Welsh Open 2010: Day Two News

After a slightly dull opening day at the Newport Centre, day two has been much improved as Welshman Matthew Stevens has given the home crowd something to shout about…

Matthew Stevens has experienced a lean few seasons and has struggled against the top players during that time but today he gained some measure of revenge against the player who denied him the 2005 World Championship by recording an excellent 3-0 victory. Having seen his early 2-0 lead erased by Murphy you could have been forgiven for thinking that normal service may have been resumed by Murphy but Matthew hung in there and eventually took the decider with a cool 75 break, having already seen Shaun make 51. He will have to win a lot more matches yet to move back into the 16 provisionally but this win does move him up a place to 19th in the latest list.

Shaun Murphy meanwhile slips down to number six having been overtaken by Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire, the latter having withstood a brave attempt at a comeback from Dominic Dale this evening. I did not see most of the match but having forced a decider from 4-1 down it was Dominic who was in command for much of the frame and had a gilt-edged chance to pot the final brown for victory. Rather than play it slowly however he put a bit of pace into it, missed it and an emotional Maguire cleared to take a win that obviously meant a lot to him. He will now take on Peter Ebdon’s conqueror Barry Hawkins in the last 16.

No such drama for Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Allen and Mark King however as the trio progressed comfortably this afternoon. None of the trio managed to record a century break but nevertheless dominated and lost just four frames between them.

In the evening session Stephen Hendry at the time of writing leads Dave Harold 3-0 having played almost flawless snooker so far. He opened with a break of 84 before adding runs of 113 and 64 to put himself in an excellent position. He is far from over the line but I have to say that he looks to be focused and determined to put on a show in this match.

Over on table two however Ryan Day is struggling against the ever-popular Tony Drago, trailing 3-1 at the break. The winners of these two matches will meet in the next round so there is a lot to play for…