A dramatic day so far in Wales as home duo Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens came through this afternoon, the latter following a tough tussle with Ryan Day…
Welsh Open 2011 – Day Four Results:
Mark Williams 4-0 Jamie Cope
Matthew Stevens 4-3 Ryan Day
Ali Carter 4-1 Peter Ebdon
Ding Junhui 4-3 Mark Allen
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Stephen Hendry
Neil Robertson 1-4 Graeme Dott
An eventful day in Newport began with relatively comfortable wins for Mark Williams and Ali Carter in the opening matches, the former in particular continuing his recent streak following his success in Berlin.
Williams did not score as heavily as he has recently – a second frame break of 108 aside – but never really looked troubled and came through without the loss of a frame to keep the pressure on John Higgins at the top of the rankings. Ali meanwhile did not score particularly heavily either, but breaks of 74 and 64 were more than enough against an opponent who following the match bemoaned the slowness of the table. A winner in 2009 and a finalist the following year, can Carter keep his Newport love affair going for a third year?
He will have to beat Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals if so after the Masters champion came back from 3-1 down to edge out Mark Allen in one of the later matches. The key frame was probably the fifth as Ding won it with two smaller breaks to keep himself in the match before runs of 81 and 79 eased him into the quarters. Another good result for him but Mark will be disappointed, his wait for that maiden title goes on.
Elsewhere, Matthew Stevens won the battle of the Welshman 4-3 against Ryan Day to keep his hopes of a top 16 place alive. It was a good fightback from Ryan to level the match at 3-3 having trailed 4-1, but he could not take his chance in the decider, Stevens eventually potting the final green to set up the match-winning clearance. An important win for Matthew, he must now win two further matches if he is to secure an automatic place at the Crucible. John Higgins next though, tough ask…
In the evening session, Stephen Maguire had too much for fellow Scot Stephen Hendry, despite a fabulous 147 break in the opening frame from the seven-times world champion. From there however as if so often the case with Hendry these days, a few poor misses in the second frame seemed to drain him of his confidence and he looked more like the player that faltered against Mark Williams in Telford than the man we had seen in the first frame. A good win for Maguire though, he will test Williams in the next round.
Finally Graeme Dott gained a small measure of revenge against Neil Robertson with a 4-1 win tonight to move ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan in the rankings. Interestingly for Neil though, this now means that O’Sullivan, as well as John Higgins and Mark Williams will be in the opposite half at the Crucible which will probably suit him just fine…