Welsh Open 2011 - Day 3

06:10:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Stevens "The Welsh Dragon" is on fire
The third day of this beautiful snooker event named Welsh Open started with two whitewashes and continued with tough battles, battles that if won they guaranteed a place into the next round; for some of the players this meant a quarter-finals place, while for others a Last 16 place. But what summaries the day is that the Welsh Dragons are definitely breathing fire and the Scots are to follow them closely ;-)

The day made its debut with a partial Welsh - partial English match, as Matthew Stevens was taking on Shaun Murphy. It was a difficult start, as the boys were not quite among the balls, but in the end, Stevens took over the first frame, this making him confident enough as “to chase” a beautiful 133 clearance into the next frame and be two points ahead of Murphy.
The next frame saw Murphy trying to get back into the game, but he wasn’t playing at his best, Stevens cashing one more frame with a break of 60 and ending Shaun’s misery in the following frame with a 32. Total whitewash for the "Magician" who experienced one more early exit (see The Masters and also the German Masters).

Hendry`s focusing on success
Just next to them, the most brilliant snooker player that has walked on Earth, the Scot Stephen Hendry was playing against Joe Perry. And what do you know?! It was another whitewash, as the proud of Scotland hit in breaks of 61, 57 and 48 to go 2-0 over his opponent and a 38 and a 78 to close the deal at 4-0. It was strange to see Perry in such a poor form, considering his wonderful performance during the German Masters, but I told you this before: Hendry seems to be back in business. He plays better than before, not as good as in his glorious times, but better and we all know that with a bit of confidence and training we can move mountains (as talent is already part of the equation) and he is definitely more determinate; his 78 break was meant as a century one, but he unfortunately missed the pink just by a fraction and you should have seen the look on his face - total disappointment. That’s because he still enjoys playing snooker. ;-)

The match between Stephen Maguire and Gerard Greene started a bit slow, but it soon regained its strength as to see a veritable battle of cues :-) Maguire took the lead with breaks of 57 and 76 as to go 2-0 down, but Green’s 81 and 53 leveled the situation at 2-2. It was game on for the snooker boys, game that was won with runs of 72 and 87 by the Scot Maguire. He was through to the Last 16 and his fellow-country John Higgins was playing beside him at table 1.

Higgins: "Yep, I can win this!"
I was very curious as to see Higgins play Harold, for they have such different playing styles and Dave latest performances put him in the light as a dangerous opponent. Still, not as dangerous as Higgins.
It all started with Dave’s 32 break, break that was interrupted by a lost position, then came John’s turn to made a break (a smaller one, just a 12) as he also lost the attacking position, so the frame continued with the boys taking turns at the table, in the end Higgins winning the opening frame just by a few points away.

A break of 65 brought the Scot the second frame, but Dave succeeded in cashing the next one as to not be totally and utterly crashed. Why am I saying this? Well, because Higgins` 136 hit in the next round was going to put him two frames away from Harold and just one frame away from winning the match. The following frame, that was also the last one, was Dave’s chance of continuing his Welsh Open run because his opponent was already in need of a snooker, but some unpredictable fouls erased that, so Higgins came back to the table to seal his victory with a 35. He was the first name through to the quarter-finals and the smilehe put on after that made it perfectly clear - he was happy about his game.

Ryan is calculating his every shot carefully
The night brought together Ryan Day and Ronnie O`Sullivan on one side and Mark Selby and Mark King on the other. First match was going to be played at open fire, while the second was going to be a hard and log battle.
Ryan hit a marvelous 109 to take over the opening frame and a 133 to go two points ahead of Ronnie who seemed a bit rusty, but "The Rocket’s" 100 tried to proves us wrong. During the next frame O`Sulllivan`s seven fouls brought Ryan 18 points, points that added to his 46 break made him win another frame. However, Ronnie succeeded in taking over the 5th frame with runs of 56 and 25, just to balance a bit the situation at 3-2, but that came a too late, I’m afraid. The Welshman’s way of playing was way superior, as he proved us before in the match played against Jimmy White, so it wasn’t too much of a problem for Ryan to win the 6th frame and secure a place in the Last 16, by doing so. Final score 4-2.
After the match Ronnie confessed that he practiced very little and that Day’s performance deserved every credit. One more early exit for the Rocket, who now faces a big, big problem regarding his ranking position.

A true battle of strong nerves was won by Selby
The "Marks" battle saw King winning the first frame after more than half an hour, but Selby leveled up quickly with a 67 break and even took the lead with a 50. King’s 56 put the scoreboard on a draw 2-2, but Selby wasn’t going to lose this match for nothing in the world (we know he came very determined to win this tournament after German Masters` defeat) so he hit in breaks of 20 and 33 to take once again the lead and an amazing 102 for the victory. This century break is his 38th one in this season - these boys are making century breaks as easy as I spend money :-))) Selby is the second player to get through the quarter-finals, defeating King 4-2.

The forth day of the Welsh Open has some pretty interesting matches for the snooker lovers, as you can easily see below:

1pm (UK time)
Mark Williams v. Jamie Cope
Peter Ebdon v. Ali Carter

not before 2pm (UK time)
Ryan Day v. Matthew Stevens
Mark Allen v. Ding Junhui

7pm (UK time)
Neil Robertson v. Graeme Dott
Stephen Hendry v. Stephen Maguire

TV coverage:
13:00 - 17:15 (BBC Wales)
13:30 - 17:00 (British EuroSport)
18:55 - 22:00 (British EuroSport)
19:00 - 22:00 (British EuroSport 2)
19:30 - 20:00 (BBC Wales)
23:20 - 00:05 (BBC Wales)

Wish the lads best of luck and as for you...enjoy snooker dears! :-)