Welsh Open 2011 - Day 4

19:34:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Another whitewash brings Williams into the quarter-finals
You have my deepest and sincere apologies for delaying in posting this article but unfortunately my internet connection died two days ago and EVRIKA! it has just been brought to life. Damn you technology!!!!!!!!!

This tournament keeps getting better and better as yesterday was a very special day for snooker. Williams was in a whitewash mood (again!), we had a beautiful and exciting Welshmen clash between Day and Stevens and one of the snooker’s old stars enriched his record with a another maximum break – Stephen Hendry hit a marvelous and perfect 147!
But one match at a time, so let’s begin our journey through yesterday’s snooker battles, shall we?

As I’ve told you before Mark Williams was in a whitewashing mood again and it was not much a surprise as he crashed his opponent, Jamie Cope 4-0. It wasn’t all century breaks for the Welshman but it sure was one hell of a ride :-)) Williams took over the first half of the match by hitting in runs of 30 and 108, keeping Jamie more as a spectator rather than a player, but during the third frame Cope had his chances as to make a comeback. It all started will Mark’s poor safety shot, but unfortunately Jamie didn’t take too much advantage as he missed a red. A foul and a miss by Williams seemed to give Jamie yet another chance, but the boy just ended up on a 30 break, his opponent making a 31 and bringing the score at 47-38 (ironically) in Jamie’s favor. Still, in the end Mark potted the remaining colors of the table as to take his lead one step further, breaks of 40 and 20 bringing him the complete victory of the match in the next frame.

Stevens wins the Welshmen clash
At a near table Ali Carter and Peter Ebon were focused on a match that will turn out to be quite a scrappy one. It was “The Captain” who took the lead 3-0 as he hit in breaks of 32, 29, 38, 28 and 64, but that wasn’t an easy job (the scores per frame were tight) and it took him quite some time. Ebdon tried a comeback during the 4th frame, but it just didn’t happen, at least not totally as he just won one frame, the next one being cashed by Carter with a break of 74.

In the meantime, one of the most expected clashes of the day was already on as Matthew Stevens and Ryan Day meet in front of the top ref Jan Verhaas in order to secure a place into the quarter-finals.
Ryan started with a break of 25 but Matthew replayed with a 58 one, rudely interrupted by missing to pot a long red, this giving Ryan one more opportunity. But sadly for Ryan, he failed in collecting more than 14 points, so the score ended up at 44-58, in favor of Stevens, in the end Matthew taking over the opening frame.
Ryan succeeded in equalising at 1-1 with a top break of 89, but the next two frames had “Matthew Stevens” written all over them, as the Welshman hit in runs of 21, 43, 34 and 24 to almost feel the smell of victory.
Still, the battle wasn’t over yet as Ryan made a beautiful comeback for which he fought like a dragon to bring the match to a decider (breaks of 74 and 23 were responsible). The last frame was opened by Stevens` 66 break, closely followed by Ryan’s 42, the match ending on snookers. An unsuccessful snooker by Ryan made Stevens pot the green, the brown, the blue and the pink to earn his quarter-finals spot.

Ding succeds in making a full comeback
Ding Junhui and Mark Allen were closely watched by Eirian Williams at table number two as they were preparing for another interesting match.
It was Allen the one who took the lead 2-0, by hitting in breaks of 89 and 47. Ding struggled during the next frame several fouls bringing Allen 25 points, but in the end he succeeded in pulling one back, only to see his opponent taking one step further from him as he hit in runs of 42 and 25.
Ding was two frames behind when we decided it’s time to act as time costs money, or in this case points and a place into the next round, so the little Chinese guy brought the match into a decider as he leveled up with break of 32, 38 and 81. He seemed to be back in business, his game was a bit more fluent and he regained that strength and determination that two consecutive wins can give you. In that way in the last frame a top break of 79 also meant victory!

Neil Robertson and Graeme Dott were caught in a match, which in my opinion was a bit odd, as both players seemed to be struggling with keeping the game running. It wasn’t a spectacular encounter, but it had its positive parts as in the end Dott lifted the standard of the match a bit more.
The first two frames seemed to take forever, mostly because of the safety shots battle that was going on. At the end of them, the boys were on a “one frame a piece” situation with not many big breaks to be mentioned, but hey! snooker is more than just big breaks!
What happened next was a total disaster for Robbo, who didn’t find his way among the balls, Dott taking advantage of this and hitting in breaks of 53 and 30 as to bring the match on a 3-1 scoreline and a series of 22, 31 and 53 to end it 4-1.

Stephen Hendry`s spectacular 147
The last match of the day was an all Scottish one as Stephen Hendry was facing his fellow-country player, Stephen Maguire. It all started nice for Hendry as he hit that marvelous 147 break, his 10th maximum break as a professional player. The audience was mesmerized by his top class performance, while Robertson didn’t take much of an interested in what’s Dott potting and was watching Hendry making that break. That’s how good it was! Not even a player could keep his eyes off him :-))

But after that beautiful start it all went down for Hendry as he started to have a genuine problem with both middle pockets. He couldn’t pot balls into them anymore! And I can’t overlook the fact that he had so many chances to go 2-0 over Maguire but failed to cash them, so his opponent leveled up the score and took over the next two frames by hitting a top break of 129! Being lead 3-1, Hendry succeeded in pulling back one frame but that came a bit too late as a break of 55 brought Maguire the victory. Final score: 4-2. So it wasn’t the best match ever as more than one miss was called and the boys didn’t play fluently, but that max from the beginning says it all: Hendry still has it! :-)

Day 5 of the Welsh Open = the quarter-finals are kicking off and that means the “best of 9” rule will be applied for every match:

1pm (UK time)
Mark Williams v. Stephen Maguire
Mark Selby v. Graeme Dott

7pm (UK time)
John Higgins v. Matthew Stevens
Ali Carter v. Ding Junhui

TV coverage:
13:00 - 17:15 (BBC Wales)
18:55 – 20:00 (British EuroSport)
19:00 – 22:00 (British EuroSport 2)
21:30 - 22:30 (BBC Wales)
23:45 - 00:30 (BBC Wales)