Day two from Bendigo as local hero Neil Robertson began his campaign against Nigel Bond with a victory. There was a shock in store for world champion John Higgins however as he slipped to an early defeat to Matt Selt…
John Higgins might have been nigh on unbeatable last season but qualifier Matt Selt upset the odds today with by claiming a 5-4 victory, his first at this stage of a full ranking event.
Early on from the livescores it looked as though it would be business as usual for Scotland’s Higgins as having dropped the opening frame he took the next four to leave himself needing just one more for another last 32 win. It was not to be however as Matt got himself back into the match at 4-4 before winning a tactical decider to claim arguably the biggest win of his career to date.
Can he go further? Judging by his post-match interview he is certainly full of confidence and will next meet Stephen Hendry in the next round, the man who defeated him a couple of years ago at the Grand Prix in Glasgow. It is a strange quirk that after tomorrow Matt will have played four ranking matches at venues, two against Higgins and two against Hendry!
There was however to be no upset in store for the Australia’s finest, Neil Robertson as the Thunder from Down Under eased past Nigel Bond a 5-2 winner. No doubt Neil will have been a little more nervous than usual heading into his first ranking match in Australia and will be pleased to get it out of the way. Next up for him will be Dominic Dale after the Welshman saw off another Aussie in the form of Steve Mifsud.
Other seeds to progress were Mark Allen and Shaun Murphy, the latter already unusually competing in the last 16 before many players had played their last 32 matches. Always a formidable player in the overseas events and well acclimatised to the conditions in Australia, I suspect that Shaun could be one to keep an eye on this week…
There was however to be an upset in store for Ali Carter who after losing 5-3 to Scot Marcus Campbell remarked that his heart was not really in it and that he is looking forward to getting home after a few weeks away now having competed in the Wuxi Classic and World Cup events. There has been a bit of a debate on Twitter as to whether this is a good or bad attitude to have but personally I can understand his point of view. Add in the fact that he has not been at 100% physically recently and I wouldn’t hold it against him.
Take nothing away from Marcus though, he played well, indeed he has been playing well for some time now and he now moves on to a clash with Northern Ireland’s Allen.
Shaun Murphy 5-1 Rory McLeod
Dominic Dale 5-2 Steve Mifsud
Ali Carter 3-5 Marcus Campbell
John Higgins 4-5 Matt Selt
Mark Allen 5-3 Ryan Day
Neil Robertson 5-2 Nigel Bond