UK Championship (2011) Day 1 - Stevens in, Hendry out

01:15:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Matthew Stevens gets a Last 16 spot
It was definitely a great start for this year's UK Championship as the majority of the matches had followed the perfect recipe for success: drama, tension and great snooker. We had close matches, like those from the first session, followed by clear victories of 6-1 in the after-noon session, only to end in great style with some cracking pots and some really entertaining cueing action in the evening.

The evening session saw the Welshman Matthew Stevens taking on the Scotsman Marcus Campbell. What a match this was!
Although the lads started the match in a cool way, the mid-session interval finding them all square up at 2-2 (Stevens hitting a brilliant 136 in the third frame), after that, the real battle began. But it was something like a-one-way-highway, for Stevens did all the winning.

Campbell didn't manage to fight back against the Welshman
A scrappy fifth frame was going the Welshman's way as well as the next one which he took with a break of 63. He was 4-2 up and he was literally shinning. "One more century for the road", thought Stevens as he won the next frame with a wonderful 140 and the one after that with an 81. An impeccable cueing action sent Matthew Stevens in the Last 16 round after beating Marcus Campbell 6-2.

Somewhere in the arena another match was being played. Two great masters of the green baize were showing the audience how you play snooker: Stephen Hendry and Stephen Maguire - Scotland all the way!

With runs of 122 and 46 Maguire took the first two frames until Hendry had the courage to launch himself into the green, green baize of home and collect 81 points off the table to pull one back. Still, the interval found Maguire in charge of the match, 3-1.

Stephen Maguire beats Master Hendry once more
Minutes after the lads returned into the arena the battle began once more. This time however, Hendry was pulling the strings. Breaks of 36 and 47, though tiny, were enough to level the match at 3-3. 

Unfortunately for the seven-time world champion his contribution was just about over, as his opponent cleared the table with a perfect 134 to get himself back in the lead 4-3 and hit in runs of 90 and 52 to get a spot in the next round with a well deserved 6-3 victory.

The funny thing is that Maguire is to face John Higgins in the Last 16, these two meeting last during the big final of the 2011 Welsh Open when Higgins won 9-6. Shall we expect revenge from Maguire? We've already seen that Higgins survived McLeod's intention of "payback time", but can he do it once more?

Sadly, Hendry had a very short run in the UK Championship
And now let's take a glance at the after-noon session too, shall we?

The two matches that were being played were: Graeme Dott v. Matthew Selt and Neil Robertson v. Tom Ford, both of them ending on the same scoreline, 6-1, and with winners that weren't too much of a surprise, to be honest.

Although Selt put quite the show during the Australian Goldfields Open when he took down Higgins and Hendry, this time he couldn't hurt the 2006 world champion, Dotty using a series of 63, 117, 75 and 54 to go 4-0 up. However, Selt did manage to hit a very steady century break of 102, but the Scotsman continued to fire with a 45 and a 99 that ended the match in his favour.
On the other side, Robertson found no trouble whatsoever into beating Tom Ford 6-1 by applying breaks of 60, 74, 61 and 58.

And since the UK Championship has shown itself as the great master of re-make, Neil Robertson is meeting Graeme Dott in the next round. As you can well remember they were the 2010 World Championship finalists, back then Robbo winning 18-13. But will we see a re-enactment of that final, or Dotty will manage to defeat the one that stopped him from winning his second world crown?

Below you have Day 1 list of results:

John Higgins 6-5 Rory McLeod
Ding Junhui 6-5 Mark Davis
Neil Robertson 6-1 Tom Ford
Graeme Dott 6-1 Matthew Selt
Stephen Maguire 6-3 Stephen Hendry
Matthew Stevens 6-2 Marcus Campbell

Tomorrow the smashing action continues with:

Mark Selby v. Ryan Day
Stuart Bingham v. Marco Fu

Not before 2pm
Ronnie O'Sullivan v. Steve Davis
Ali Carter v. Robert Milkins

Shaun Murphy v. Li Yan
Martin Gould v. Peter Lines
*all hours are UK time

TV coverage:
11:00 - 17:00 British EuroSport 2
14:00 - 17:30 BBC Two
19:00 - 20:45 British EuroSport 2
00:00 - 00:50 BBC Two (the highlights)