Australian Goldfields Open 2013: Day One Wrap

Day one of the 2013 Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo saw victories for local favourite Neil Robertson, as well as former champions Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins in the early hours. Click below for a round-up of the action…

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The day began at 1am UK time, 10am local time with the two wildcard matches involving Mike Dunn and Welsh youngster Michael White.

For White the match proved to be straightforward, a second frame break of 122 the highlight of a five-star performance, while Dunn had to win the last two to overcome Steve Mifsud 5-4 to ensure safe passage into the last 32. Strangely enough, this was the first time that the two had met since the 1993 International Open, when it was Mifsud who came through a decider.

Turning to the first round proper, Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins both came into the tournament below their best physically, but won comfortably today to progress to the second round. Neil, having found his practice restricted by illness in recent days, recovered from the loss of the opening frame against Scotland’s Marcus Campbell to win 5-1, while Hawkins belied a cold to overcome Crucible star Dechawat Poomjaeng to progress.

Next up for the defending champion will be Leicester’s Tom Ford, after the two-time PTC event winner hit a top break of 128 in beating former world number six Ryan Day.

Robertson meanwhile will face Jamie Cope, who continued his quietly impressive start to the new season with a 5-4 victory against Martin Gould. A high quality affair in which the players were never separated by more than a frame, it was Gould who hit breaks of 135 and 64 on his way to a 4-3 lead, before leading by 38 points in the next, only for Cope to finish strongly with breaks of 73 and 96 to clinch victory.

It has been a tough time for Cope, who has slipped out of the top 32 following his struggles with a hereditary tremor, but with four wins already this season, as many as he had managed in the six months previously.

While Gould lost out, there was more success for another Sight Right player in the form of 2011 Australian Goldfields Open champion Stuart Bingham, who made short work of Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham. It is a big week for Sight Right and creator Steve Feeney, as ‘Team Sight Right’ launch their new cue and associated website, which you can read about here

Finally, the shock of the day came from Zhang Anda, who defeated former Welsh Open finalist Andrew Higginson to reach the last 16, while the tournament suffered a blow with the news that Ding Junhui has had to withdraw from the event, apparently due to passport issues.

Dave Hendon said only yesterday on his blog that viewing figures in China are likely to be key to the survival of this event, so Ding’s absence is another hammer blow to a tournament already suffering from the lack of live coverage here on Eurosport.

The action continues tomorrow…