Wembley Masters Qualifying: Last 32 News

Click below for updates as the last 32 stage of the Masters qualifiers gets underway with some shock results…

Morning Matches:

A couple of real shocks this morning as Mark Williams and Liang Wenbo were dumped out of the event by their much lower ranked opponents.

Williams (pictured), a twice winner of the Masters event at Wembley and a former winner of the qualifying event back in 1994, was in action at the EIS for the first time in his career and just never got going against opponent Andrew Higginson. The world number 38 did play well though as he knocked in a 91 break in the opening frame before adding 72, 56, 60, 44 and a final 65 to finish off the match. Though Williams won a frame, he had no real response and will have to rely on being awarded the wildcard spot if he is to make it back to Wembley again.

Higginson will now meet Gerard Greene in the next round after he recorded a straightforward 5-1 win over Simon Bedford this morning. With three breaks over 70, it was a very good performance from Gerard and it should be a close match with Higginson.

As mentioned though, the other big shock involved China’s Liang Wenbo who lost a thriller 5-4 to 18-year-old Daniel Wells today. It was a cracking match as Liang started well to go 2-0 up before Wells turned it around and led 3-2. Liang got back into it and forced a decider with a 73 in frame eight, but lost in a scrappy decider to end his run. This is a second very impressive win for Daniel this week and it might just be that this is the tournament that really puts him on the map and gives him the confidence to push on in the ranking events.

Hopefully he can continue to shine in his next match when he plays Fergal O’Brien who overcame Lewis Roberts 5-3 earlier. Lewis actually led 2-0 early on but Fergal turned it around and used all his experience to keep his campaign on track. A former Masters finalist of course, Fergal will be hoping to make it back to Wembley to have another crack at the trophy he came so close to winning against the late Paul Hunter.

Elsewhere this morning, Ricky Walden continued his good run with an impressive 5-1 win over Anthony Hamilton. The man from Nottingham started well enough by taking the opener but from then on Walden was too good, winning the next five frames and booking a clash with Bahrain finalist Matthew Stevens who defeated Rory McLeod in the final match of the session to finish, the scoreline eventually finishing up at 5-3 to the Welshman.

Gerard Greene 5-1 Simon Bedford 75(75)-30, 97(73)-6, 40-75, 78-6, 86(86)-0, 64-46
Mark Williams 1-5 Andrew Higginson 7-98(91), 8-128(56,72), 59(45)-7, 16-80(60), 21-65(44), 25-65(65)
Ricky Walden 5-1 Anthony Hamilton 25-68(42), 73(62)-1, 65(32,33)-14, 85(85)-0, 59(59)-7, 62(38)-18
Fergal O’Brien 5-3 Lewis Roberts 0-124(33,36), 36-69, 85(77)-17, 69(59)-14, 0-0, 18-69, 70-13, 63-24
Liang Wenbo 4-5 Daniel Wells 63-52(40), 73-43, 47(43)-81(64), 0-67(66), 21-97(70), 88(44)-28, 16-63(50), 75(74)-36, 9-63

Afternoon Matches:

The first man into the last 16 this afternoon was Martin Gould who comprehensively eased past Andrew Norman 5-1. Martin now awaits the winner of tonight’s match between Nigel Bond and Jin Long.

Soon to follow meanwhile was the Shotgun, Jamie Cope who had a 5-3 win over David Grace. Starting off well and going 2-0 up, it looked like it might be an easy afternoon for Jamie but his young opponent fought back well with breaks of 64 and 72 to level it. From there though Cope really showed his class, knocking century breaks of 100 and 124 to power to a 5-3 win.

Jamie will have to perform just as well in the last 16 when he faces Judd Trump who today defeated Cope’s fellow Stokie, Dave Harold. Indeed it was the high quality affair that most would have predicted, with a break of over 50 in every frame as they slugged it out for a spot in the next round. Judd looked to have enough of a lead at 4-1 but Dave hung in there with breaks of 60, 47 and 54 to get it back to 4-3. Trump steadied himself however and won it with another big break, this time of 71.

