Today sees 14 of the 16 last 48 matches take place at the Welsh Open and so far it has been a good day for players called Davis with both Mark and Steve through to the venue. Click below for more and all of the important rankings implications…
- Click here to view the updated Welsh Open drawsheet
- Click here to view the latest projected seedings
First man through in the afternoon session was Ireland’s Ken Doherty who rubber-stamped his immediate return to the top 32 at the next seedings revision with a 4-2 victory against Jamie Cope today in Sheffield. Moving two clear in under half an hour, Doherty was well placed from an early stage and as the next four frames were shared, did enough to book a tie with Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen at the venue, a player with whom relations have not always been the best.
Soon to join him there was seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry who without being at his best, emerged a comfortable 4-0 winner against Kurt Maflin. Having dropped the opener, Norway’s number one had a number of chances in the second frame but was unable to take advantage and from there the result rarely looked to be in doubt. Hendry will now meet 2010 world champion Neil Robertson in Newport.
Marco Fu continued his improved run of results recently with a 4-2 victory against Matt Selt, though at one stage it looked as if it might be a more straight-forward afternoon as he lead 2-0 and one pot away from a 3-0 lead in the next frame. To hid credit Selt fought back well to draw level at 2-2, but Marco was not to be denied and now moves on to a clash with German Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan at the venue.
In the other two matches of the session, Andy Hicks came through a 4-2 winner against Joe Perry to reach the last 32 of a full-ranking event for the first time since the 2008 Shanghai Masters, while Mark King recorded a 4-1 win against Dave Harold to book his place in Newport.
Having lost out to Ricky Walden in a deciding frame at the semi-finals of the PTC6 event in Poland earlier in the season, six-time world champion Steve Davis turned the tables today to reach that last 32 at the Welsh Open for the first time since 2009. Having taken a scrappy opener, Steve was to then fall 2-1 behind, before fighting back with a top break of 113 to force a decider which would eventually go his way.
Through to the venue and moving up one place to 39th in my latest projected seedings list, Steve continues to quietly impress this season after a disappointing 2010/11 and will now meet Ali Carter in Newport.
For Walden the result ends his hopes of climbing back into the world’s top 16 at the seedings cut-off for the World Championship and means that he will have to qualify if he is to make it back to the Crucible for a third time.
Still in with an outside chance of a place inside the top 16 however is Steve’s namesake, Mark Davis, who recorded a 4-2 victory against Jamie Burnett today to qualify for his fifth venue from six attempts this season as a qualifier so far. To stand any chance however, Mark will require a run to at least the quarter-finals and will begin with a match against Ding Junhui in Newport.
Elsewhere, Liang Wenbo followed up his victory against David Gilbert yesterday with a 4-1 victory against Rory McLeod this morning to qualify for his first venue since the Shanghai Masters. The result also confirms that Rory can now finish no higher than 33rd place at the next seedings revision, meaning that he must win two matches if he is to make it back to the Crucible.
There were also wins for Tom Ford and Mark Joyce, both coming through deciders against Ian McCulloch and Andrew Higginsion respectively. For Tom the win consolidates his position inside the top 32 while Mark, through to his first venue since the UK Championship last season, now requires one more win against Shaun Murphy at the venue to oust Jimmy White from the top 48.