strange incident toward the end of the second frame.

The Iranian was on course to restore parity after his esteemed opponent began the showdown with a century break.

But Vafaei miscounted, and thinking he only required the pink ball when needing both remaining colours, he didn’t play for position on the black.

Williams eventually took the frame instead and extended his cushion to 3-0 before a run of 87 kept Vafaei in the last-16 fixture.

The latter had an opportunity to draw closer but broke down early on in frame five, with Williams compiling a break of 75 to advance to the quarter-finals.

There was no real indication as to why Vafaei would be angry with the British Open champion, but the 29 year-old stormed out of the arena after only shaking hands with referee Olivier Marteel.

After Williams had played his final shot – missing a difficult pink to the yellow pocket – he slapped his thigh in frustration, albeit Vafaei at this stage already needed snookers.

Vafaei, however, appeared to take offence – hinting on social media (in a now deleted post) that he thought it was an inappropriate act of celebration and similar to how the former world champion reacted towards the end of their last match at the British Open in September.

It’s not the first time he has been caught up in controversy with another competitor.

The former Snooker Shoot Out champion has been outspoken on a number of occasions in the past, including in the lead-up to a World Championship grudge match against Ronnie O’Sullivan last season.

Williams, who will face China’s Cao Yupeng in the next round, also took to social media to voice his opinion on the incident.

Responding to one user’s comment on X which described the ending to the match as odd, Williams used just a single word – “pathetic”.

In response to another comment, Williams said: “I was a good admirer of his game as well. All my family liked him, not sure they do after that now.”

Cao, meanwhile, produced a fine display to confidently dispatch of Shaun Murphy with a comprehensive 4-0 scoreline.

Top seed Judd Trump and fellow Englishman Mark Selby also reached the last eight, setting up an intriguing fixture against one another.

The duo emerged from contrasting encounters on day three, with Trump thumping Lyu Haotian in a whitewash win.

Selby, by contrast, required all seven frames to beat last week’s Masters runner-up Ali Carter 4-3.

Earlier on Wednesday, the first round concluded with reigning champion Mark Allen among those making it through his first test.

The Northern Irishman won a high-scoring clash with Jack Lisowski 4-2 – compiling a hat-trick of century breaks in the process.

Asian trio Ding Junhui, Zhang Anda, and Noppon Saengkham all advanced in the tournament as well.

Ding edged an at-times nervy match with Ricky Walden in a deciding frame, while Zhang and Saengkham beat Dominic Dale and Xiao Guodong respectively.

On Thursday, the second round will reach its climax before the first two quarter-final bouts take place during the evening session.

2024 World Grand Prix draw and schedule

Round of 32 (bo7)

Judd Trump 4-2 Jamie Jones
Lyu Haotian 4-3 Chris Wakelin

Mark Selby 4-3 Yuan Sijun
Ali Carter 4-3 Wu Yize

Barry Hawkins 3-4 Cao Yupeng
John Higgins 0-4 Shaun Murphy

Hossein Vafaei 4-3 Matthew Selt
Mark Williams 4-3 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Zhang Anda 4-2 Dominic Dale
Mark Allen 4-2 Jack Lisowski

Noppon Saengkham 4-1 Xiao Guodong
Ding Junhui 4-3 Ricky Walden

Tom Ford 4-1 Jordan Brown
Gary Wilson 4-2 David Gilbert

Zhou Yuelong 4-1 Stephen Maguire
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Pang Junxu

Round of 16 (bo7)

Judd Trump 4-0 Lyu Haotian
Mark Selby 4-3 Ali Carter

Cao Yupeng 4-0 Shaun Murphy
Hossein Vafaei 1-4 Mark Williams

Zhang Anda 4-2 Mark Allen
Noppon Saengkham 1-4 Ding Junhui

Tom Ford 2-4 Gary Wilson
Zhou Yuelong 3-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Quarter-Finals (bo9)

Judd Trump 5-1 Mark Selby
Cao Yupeng 5-4 Mark Williams

Zhang Anda 2-5 Ding Junhui
Gary Wilson 1-5 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Judd Trump 6-2 Cao Yupeng

Ding Junhui 1-6 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Final (bo19)

Judd Trump 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. It did seem petulant from Vafaei. Williams is the least likely to try and disrespect an opponent. The match also saw Olivier Marteel penalise Mark Williams for picking up the white when he was trying to replace the balls.

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