Not playing so well however was last season’s Masters qualifying winner Barry Hawkins who was battered 5-0 by world number 59 Mark Joyce. Having struggled in his first match, I expected Hawkins to sort himself out today but for whatever reason it just didn’t happen as Mark grew in confidence and finished him off with breaks of 62 and 68.

In the next round he will face last season’s PIOS number one Kuldesh Johal, who recorded a very good win over the experienced Joe Swail. Though Swail’s season has been a disaster so far, it is still an impressive win for Kuldesh whose own form has been mixed so far in his debut season. Having gone ahead early on, he held off a fightback from Swail who hit back with runs of 75 and 109 to level it at 3-3, to win the next two and secure a 5-3 win.

Jamie Cope 5-3 David Grace 113(40,49)-4, 73(73)-18, 35-69(64), 38(38)-78(72), 101(100)-22, 95(46)-9, 124(124)-0
Barry Hawkins 0-5 Mark Joyce 32(32)-84(34), 16-80(55), 5-80(31,32), 5-71(68), 35(35)-70(62)
Judd Trump 5-3 Dave Harold 8-76(60), 67(62)-20, 83(67)-32, 72(71)-7, 10-122(60,47), 5-63(54), 75(71)-36
Joe Swail 3-5 Kuldesh Johal 26-68(58), 85(57)-4, 41-80, 9-71(52), 79(75)-0, 109(109)-17, 30-67(36), 5-101(48,53)

Evening Matches:

Ken Doherty got his quest to qualify for the Masters underway with a brilliant comeback to defeat former IBSF world champion Atthasit Mahitthi 5-4 tonight.

Ken has really struggled so far this season and it looked like it was going to continue as Atthasit raced out of the blocks with breaks of 45, 96, 40 and 39 to lead 3-0. Doherty though never gives up and dug deep to fight back to 3-3 with runs of 55, 58 and 94 of his own, a great fightback given his recent form.

Breaks of 62 and 70 from Atthasit saw him move back ahead in frame seven but it was the next which was to be pivotal as both made 50 breaks with Ken eventually snatching it by just two points. Though he didn’t make a big break in the decider, he did enough to take it and secure a much needed confidence boost as well as a spot in the last 16 tomorrow. A winner of this qualifying event in 1991, if he can put a few good results together and go on a run here, he is a player that nobody would want to meet in the latter stages. A fantastic guy, it would be great if he could take heart from this and begin to perform in the ranking events too.

His next opponent will be Preston’s Ian McCulloch who beat Dave Gilbert 5-3 tonight. Though Gilbert made a brave comeback from 4-1 down, Ian finished off the win in brilliant style with a break of 118 to move into the next round.

Another player showing signs of a return to form this week is David Gray who having survived a scare of his own yesterday, won against tonight to move into the last 16. Defeating Robert Milkins 5-3, he will now play Basildon pro Stuart Bingham who also secured a good win tonight, 5-4 against Andy Hicks in an incredibly close match.

Information on the final match between Nigel Bond and Jin Long was sketchy, but in the end it went the way of Long as Nigel lost yet another match this season. It was close all the way through but taking the last two frames, it was Long who set up a match with Martin Gould tomorrow.

Ken Doherty 5-4 Atthasit Mahitthi 15-81(45), 0-96(96), 27-79(40,39), 82(58)-0, 67(55)-20, 94(94)-6, 0-138(62,70), 64(51)-62(53), 57-16
Nigel Bond 4-5 Jin Long 14-93(51), 68(56)-83, 19-61(51), 71-35, 76-69(69), 56-8, 72(60)-54, 19-58, 27-81(53)
Stuart Bingham 5-4 Andy Hicks 1-112(57,40), 0-1, 0-1, 67(50)-13, 62(49)-17, 92(91)-0, 73(61)-53(38), 0-79(79), 66(36)-8
Ian McCulloch 5-3 Dave Gilbert 75-0, 59(46)-23, 4-73(73), 58(54)-20, 85(85)-4, 38-61, 44-80(60), 118(118)-18
David Gray 5-3 Rob Milkins 65-39, 71(70)-21, 0-75(33), 4-71(36), 66-32, 27-59, 66(31)-38, 58-34(34)