Australian Goldfields Open 2012: Lee Comeback, Walden Out

With eight matches played, day one in Australia proved to be a busy affair, with three matches requiring a deciding frame in order to settle them. Click below for a round-up from Bendigo…

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Trailing 3-0 to qualifier Rory McLeod early on today, it appeared as though Stephen Lee was set for his second early exit in as many ranking event tournaments this season, but with a top break of 105 he was able to turn the match around, eventually winning in a deciding frame.

Rory had his chances, a missed yellow when stretching at 3-2 allowing Lee to the table to draw level, while a missed pink to right-centre in the decider proved to be his last real chance as from there, Lee was able to lay a couple of snookers from which Rory would struggle to escape.

Next up for Stephen will be Jamie Cope, after the Shotgun edged a close match with Wuxi Classic champion Ricky Walden, breaks of 103, 93 and 73 enough to book his place in the last 16. Having struggled to find his best form for a number of seasons, with runs to the last 16 both in Wuxi and now here, are these results a sign that Jamie is back on the right track?

Another hoping to rediscover his form of a two or three years ago is Ryan Day, who having fallen from a career high ranking of number six, came close to losing his place inside the top 16 last season. Today however, he won a thrilling encounter with Andrew Higginson, recovering from 59-0 down to snatch the final frame on the black ball. Having been seeded for both full-ranking event tournaments so far this season following the non-entry of various top 16 players, Andrew has failed to take advantage, losing in the last 32 stage both here and Wuxi.

One seed who had no such trouble today though was home favourite Neil Robertson, who wasted little time in establishing a 4-0 interval lead with breaks of 135, 81, 92 and 113. Having looked rusty in his Wuxi Classic defeat to Jamie Burnett, today Neil looked razor sharp today and will enter his last 16 match with either Mark Davis or Jack Lisowski as the firm favourite.

Elsewhere, the day began with comfortable victories for both Alan McManus and Cao Yupeng in the wildcard matches, while Tom Ford and Matthew Stevens were able to come through tricky ties with Dominic Dale and Liang Wenbo respectively.