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Indian Open at Incredible India has opened the way to Success for Players

This event (Indian Open Snooker) has been on the calendar since 2013, and along with Higgins, Anthony McGill, Michael White and Ding Junhui have all been crowned winners. Due to flooding in the Kerala region in 2018 it was postponed and finally the event took place from February 27 to March 3.

Top Snooker stars headed to India for the five-day tournament. Players’ like Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson stayed at home rather than travelling to the event.

The Indian Open was first staged in 2013 in New Delhi. That was the first ever world ranking event staged in the country where snooker was invented nearly 140 years earlier. The country’s top player Aditya Mehta gave that ambition a boost by reaching the final of the inaugural event, though he lost to Ding Junhui.

The second Indian Open was staged in Mumbai in 2015, won by Michael White who captured his first ranking title. The enthusiasm of the local fans and the warm reception always received in ‘Incredible India’ has made this event a welcome addition to the calendar.

In 2016 the world ranking event took place in Hyderabad in Southern India for the first time. Anthony McGill won his first ranking title, beating Kyren Wilson 5-2 in the final.

In 2017, John Higgins won the title for the first time by beating Anthony McGill 5-1 in the final in Visakhapatnam.

And the tournament of this year is worth to remember for everyone.

Defending champion John Higgins beat Ashley Hugill 4-1 in the first round.

Shaun Murphy earned a much-needed victory, beating Lucky Vatnani 4-1 with a top run of 75. Eden Sharav came from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Michael Georgiou 4-3, taking a tense decider by potting the final blue and pink.

Oliver Lines fired runs of 89, 51, 58 and 93 in a 4-1 win over Fergal O’Brien while Joe Perry top scored with 125 in a 4-1 win over Ashley Carty.

Yan Bingtao made a 31 clearance in the deciding frame to beat Gerard Greene 4-3 while Jack Lisowski eased to a 4-0 win over wild card Himanshu Dinesh Jain with a top break of 94.

Another exciting news raised the curiosity of the audience when Zhou Yuelong made his first official maximum break against Lyu Haotian. World number 34 Zhou made the perfect break in the fourth frame to make the score 2-2. It’s the first 147 made at the Indian Open, since 2013.

It’s the 150th official maximum in history and 11th of the season. My heartiest Congratulations to Zhou, age 21,as he became the fourth Chinese player to enter the 147 club, after Ding Junhui, Liang Wenbo and Cao Yupeng.

Further, it looked like a comfortable match for Higgins when he took the first three frames against Iran’s Vafaei. But his opponent stormed back to take the next three with breaks of 106, 58 and 52. Four-time World Champion Higgins then showed his class with a 104 in the last frame.

Part-time factor worker Luke Simmonds led Lyu Haotian 3-2 and had chances to win in frames six and seven, but couldn’t get over the line and China’s Lyu eventually cleared the colours in the decider for victory. Lyu then met amateur Andy Hicks, a former Crucible semi-finalist, who beat Eden Sharav 4-2.

Stuart Bingham made a 123 in a 4-2 win over John Astley while Li Hang compiled runs of 109 and 116 in a 4-2 defeat of Joe Perry.

Oliver Lines also reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the third time in his career by edging out Soheil Vahedi 4-3, while Luca Brecel knocked in breaks of 109, 101 and 96 in a 4-1 win over Andrew Higginson.

Romford’s Selt reached the last four of a ranking event for the first time in his 17-year career by edging out Lu Ning 4-3. From 2-0 up, Selt lost the next three frames, but then won the last two with runs of 66 and 86. Higgins, chasing his first title of the season, edged out China’s Li Hang 4-3 in the quarter-finals. Breaks of 104, 81 and 61 gave Scotland’s Higgins a 3-2 lead, and though he lost the sixth frame, he took the decider 78-1.

China’s up-and-coming Lyu reached his third ranking event semi-final with a 4-2 victory over Mark Davis. The 21-year-old previously got to the last four of the 2017 Northern Ireland Open and 2018 China Championship. He was tied at 2-2 but took the last two frames with runs of 106 and 70.

 

Nottingham’s 47-year-old Hamilton, who won his first ranking title at the German Masters two years ago, scored a 4-2 win over Scott Donaldson. Break of 127, 74, 69 and 65 put Hamilton into the last four.

 

Matthew Selt won the first ranking title of his career, 17 years after turning professional, by beating Lyu Haotian 5-3 in the finals. Romford’s 33-year-old Selt had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event. But he won seven matches this time, notably knocking out defending champion John Higgins in the semis, before coming from 3-2 down in the final to take the last three frames against China’s Lyu. The £50,000 prize is by far the biggest pay-day of Selt’s career.

Ranked 51st in the world, he is the second player from outside the top 50 to win a ranking title within a week. Selt’s victory sees him leap 16 places to 35th and he may have earned a spot in the Champion of Champions event in November.

Selt won a tight opening frame by clearing from yellow to pink then went 2-0 up with a break of 84. Lyu fought back to 2-2 with runs of 115 and 56. After the interval, Lyu took the lead with a break of 66 then Selt restored parity with a superb 102.

Both players had chances in the seventh frame but Selt crucially took it with another yellow to pink clearance to edge 4-3 ahead. And a run of 72 in the next proved enough for the title.

The players from India and other countries exceptionally played very well and have given their best. Team RKG Snooker acknowledges the efforts of Indian Snooker players and it is my sincere wish that they continue to take the rich tradition of cue sports in the country.  It is part of our global vision that snooker will thrive there and grow in popularity.

 

Written By : Ravindra Kumar Gupta

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