Day 2 at the 2022 Welsh Open qualifiers was marked by issues with streaming and scoreboards in the afternoon … then outage for me in the evening. I didn’t see much at all.
Surprise Defeat For Brecel
Luca Brecel’s hopes of winning back-to-back Home Nations titles ended prematurely as he lost 4-2 to Rory McLeod in the qualifying round of the BetVictor Welsh Open.
Belgium’s Brecel won the BetVictor Scottish Open in December, but this time he won’t even be at the final venue having lost to a player ranked 66 places below him in world number 82 McLeod.
A break of 54 helped McLeod build a 3-1 lead. Brecel pulled one back and had chances to make it 3-3, but McLeod eventually took frame six on the final black to progress to the last 64.
BetVictor Shoot Out champion Hossein Vafaei narrowly avoided defeat as he came from 3-1 down to beat Andrew Higginson 4-3. Breaks of 74 and 64 got Vafaei back to 3-3, then he won an exciting decider on the final black after both players had missed chances.
Anthony Hamilton top scored with 105 in a 4-3 defeat of Lyu Haotian while Mark Davis made a 124 in the decider to edge out Alfie Burden 4-3. Two Welsh players secured places in their home event as Andrew Pagett saw off Simon Lichtenberg 4-0 and Jak Jones earned a 4-1 victory over Sunny Akani.
Unfortunatelt, Brecel’s defeat is no surprise to me. It has been the story of his career so far. Every good spell and big win(s) were followed by a sharp slump. The signs were there as early as the World Grand Prix. I can just hope this one won’t last for too long…
From what I was able to watch – not much – Jak Jones played well. Defeat for Sunny Akani is bad news though. He’s currently only 4000 points ahead of Oliver Lines, provisionally 65th on the “End of Season” list, which is nothing. He has failed to qualify for the Turkish Masters as well. All Thai players have been struggling in the past two years. Snooker is popular in Thailand and it would really be a big shame if we lost them.