The second day in Cardiff saw the first round – last 128 – of the 2020 Welsh Open played to a conclusion.
Maximum Glory For Warrior
Kyren Wilson made an astonishing 147 break in his very first visit of the match against Jackson Page, eventually emerging a 4-3 victor at the ManBetX Welsh Open in Cardiff.
The Warrior stepped up and rolled in a long range red from Page’s break-off in the opener and compiled the perfect break from it.
That puts him in line for this week’s £5,000 top break prize. It’s the second maximum break of Wilson’s career, following a 147 at the 2017 International Championship.
From that point onwards Wilson struggled to recapture the form which saw him beat Judd Trump and John Higgins on his way to the semi-finals of last week’s Coral World Grand Prix.
Welshman Page moved into a 3-2 lead, having trailed 2-0. However, Wilson regained his composure to make breaks of 47 and 59 to claim the last two frames and book a second round clash with Liam Highfield.
Wilson said: “As soon as I made the maximum I turned to the crowd and said it could only go one way from there. Unfortunately it did and it went downhill. It is to be expected, you go through a lot of adrenaline when you make a 147.
“The fans that watch it live can remember that forever, it is a bit of a bucket list thing for followers of snooker so I am delighted that I managed to do it for the people in there tonight.”
Lift Off For The Rocket
Ronnie O’Sullivan secured his passage to the second round with a 4-1 defeat of China’s Zhang Jiankang.
The Rocket is in need of a strong showing here in Cardiff and at next week’s Shoot Out if he harbours any hopes forcing his way into the upcoming Coral Players Championship. Only the top 16 players on the one-year list will earn a place at the elite Southport event and O’Sullivan lies in 20th position in the live rankings.
This afternoon five-time World Champion O’Sullivan composed breaks of 51, 53, 69 and 81 on his way to dispatching world number 88 Zhang. Next up 44-year-old O’Sullivan faces Stuart Carrington.
“It was a good game. I’m pleased to win. He can play, so I am just pleased to be through to the next round,” said O’Sullivan. “It is only one match, it is very hard to assess after one match, but hopefully I will feel a bit stronger after each game. That is the idea, so we will just have to wait and see.”
Defending Champion Robertson Survives Clarke Scare
Defending champion Neil Robertson admitted to feeling jaded during his 4-2 win over Jamie Clarke this evening.
The Australian has enjoyed an extraordinary run of form, which has seen him reach three finals in the last three weeks. Robertson lifted the trophy at the recent BetVictor European Masters in Austria, was runner-up at the BetVictor German Masters in Berlin and defeated Graeme Dott 10-8 on Sunday night to win the World Grand Prix in Cheltenham.
Robertson struggled to produce his best in this evening’s tie. However, he summoned a fine break of 51 in the decisive frame to emerge with the 4-2 win.
“It was very tough. The final against Graeme Dott was literally the last of my reserves. That was scraping the bottom of the well and I think tonight showed that,” said Robertson. “It was only that my winning mentality and instincts kicked in towards the end when I did that really good clearance.”
Shaun Murphy progressed courtesy of a 4-0 demolition of Welsh veteran Darren Morgan. John Higgins defeated Joe O’Connor 4-1 to book his place in the second round.
Gary Wilson recorded a 4-1 defeat of Chang Bingyu, while Iran’s Soheil Vahedi secured a shock 4-2 win against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Kyren Wilson 147
Kyren was really poor after that 147. Jackson Page should have won that match and I guess it’s only lack of experience that prevented him to do so. Jackson’s shot selection wasn’t the best at times. He didn’t take reckless shots, but sometimes over complicated things. The way he lost frame 6 was an example: he took the risk to develop the little cluster around the pink when all he needed to win the match was to pot the red that stood in the open. We should remember that he’s only 18, still learning, and was playing on the main table in Wales.
Neil Robertson was absolutely awfull. Of course he was shattered, as was Graeme Dott who lost by 4-0 to Zhao Xintong. Neil only went through because of two things: Jamie Clarke, who I like as a person, is unable to play under pressure and Neil decided to go for everything, knowling that he didn’t have the energy to sustain long battles. Jamie made so many mistakes that it was actually unsettling. He could benefit from some help by a sport psychologist. Speaking to the ES pundits after the match, Neil admitted that, had he not been the defending champion, he would have pulled out, and even added that losing in the first round might have been a blessing. He was feeling that exhausted. And of course things weren’t made easier by the fact that he got caught in traffic on his way to the venue and only just made it… As a result, he didn’t have time to “prepare” and his curls were on show. I, for one, like them.
In other news, not mentioned in WST round-up …
Igor Figueiredo beat Hossein Vafaei by 4-1. That’s a huge surprise but, to me, a good one. Igor on form is great to watch. Zhou Yuelong was beaten by 4-1 by Elliot Slessor, who scored heavily. I just hope this isn’t a sign that Zhou is struggling to overcome his 9-0 defeat at the hands of Neil Robertson in Austria. Both Luo Honghao and Sunny Akani lost again as well. They are struggling this season. Luo is in real danger to lose his tour card. As is Noppon Saengkham, but yesterday he got a win over the always hard to beat Alan McManus.