Welsh Open 2011: Day One Latest

Photo by @markking147

Day one from Newport and already the new arena has seen some dramatic matches with John Higgins, Ali Carter, Ding Junhui and Dave Harold all falling over the line in deciding frames. Click below for the day’s results as they come in…

Welsh Open 2011: Day One Results

Last 48

Matthew Stevens 4-2 Anthony Hamilton
Ryan Day 4-0 Jimmy White

Last 32

John Higgins 4-3 Jack Lisowski
Ding Junhui 4-3 Marcus Campbell
Ali Carter 4-3 Barry Hawkins
Dave Harold 4-3 Ricky Walden
Mark King 4-1 Michael Holt
Jamie Cope 4-3 Rory McLeod

On paper the most interesting match of the day for me was always that between young Jack Lisowski and world number one John Higgins who was of course playing in his first match since the death of his father recently.

Perhaps understandably therefore it was Jack who made the brighter start, some fine pots putting him 1-0 ahead before John bounced back to take the next three to leave himself just one away from victory. Despite my somewhat premature declaration of Jack’s demise on Twitter however (I thought we were playing best of fives for a moment), Jack impressively rallied to force a decider.

First chance fell the way of Higgins, aided by a fluked blue into the green pocket but he could make just 21 before Lisowski got back to the table with a long red. It was not to be though for the youngster, the break ending on 19 before Higgins made the decisive contribution. A good win for John under the circumstances but Jack was hardly disgraced and can take a lot of positives from probably the biggest match of his career to date. He will be back for sure.

Elsewhere, it took two centuries from Ding Junhui to see off the gritty Marcus Campbell while Ali Carter also needed a decider to defeat Barry Hawkins in what on paper looked like a match that would go all the way.

Arguably the most important win however was that of Dave Harold’s against Ricky Walden on the final black which sees the Stoke Potter crucially move into top 48 ahead of the next seedings cut-off at the expense of Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail. Ricky will now be sweating on other results for his top 16 place, hoping that the likes of Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham and Mark King exit the tournament sooner rather than later!

In the evening session meanwhile, Welshman Ryan Day produced a sensational display to see off Jimmy White 4-0 in under an hour. Breaks of 125, 102 and 68  left Jimmy with little answer and kept alive Ryan’s hopes of reclaiming a top 16 place ahead of the next seedings cut-off, though it remains a tall order.

The other 7pm match however was a somewhat more sedate affair, lasting until 10:30pm as Jamie clinched a 4-3 victory, guaranteeing himself a spot at the Crucible in April in the process. The match started off well enough, Jamie knocking in a break of 120 in the first frame but what followed were a series of slow frames as Rory began to dictate the tempo of the match and Jamie appeared to become distracted.

The Shotgun however was to save his best until last. It was Rory who earned the first opening with a tremendous shot on his way to a 42-0 lead. Unfortunately for Rory however, position began to get away from him and he missed a tricky blue to the green pocket. With two reds close to the top cushion however, the table was far from set up for an easy clearance and it had the look of a frame that would come down to a scrap on the colours.

It was not to be though, Cope initially playing a shot to free up one of the reds before producing a nerveless pot on the other to leave the clearance very much on. He had missed some balls earlier on but you could just tell that he was not going to do so again this time and he duly delivered.