x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Hendry finds form at key time

The Bahrain Championship was looking to lose its shine without the big name stars, until the masterful Stephen Hendry found his form.

MANAMA // Every sports tournament needs its stars to shine to satisfy sponsors and fans alike. This Bahrain Championship here at the International Exhibition Centre is no exception to that rule. However, it did not get off to the most auspicious of starts, losing four big names - John Higgins, Steve Davis, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby - to Barry Hearn's Premier League and the sport's biggest name, Ronnie O'Sullivan, to "illness" before a ball had been potted in anger.

So it has come with some relief, for the organizers World Snooker and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, the president of the Bahrain Billiards and Snooker Association, that the seven-time world champion, Stephen Hendry, has found his form at just the right time. Yesterday, he thrashed Barry Pinches 5-1 to reach the quarter-finals. It is the first time this season that the Scot has won two matches in a row, and if he continues this form there is no reason why he won't win five in a row to take home the £48,000 (Dh268,000) first prize on offer.

Hendry agreed it was disappointing not all the best players are here, adding: "If you want the game to grow in other parts of the world then you need your top players to support it. I am a different animal to Ronnie. I want to take part and to win as many tournaments as I possibly can but Ronnie just plays when he feels like it. But I bet he will be at the UK Championship (next month) trying to win that."

Of the match itself, Hendry added: "It's great to start getting my confidence back. It's always nice to play well and that breeds confidence." Hendry's quarter-final opponent today Robert Milkins came from four frames down to beat Michael Holt 5-4. @Email:cwhebell@thenational.ae