China Open 2011 - Day 1 (part I)

14:25:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Stephen Hendry still a champion
The China Open tournament has made its debut with a marvelous surprise, especially for Stephen Hendry’s fans, as the seven-time world champion has whitewashed Matthew Stevens. The other matches saw all three wildcards being defeated by Kurt Maflin, Joe Perry and Marcus Campbell.

Stephen Hendry has put up an enormous show as he succeeded in crashing Matthew Stevens for the first time in his life. With "the best of 9" rule at hand, this means that the first player to score five frames will be declared winner and go into the next round, Hendry being the one who cashed all five frames for setting the next match against Ding Junhui, or Kurt Maflin, it depends on who will win this battle.
Hendry took the opening frame with a marvelous break of 100, hit a perfect 93 as to go 3-0 up and closed with runs of 75 and 65. It’s one of the most important victories that the Scotsman has obtain lately and it’s going to do wonders with his confidence, I’m sure of that. Also he is in desperate need of some ranking points before the Crucible, so this is a very good opportunity to get them.
Stevens was mostly kept in his seat, but when he had the chance to play he sadly didn’t take is, his poor safety shots, meaning that Hendry was given free hand with the match constantly.

Matthew Stevens, a bit surprised of what`s going on
Next to follow was the match between Joe Perry and the Chinese Li Yan, the last one being the one that broke the ice and took the opening frame. However, Joe drew with a beautiful 99 break and kept on winning one frame after another, until reaching a 4-1 lead. A break of 51 was making Li win his second frame of the match, but unfortunately for him this was going to be his last one as well, as Perry hit in runs of 37 and 30 to close the deal at 5-2.

The second table that was covered by the EuroSport was the one where Kurt Maflin and Cao Yupeng were playing and I was very disappointed to see....errr no audience?! Maybe they were one or two, but come on!
The match started very slow, it was like watching Peter Ebdon playing against Rory McLeod, so you imagine that was veeeeery, veeeery slow and none of the players had a fluent game. It was all shared frames, until the score was 3-2 in favor of Yupeng. He was for the first time in the lead, so something clicked in Maflin`s head and he started potting like we know he can. He drew at 3-3 with the help of a 60 break and from that moment on there was no chance to stop the guy! :-))

Kurt Mafin has his eye on the prize
He hit in breaks of 67, 52 and 28 as to set the final score at 5-3 and claim his well-deserved victory. Joe Johnson, one of the commentators and a very well known snooker player, said that this boy has what it takes and the only thing he seems to be missing is confidence. Indeed, more confidence and he can beat anyone! ;-)

Last of the first four matches to end was the battle against Marcus Campbell and Mei Xi Wen...and that was a real battle of cues. Although the Scot started pretty well, breaks of 42 and 85 bringing him the first two frames, the little Chinese fought back as to draw at 2-2. Campbell took the lead once more, but this time, Mei`s response came immediately for a 3-3 scoreline.
Not giving up, Campbell hits a 49 as to secure his lead once more, but his opponent was trying to bring the match into a decider. They fought like lions as the score was 57-52 in favor of the Scot, in the end him being the one who overcame this very tight encounter and set the score at 5-3.

The day is far from being over, as we still have three more matches to be played, as it follows:

From 12:30 (UK time)
Neil Robertson v. Barry Hawkins
Jimmy White v. Tian Pengfei (Tian`s got a bye to the next round)
Nigel Bond v. Jin Long
Ken Doherty v. Li Hang