Welsh Open 2011: Day Two News

Photo by @markking147

Day two from Newport saw the race for the top 16 become a lot clearer as both Marco Fu and Stuart Bingham exited the tournament at the first hurdle. Indeed it has so far been a day for the top seeds, all four winning so far…

Welsh Open 2011 – Day Two Results:

Mark Williams 4-0 Marco Fu
Mark Allen 4-1 Rod Lawler
Mark Selby 4-3 Stuart Bingham
Peter Ebdon 4-2 Dominic Dale
Neil Robertson 4-2 Nigel Bond
Graeme Dott 4-1 Jamie Burnett

The closest match of the day so far saw recent Berlin finalist Mark Selby edge out Stuart Bingham in a high quality last 32 match to dash Bingham’s hopes of a place in the top 16 ahead of the China Open and World Championship.

It was Selby who made the stronger start, a break of 95 putting him one up before he countered a 64 from Stuart with 74 of his own in frame two to double his advantage. Impressively however, Stuart put this set-back behind him by taking a scrappy third frame before breaks of 37 and 22 drew him level a 2-2.

From there the next two frames were shared, Mark with 96 before Stuart forced a decider with a run of 77. In frame seven it was Bingham who made the early running, a break of 52 putting him in front but it was to be Selby who had the last laugh, a 52 of his own sealing his place in the last 16 where he will meet Mark King, another player needing a run to book his place at the Crucible and of course recently ended Selby’s Masters defence at Wembley.

It remains to be seen whether King will break back into the top 16 but he was certainly helped by Marco Fu’s defeat to the excellent Mark Williams today. Indeed Marco did not even win a single frame, Mark taking a scrappy first before moving through the gears with breaks of 51, 100 and finally 120 to secure a 4-0 win and leave Marco sweating on other results.

Elsewhere, Mark Allen as expected came through against Rod Lawler without too much trouble, breaks of 57, 84, 59 and 58 helping him to a 4-1 win, while Peter Ebdon came through against local favourite Dominic Dale with a top break of 115. Dale does at least have the consolation of a break of 139 in frame two.

In the evening matches, Neil Robertson produced an impressive comeback to deny the in-form Nigel Bond and avoid another upset following his last 32 defeat to Anthony Hamilton in Berlin. It was Bond who started much the better, sinking three or four excellent long balls on his way to a 2-0 lead but it was to be the third frame that would prove pivotal in this match.

After both had chances, Nigel found himself in with a chance to clear and with superb pots on blue and pink, was faced with a tricky black to the right-centre. Having just potted the pink to the same pocket, he felt that he had to take it on and unfortunately for him it just saw the far jaw and hung over the pocket for the world champion to knock in.

From there it was almost like watching a different match as Neil took control, breaks of 81, 130 and finally 61 seeing him through the next few frames and to a 4-2 victory.

In the next round Neil will face Graeme Dott in a repeat of their 2010 world final following the Scot’s hard-fought 4-1 win against countryman Jamie Burnett. By all accounts Jamie certainly had his chances but eventually it was Graeme who took the fifth frame on a re-spotted black to progress.