Hong Kong Masters Preview

Scotland / India / Wales / China Into Semis

Scotland will face India in the semi-finals of the Nongfu Spring World Cup on Sunday, while Wales will take on China B.

Quarter-final results:
Scotland 4-1 China A
India 4-1 Belgium
Wales 4-1 Thailand
China B 4-2 Australia

John Higgins

John Higgins (r) and Stephen Maguire were too good for host nation China’s A team

John Higgins and Stephen Maguire of Scotland enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 win over home favourites Ding Junhui and Xiao Guodong of China A.

Higgins said: “We didn’t have a great start to the week, but often in team events – like the football World Cup – it’s not always the team that starts the best that goes on to win it. Sometimes it’s the team that gradually gets better and better, and maybe that will happen with us. We were a little bit lucky to get through the group phase but now we fancy winning it. It would be a dream to represent Scotland in the final.”

Maguire added: “We’ve got a good partnership and we’re good friends off the table, which helps.”

India’s Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta were also 4-1 winners, beating Belgium’s Luca Brecel and Tomasz Skalski.

Mehta said: “We have played some really good stuff and deserve to be here. We got off to a good start today, and these matches are all about momentum. We’re going to give Scotland a run for their money, that’s for sure. There’s no pressure now because we have already gone a long way. We are showing that we have the level of expertise to compete, and this proves to all the kids in India we can be good enough. If we can beat Scotland tomorrow it will send out shock waves.”

Advani added: “We didn’t think at the start of the tournament we would get this far, fighting for a place in the final. Aditya is doing the scoring and I’m just playing safety to support him! We’ll give it everything tomorrow.”

Welsh duo Mark Williams and Michael White eased to a 4-1 win over Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

White said: “We both struggled a bit in the group stages, even though we didn’t lose a match, but tonight we both played well. We’re a strong team and we’ve got every chance. I hope we can go all the way.”

The last quarter-final saw China’s B team, teenagers Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao, continue to impress as they saw off Australia’s Neil Robertson and Vinnine Calabrese 4-2.

Zhou said: “Our game plan was to guarantee two points against Vinnie and try our best to beat Neil. It was a confidence boost when Yan showed his form to beat Neil in the first frame, and we built momentum from there. We were playing both brilliant snooker today so even if we had lost there would be nothing to be ashamed of.

“We both beat Neil today but lost a frame against Vinnie, so I think there’s something mystic about snooker matches. When you try something unlikely it will happen easily. This tournament has been a fantastic opportunity for Yan and I as the format gives us a better chance against top teams in the world, so we are feeling confident right now.”

Yan added: “The first frame was so important and I surprised myself. I was under a lot of pressure because I was playing against a very strong opponent, any mistake could have cost me the frame. Hopefully we can be the last team standing as we are the only Chinese team left in the tournament.”

Pankaj Advani

Pankaj Advani hopes India can keep their fine run going