World Open 2010: Big Guns Avoid Shocks

Stephen Hendry has struggled for any sort of form over the past couple of years but he comfortably saw off Bjorn Haneveer today to book his place in the last 32. Joining him will be Mark Williams and Ding Junhui who also saw off lower ranked opposition to progress…

Bjorn may have recorded a comfortable victory against Stephen over in Germany during the recent EPTC2 event but it is amazing what a difference the television cameras can make for players not used to playing in front of them such as Bjorn as he struggled to settle today.

From the start Stephen looked to be quite sharp, a couple of unfortunate positional shots aside which gave Bjorn a chance to get on the scoreboard. He could not take advantage however, a missed red with the rest proving to be his undoing as the seven-times world champion took a 1-0 lead.

The second frame however proved to be the pivotal one as despite having several opportunities to level the match, much like Stuart Pettman yesterday he could not take them and saw Hendry move 2-0 ahead after a long battle. Although he did struggle, a missed brown in particular being a moment that he will not look back on too fondly, he was not helped by the decision of referee Eirian Williams not to award a free ball at one point which could have made a difference. That said, Bjorn could have questioned the decision himself, much as Shaun Murphy did yesterday during his defeat to Dave Harold and had the decision reversed.

The final frame ultimately came down to an early snooker by Hendry which saw him amass a 32 point lead before a break of 76 confirmed his place in the last 32.

Overall Stephen looked quite solid, but Mark Davis in the next round will prove a far harder test I suspect and could see an upset. Bjorn will be disappointed not to have reproduced his form from the EISS but the ranking points from this event will at least help his bid to stay inside the top 64.

In the other two matches meanwhile, Mark Williams and Ding Junhui also avoided falling to lower ranked opposition in the shape of Igor Figueiredo and Adrian Gunnell respectively, moving through as 3-0 winners.

I did not see a great deal of Ding’s match but Mark did look to be in the groove, a break of 80 giving him the opening frame in no time at all before he finished it off with 96 in the third. Igor in truth was almost completely shut out but will nevertheless have learned something from playing a match at a venue such as this, despite the fact that it was from his point of view, all too brief!