In Northern Ireland Open Last 16: Young Talent Stan Moody’s Hopes Dashed, Shaun Murphy Upset by Chris Wakelin

In the last 16 of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, teenager Stan Moody saw his dreams of advancing further shattered as he lost 4-2 to China’s Yuan Sijun. Former Crucible champion Shaun Murphy suffered a similar fate, being defeated 4-2 by Chris Wakelin.

Stan Moody, a 17-year-old tour rookie, had hoped to face his mentor, Shaun Murphy, in the quarter-finals. However, both players were eliminated in Belfast one round earlier than expected. Moody could have become the youngest ranking event semi-finalist with just two more wins, surpassing the record set by Paul Hunter at the 1996 Welsh Open. Unfortunately, that opportunity will have to wait for another day.

Yuan Sijun, ranked 45th in the world, reached his sixth ranking quarter-final, aiming for his second semi-final appearance, the first being at the 2019 Gibraltar Open.

During the match, Moody seemed in control after producing a break of 88, giving him a 2-1 lead, but Yuan fought back, taking the next three frames, including a high break of 57.

Meanwhile, Shaun Murphy, who was seeking his fourth ranking title of 2023, was outperformed by BetVictor Shoot Out champion Chris Wakelin. Murphy, the world number seven, had brought two cues into the arena this week and made the unprecedented decision to change cues before the fourth frame. However, this change did not alter the outcome as Wakelin, ranked 25th in the world, advanced to his seventh career ranking quarter-final.

After sharing the first two frames, Murphy briefly led 2-1 with a yellow-to-black clearance, but he only managed to score two points in the remaining three frames as Wakelin secured them all with top breaks of 55, 41, and 49.

Wakelin commented on the match, saying, “I felt I controlled the match well and put pressure on Shaun. I haven’t reached the later stages of ranking events often in my career, except for the Shoot Out, but I’m not afraid of reaching a semi-final, final, or winning more titles. I genuinely believe I should be in the later stages of tournaments, and I think today’s performance demonstrates that.”

Regarding Murphy’s cue change, Wakelin added, “I have nothing but respect for Shaun and his attempts to innovate in the sport – hats off to him. However, I don’t believe changing the cue mid-match is the solution when you’re struggling. There are other factors you can change. As soon as I saw him switching cues, I thought he hadn’t missed many shots, and adjusting to a new cue would take him some time. It’s like putting Max Verstappen in Lewis Hamilton’s car and expecting it to perform the same way. A cue is a highly personal tool, and I don’t think switching mid-match is the answer at the moment, though it might be in the future.”

In other matches, Ricky Walden reached his first ranking quarter-final since the 2022 Scottish Open by defeating Xing Zihao 4-1 with a high break of 134. Judd Trump continued his pursuit of winning three consecutive ranking titles, beating Ian Burns 4-2. Joe Perry staged a comeback from 3-1 down to defeat Hossein Vafaei 4-3, making breaks of 122 in the last two frames. David Gilbert won 4-1 against Lyu Hoatian with a high break of 127, and Barry Hawkins beat Jimmy Robertson 4-1. All these last 16 matches will be played on Thursday night.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap