Welsh Open 2010: Ford Motors On

Tom Ford is through to his second straight venue stage following an excellent win over top 16 hopeful Ricky Walden today. Click below to find out who joined him…

Please click here to view the updated draw. Provisional rankings will be updated tomorrow (Saturday).

Today’s last 48 clash between Ricky Walden and Leicester’s Tom Ford promised much and certainly delivered as the two traded frames throughout the afternoon. From the start it was Ricky who was always able to edge ahead but Tom managed to stay in touch until at 4-3 down he was able to take a couple of scrappy frames in a row to secure an important victory.  After a tricky past couple of years Tom has been able to string together some very impressive wins recently and will be hoping to push on back into the top 48 at the end of the campaign.

Hoping for even better will be Mark Davis who also came through a nervy deciding frame to see off 2009 Welsh Open finalist Joe Swail earlier on today and keep his hopes of a top 32 spot at the end of the season very much alive. The same applies for Judd Trump who after a slow start reeled off the final three frames to see off an ever-determined Rory McLeod. Having lost to a similar player in Marcus Campbell twice already this season I wondered whether McLeod might be another immovable object but young Trump fought well and booked his place at Newport.

The day’s other deciding frame winner was Fergal O’Brien who saw off the challenge posed by Li Hang to win his first ranking event match since his victory over Ricky Walden in last year’s Welsh Open qualifiers. Fergal has been very unlucky at times this season to run into an inspired opponent despite being in good form himself and I am pleased to see his good performances finally result in a well earned win.

The shock of the day meanwhile was arguably caused by Fergal’s countryman Michael Judge who saw off the much-fancied Liang Wenbo to book his place at Newport. It has been a poor week for Liang as he also struggled during the Championship League and was eliminated as a result. Hopefully he will be able to shine again out in Beijing where I imagine his China Open qualifier will take place. Not to take anything away from Michael however, this is an excellent result for the Irishman.

Another stranger to venues recently has been Tony Drago but I am pleased to say that the former ranking event finalist has made it to Newport from the first round with a 5-2 victory over Gerard Greene today. It is obvious from watching him and from reading his post-match quotes that the Tornado is really enjoying his snooker at the moment and it will be great to see him on the big stage once again.

For the day’s results in full, please click here to visit Global Snooker.