Welsh Open 2011: Day Three News

Photo by @markking147

Welsh Open 2011 – Day Three Results:

Stephen Hendry 4-0 Joe Perry
Shaun Murphy 0-4 Matthew Stevens
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Gerard Greene
John Higgins 4-1 Dave Harold (Last 16)
Ronnie O’Sullivan 2-4 Ryan Day
Mark Selby 4-2 Mark King

Today began with two very impressive performances from Stephen Hendry and Matthew Stevens as the pair whitewashed Joe Perry and Shaun Murphy respectively.

Coming into the match on the back of an improved run in Berlin, Hendry opened with breaks of 61 and 57 in the first frame before taking a scrappy second on the colours with yellow and green. Another tight frame was to go the Scot’s way after that before he wrapped up the match in one-visit with a break of 78. A good win over another player returning to form, Stephen’s position inside the top 16 is that little bit safer tonight and he will be hoping to bank some further points with a win over Stephen Maguire in the next round.

One of the men chasing his top 16 place meanwhile is Matthew Stevens who produced an excellent performance to become just the second qualifier so far to make it through to the last 16 with a 4-0 win over Shaun Murphy. The highlight was a break of 133 in the second frame and the result means that dependant on Mark King’s performances, a run to the final could be enough to secure him a place inside the top 16 for the first time since the 2006/7 season.

Elsewhere, Stephen Maguire defeated Gerard Greene this afternoon to maintain his consistent accumulation of ranking points while John Higgins became the first man through to the quarter-finals with an excellent 4-1 win against Dave Harold. By all accounts John was much improved from his first round match and will no doubt be one to watch as the week progresses…

Onto the evening matches and another excellent result for a Welshman as Ryan Day followed up his excellent qualifying win against Jimmy White with a 4-2 victory against Ronnie O’Sullivan. As against Jimmy White, Ryan scored heavily from the off, two century breaks putting him 2-0 ahead before O’Sullivan got one back with 100 of his own.

The third frame saw O’Sullivan, last a winner here back in 2005, give away several points in fouls before a solid break from Ryan got to the table to move 3-1 ahead.

From there however, Ryan just began to wobble with the winning line in sight, O’Sullivan reducing his arrears to 3-2 and having several chances in the next. If truth be told however, Ronnie looked out of sorts almost from the off and like against Mark Allen at the Masters, could not raise his game and seize the initiative.

Ryan now moves on to a last 16 clash with Matthew Stevens, the two remaining players who with a run to the final can sneak into the top 16 places ahead of the Crucible. With both players in top form so far this week it will be very interesting to see how that pans out.

For O’Sullivan meanwhile, he will now definitely be seeded no higher than ninth in Sheffield, potentially finding himself in the top quarter with defending champion Neil Robertson. Following three first round defeats in major tournaments, he will need to find some form from somewhere soon…

Finally, Mark Selby came through against Mark King in just over three hours to end King’s chances of a place in the top 16 ahead of the cut-off.