Phil Haigh ✍️
Ryan Day joked that he would be happy to concede the British Open final to Mark Allen before it starts after their respective semi-final performances.
Day and Allen meet in the showpiece in Milton Keynes on Sunday in an unlikely final which will see the winner walk away with £100,000.
The FA Cup-style random draw, along with some below par performances from big names, has helped put together a final that was very difficult to predict, but the form of the two men suggests Sunday’s match will be easier to forecast.
The Pistol has been superb this week, beating Li Hang, Gary Wilson, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Noppon Saengkham to make it to the final.
He has been excellent throughout, but was especially brilliant against Noppon on Saturday, brushing aside the Thai 6-1, with breaks of 69, 76, 133, 69, 56 and 64 along the way.
In contrast, Day struggled to a 6-5 win over Robbie Williams on Saturday night, a long way from his bests and the Welshman is well aware who is playing better going into the final.
‘To be honest if I could concede the match now I would,’ Day said on ITV4. ‘I’d go home, play golf in the morning and watch the Manchester derby with a couple of beers.’
Day has won three ranking titles over his career, but ranked at 27 in the world, big semi-finals do not come around very often and the pressure told on Saturday.
‘It’s a shame that neither myself nor Robbie played well,’ he said. ‘You kind of get a bit embarrassed by the way you’re playing, everything gets on top of you.
‘All you can do is stick in, all you’ve got is the game you’ve got at that time. Luckily for me I got a couple more chances and managed to get over the line.
‘It was a massive game. It shows the importance of these big events for players who are not at the top of the game. We’re not all multimillionaires like footballers and whatnot, the money’s important and I think you saw that tonight.
‘I was missing balls all night. It was just embarrassing. I was just fighting. I didn’t have an A, B, C, D game even. But all you can do is fight, that’s all I did and luckily I got through.’
Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry saw that Day was downbeat despite victory over Williams, but he will perk up by the time the final starts at 1pm on Sunday.
‘He’ll realise in a wee while that he’s in a major ranking final and that will lift him,’ Hendry said on Saturday night. ‘At the minute he’s a bit embarrassed about how he played.
‘He can go and relax and enjoy the final because no one expects him to win, at all. Maybe that will release him and let him play the snooker that he can.’
Allen’s win could scarcely have been more different to Day’s and the Northern Irishman is buoyant after coming through a really tough draw to the final and especially the sparkling display against Noppon.
‘I’m delighted with the way I played, I was pretty much flawless for the first four frames,’ he said. After that I kept making it tough for him and didn’t give him easy chances. I think I only missed one ball.
‘I remember playing John Higgins in the (2013) World Open semi-finals, it was 2-2 at the interval and he didn’t pot a ball in the next four frames. That’s pretty much how it was today, it was nearly the perfect performance.’
The Pistol will hope to shoot down Day over a best of 19 frames and two sessions at 1pm and 7pm on ITV4. The winner pockets £100,000 with the runner-up taking £45,000.
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