Wednesday 2 March 2022

UK Open preview 6/8

(54) Ron Meulenkamp v (89) Danny Baggish/(102) John Michael

Interesting round two tie here, Baggish is pretty consistent at finishing off within six visits, while Michael's a bit more up and down and you never know if he's going to go 11-12-13 or have a four leg spell where he averages 75. Projection's giving Michael the edge as a result but I think that's an inaccurate call for reasons described and this could go either way. Would be nice to see Danny get through to play Ron, Meulenkamp projects a bit more than 60/40 against Baggish, which is a couple of points more than John does, but it seems like a bit more of a reliable stat, will be still somewhat open given Ron's a little bit off his peak where he was very close to getting into the "tricky" majors, if he didn't actually get into them.

(55) Martin Schindler/(61) Lewy Williams v (62) Jeff Smith

Really interesting bit of the draw as we've got three players ranked very close to each other. Round two's between Williams, who is looking better and better as he continues to gain senior experience, and Schindler, who has continued where he left off at the start of 2022 and despite Lewy getting stronger and stronger, and looking the better of the two players who played in Riesa, doesn't project brilliantly against Martin with a 35% shot, which might be slightly unfair but Martin is still at a top 32 sort of level. If anything, Jeff is the weakest of the lot of these, maybe lacking a little bit in scoring but still extremely solid and won't give much away. I originally thought it was Schindler that got through to round 3 straight off, but it's actually Smith, as the lowest ranked player, who has. Smith rates about 25% against Schindler and 40% against Lewy.

(57) Rowby John Rodriguez/(70) Bradley Brooks v (58) Ryan Meikle/(84) Gordon Mathers

Tough section of the draw as we've got four players with a first round bye who are all solidly ranked in the FRH rankings. Rowby's the pick in terms of that just ahead of Meikle, and I think it's probably these two who advance. Brooks has had a good start to 2022, picking up a Development Tour title and not playing that badly on the main tour, but Rowby's that little bit better, which should project to around a two in three chance, maybe 70/30. Meikle is one who's been threatening to make a breakthrough performance for some time, and is very close to Rowby in the Pro Tour averages this year, and it's far too close to call on year long projections, Rowby having an edge but only by one or two percent, it's that tight. Ryan would need to get past Mathers though, the Australian looking to get money banked to try to retain his card after getting some help via the worlds backdoor, he's got a shot somewhere between one in three and 40% of getting into the money, but his scoring in the Pro Tour is more down at Bradley's level, so the two matches kind of rate to play out the same way.

(59) Boris Krcmar v (156) Zoran Lerchbacher/(187) Ricardo Pietreczko or (190) Scott Taylor

Bit of a European feel to this one, opening game is between Scott Taylor, who's back as a Riley's qualifier where he has made it all the way to round four from before, he comes up against Ricardo who was a bit of a surprise name to claim a card, but he did and in the limited stats we have is scoring kind of the same as Scott is. Maybe Taylor's experience pays off here and gets him into a game with Lerchbacher, who got his card back on points a year ago but hasn't done a great deal with it yet and the scoring doesn't look much better than either of the first round players, so maybe an opportunity here, although I get the feeling it's another game that could go either way. The third round not so much however, Krcmar has got to a Pro Tour semi already this year and is actually averaging higher there than Joe Cullen is, who's won two of them. Ought to easily take a game with Zoran three times out of four, this might be one of the easiest third round ties to call - if he doesn't fluff his lines.

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