The last 64 round at the 2020 Welsh Open was played to a completion yesterday.
Trump Aces The Castle
World Champion Judd Trump produced a strong showing to whitewash Billy Castle 4-0 and reach the last 32 of the ManBetX Welsh Open in Cardiff.
The Ace in the Pack is still searching for his maiden title in this event, but did reach the final in 2017 when he was runner-up to Stuart Bingham.
If world number one Trump were to be victorious this week he would equal Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan’s record of five ranking crowns in a single season. Trump’s four wins so far this campaign have come at the International Championship, World Open, Northern Ireland Open and the recent German Masters.
This afternoon Trump fired in breaks of 71, 121 and 67 on his way to a victory which took under an hour. He faces Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo up next.
Trump said: “It was a good performance. I played pretty solidly and I didn’t miss much when I got amongst the balls. I’m very happy with the first three frames and pleased to put the match to bed quite comfortably.
“I felt very comfortable in that game. I made a good break to go 1-0 up and it just settled me down. I was able to dictate what was going on. My safety was very good and I played well enough to put him under pressure.”
Higgins Beats Familiar Foe
John Higgins defeated 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty 4-1 in the pair’s first meeting in five years, as he secured his last 32 spot.
The Wizard of Wishaw defeated Doherty 18-12 to claim his maiden World Championship title back in 1998. The most recent clash between them was at the 2015 German Masters when Higgins prevailed 5-2.
Higgins, a record five-time winner of this event, produced his best snooker at the closing stages this evening. He fired in back-to-back century breaks of 100 and 104 to secure victory.
Rocket Downs The Mariner
Ronnie O’Sullivan came through an intriguing clash with Stuart Carrington 4-2 to progress.
The Rocket looked to be in danger when he trailed 2-1. Carrington spurned a golden opportunity to move one from victory, missing a red with a chance to clear. O’Sullivan pounced with a break of 31 to restore parity.
From there five-time World Champion O’Sullivan grasped control of proceedings. He claimed the fifth frame, before a run of 96 secured his victory. O’Sullivan faces Anthony Hamilton in tomorrow’s last 32.
Mark Selby progressed courtesy of a 4-1 defeat of Chen Zifan, while Neil Robertson notched up the 700th century of his career during a 4-2 win over Mark Joyce.
Stuart Bingham was a 4-1 winner against Chen Feilong and Shaun Murphy required a final frame decider to beat Alfie Burden 4-3.
Once again, WST report is rather minimalist and focussing only on the top players.
Yes, Judd Trump played very well, but he was not put under any sort of pressure by his opponent who clearly struggled playing on the main television table. He will face Igor Figueiredo today. Igor had four breaks over 50 in beating the vastly experienced Mark Davis. He came back fro 3-1 down as well. However Igor hasn’t played on the main table and that may take some time to get used to, time you don’t get in a best of 7.
Neil Robertson v Mark Joyce was actually a very close match. The last four frames were pretty scrappy.
Mark Selby won comfortably but was very unhappy with his own performance and with the conditions. Ding was happy and relaxed after his win over Ricky Walden and hoping for more centuries, as each century made in the tournament is worth £1000 in help to those affected by the coronavirus outbreak in China.
You can hear them both here with the ES team
Mark Selby saying that he never doubted his own win even after his opponent had won the first frame, and despite himself playing terrible, may sound big headed. I’m sure it wasn’t: he explained that this feeling was trigged by Chen Zifan shots choice, and him not taking opportunities. The discussion about how the young Chinese players could improve, and Reanne’s input, is quite interesting. More “diversity” in their practice, and more focus on safety / match play is what she and Alan McManus suggested.
Mark Williams victory over Jordan Brown had more to do with Jordan struggling than with Mark’s brilliance. Then again Jordan rarely plays on television.
Regarding the race to the Players Championship, Ronnie is now 19th, only 1750 points behind Jack Lisowski. He could face Jack tonight in the last 16. If Ronnie manages to reach the QF, he will find himself on the unenviable 17th spot still 4000 points behind Gary Wilson. But Gary is out, so the SF would guarantee Ronnie a top 16 spot in the one year list, with a 6000 points cushion. Still not safe though and with the prospect to meet Judd Trump in the first round in Southport.