Alexander Ursenbacher won all three of his group matches while Ali Carter was undefeated, taking 7 points from a possible 9, as both players advanced to Stage Two of BetVictor Championship League Snooker at Morningside Arena, Leicester.
With soaring temperatures across the country, the dress code was relaxed to allow players the option to either ditch their ties, or wear polo shirts. But neither Carter nor Ursenbacher were made to sweat at the table; both players had won their groups with a game to spare thanks to early wins combined with favourable results elsewhere.
Carter faced former Shoot Out winner Michael Georgiou in the first match of the day, and the match could have gone either way Carter called a foul on himself in the second, which start off a frame-winning break of 88 for the Cypriot. However, Carter took the next two to win the match and then relaxed in the players’ room as Dominic Dale drew 2-2 with Sydney Wilson and then Georgiou.
That meant a win for the Captain against Wilson would see him top the group, and the Essex man made no mistake as he registered a 3-0 success before later drawing 2-2 with Dale, who finished third with three draws.
Ursenbacher didn’t drop a frame in winning Group 23, registering 3-0 wins over Aaron Hill, Leo Fernandez and finally Scott Donaldson at a stage where the 25-year-old Swiss potter had already guaranteed himself top spot.
“I didn’t expect it,” he admitted. “I felt really good and I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. Last season I struggled with the table at Championship League but they were lovely today. It was very hot, I struggle with the heat most tournaments anyway, but being able to wear a polo shirt made it easier.
“I’m not trying to set myself too many goals or expect too much but I will keep focused, have the right people around me and prepare well for the tournaments. I haven’t played much over the summer because it is important to relax sometimes and not think about snooker too much because it is a brutal sport, especially mentally.”
Fernandez finished second in the group and takes home £2,000 after a 3-0 win in the final group match against Aaron Hill, who finished third and collected £1,000.
BetVictor Championship League Snooker continues on Tuesday when Ronnie O’Sullivan enters the tournament in Group 32.
Coverage of Table 1 begins at 12 noon (UK time) and is live on FreeSports (UK), DAZN, Zhibo.tv (China) and Viaplay, with Table 2 live globally at Matchroom.Live. Full broadcast details can be found at https://championshipleaguesnooker.co.uk/watch/