After his revival of 2009/10 it has been a tough 12 months or so for 1997 world champion Ken Doherty but today he recorded his best win in some time as he overcome Scotland’s Stephen Maguire 5-2 in one of the day’s opening matches. Click for more on that and the day’s other action…
First man through to the last 16 today was Ireland’s Ken Doherty as he consigned Stephen Maguire to a second successive last 32 defeat at a major ranking tournament with a 5-2 win. Following his below-par performances at the World Cup in Thailand last week I had not expected a great deal from Ken at this tournament but clearly enjoying playing on the faster tables of Australia he proved me wrong this time around. Stephen meanwhile has not been the same player since the birth of his latest child earlier this season though hopefully his best form will return sooner rather than later.
Next up for Ken will be an interesting tie with China’s Liang Wenbo, the man who put the Irishman out of the top 16 back in 2008 and last week was the man that Doherty wanted to be docked a frame at the World Cup due to not wearing his bow tie. That aside Liang has been another player to have struggled in recent times, indeed with the exception of the PTC he did not win a match in ranking event competition during all of the 2010/11 season.
Today’s 5-4 win against Matthew Stevens with top breaks of 120 and 111 will have certainly given his confidence a boost therefore and it will be interesting to see whether he can kick in from here. For Matthew on the other hand it is a disappointing result and he will have to be careful with his top 16 status already in jeopardy heading into the first cut-off.
Elsewhere there was another excellent win for Matt Selt who despite not playing to his best level comfortably saw off seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry to reach his first quarter-final. Up another five places in my projected seedings list as a result Matt will be hoping to climb even further and will meet another world champion in the last eight, this time Shaun Murphy.
Another Crucible king to make it through was Mark Williams, though it was not without a scrap as having got underway at 3am UK time, when I had got up for work at 7:30am I was slightly confused to see that the scoreline stood only at 3-1 as he took on Norwich’s Barry Pinches!
Meanwhile there was a real turnaround for Mark Selby as the Leicester pro came back from 3-0 down to defeat Joe Perry and keep his bid for a second ranking title alive, while Stuart Bingham avenged his defeat against Ding Junhui at the Crucible with a 5-2 success today against the Chinese number one.
Mark Williams 5-2 Barry Pinches
Ken Doherty 4-2 Stephen Maguire
Mark Selby 5-3 Joe Perry
Liang Wenbo 5-4 Matthew Stevens
Matt Selt 5-1 Stephen Hendry
Stuart Bingham 5-2 Ding Junhui