The 2022 Welsh Open – Day 1

On the first day at Celtic Manor, near Newport, all but one of the held-over last 128 matches were played, and the defending champion, Jordan Brown, exited the tournament.

Here is WST report on day 1 of the tournament:

Williams Relieved At Fan Return

Mark Williams admitted he is relishing the return of his home fans at the BetVictor Welsh Open, after his 4-1 win over Michael Judge on day one.

The three-time World Champion made the semi-finals 12 months ago, but was defeated by Ronnie O’Sullivan. Williams is aiming for a first Welsh Open title in 23 years this week, having claimed the most recent of his two wins in the tournament back in 1999. That was the last time a Welshman won this event.

Williams has been in fine form so far this season. He won his 24th ranking title at the British Open and went on an impressive run to the semi-finals of the Masters, where he was edged out 6-5 by Neil Robertson.

Today saw spectators at the Welsh Open for the first time in two years, after the 2021 edition was forced behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Williams didn’t disappoint his fans this afternoon, progressing with a comfortable win.

Williams took to the front by claiming a tightly contested opener on the pink. He then doubled his advantage with a break of 88 to move two ahead and a run of 67 helped him to make it 3-0.

Judge reduced his arrears by claiming the fourth with a contribution of 88, but it was to no avail as Williams then got over the line by winning the fifth on the pink to emerge a 4-1 victor. Next up he faces Norway’s Kurt Maflin in the last 64.

This game needs a crowd and now they are all back, it is 1000 times better. No sport is really that good without any crowds watching. They are what brings the tension and gets everyone involved. It is much better,” said 46-year-old Williams.

The Welsh players maybe try too hard in this event. I’ve thought a few times that there has to be a reason why the Welsh players haven’t been any good. Maybe the pressure is too much for some of them. You need to just relax and enjoy it.

Ukrainian 16-year-old Iulian Boiko rallied from 3-0 down to secure an emotional 4-3 win over Welsh amateur Liam Davies.

The Kyiv cueman said he found it hard to focus at times due to the ongoing invasion of his home country. However, he dug deep to battle back and claim a tightly contested final frame and set up a second round meeting with former Masters champion Mark Allen.

Boiko said: “It is incredibly tough, because I am on my phone almost the whole day with my friends and family back at home. I am so worried about them. There are terrifying things going on. I hope it all ends soon and we live in peace.

I tried to think of all the people back at home who are supporting me in such difficult times for our country. I had to fight and I had to give 200% until the end. I’m happy I managed to do that.

Allen and John Higgins remain in pole position for the £150,000 BetVictor European Series bonus, after opening round victories today.

The pair came into this week locked together on £94,000 with just the BetVictor Gibraltar Open to go after this week. The player who picks up the most prize money over the qualifying events secures the bumper payout.

Higgins produced an impressive blitz to the finish line against Pang Junxu this evening to win 4-1. Breaks of 50, 113, 56 and 89 helped him to four in a row. Allen top scored with a break of 120 in his 4-1 win over Ken Doherty.

Recent Masters winner and Players Champion Neil Robertson secured a 4-0 whitewash win over Jimmy White, while World Champion Mark Selby beat Chen Zifan 4-1.

Judd Trump was a comfortable 4-1 winner over Dean Young, despite losing the first frame. The Ace in the Pack composed breaks of 99 and 59 on his way to a decisive burst of four consecutive frames.

Defending champion Jordan Brown bowed out at the first hurdle against Mitchell Mann, succumbing to a 4-3 defeat.

It’s a bit bizarre that the defending champion gets just the one and last sentence of this report but … well … ok.

For me, the feat of the day was Iulian Boiko’s win from 3-0 down. Ok, he was playing Liam Davies who is only 15, but Liam has done very well on the amateur circuit and, given the circumstances, what Iulian did is remarkable. Yesterday, Jason Ferguson congratulated Iulian, and explained how WPBSA is supporting and will continue to support the Ukrainian players, notably those who participated in the WSF events and are now stranded in the UK, away from their families. Some of them are under-age and alone. WPBSA will make sure they are safe, have proper accomodations and get all the help they need.

Another one who did well is Si Jiahui, the recently crowned WSF champion. He got the better of Gary Wilson. And, guess what? He’s another “Victoria boy” …

On the other hand, both Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill, currently ranked 12th and 14th fell at first hurdle.

Ronnie’s match was posponed because of his involvement in the Final on Sunday

He is scheduled play James Cahill this afternoon. He should have faced Sam Craigie, but Sam withdrew with ill-health and James replaces him.  I’m not expecting anything from this match…

 

 

4 thoughts on “The 2022 Welsh Open – Day 1

  1. Was it Boiko’s first victory in the tour? In any case I’m happy for him and very upset about what’s going on in Ukraine.

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