Welsh Open 2012 (Day 1) - Higgins wins first match, Baird qualifies for his

23:37:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

John Higgins wins his first match
The last two matches of Welsh Open's first day saw the defending champion John Higgins hammering Liang Wenbo 4-1, while Sam Baird beat Dominic Dale 4-2 to officially get a place in the tournament.

One of Higgins' last season's winnings was the Welsh Open. And since this season his form hasn't quite keep up with the idyllic image we have of our current world champion, he promised to end up the "trophy draught". 

Although it can't be said that he took the best start in the book (aka. he didn’t play at his best) against his opponent, the Chinese player Liang Wenbo, Higgins didn’t play bad either. He managed to take the first two frames with breaks of 58 and 78 and looked very dangerously to take the third one as well.

However, he missed a red on 55 and left another long one on, Wenbo coming to the table and stealing it with a top break of 68. It was a brilliant clearance that gave the little Chinese player a lot of confidence ... a lot of confidence but not consistency.

As the forth frame started, Wenbo potted the cue ball on 21, Higgins doing the same eight points later. Still, the Scottish player used runs of 34 and 19 to win the frame and get closer to the finish line.

The last frame was a scrappy affair, Higgins taking advantage of Wenbo missing the pink in two important occasions and closing the match on a 4-1 result.
Higgins is now meeting with another Chinese player, this time a Top 16 one, Ding Junhui.

Sam Baird qualifies for the main event
At the next table, the Welshman Dominic Dale was facing a pink comrade, the youngster Sam Baird. It was a qualifying match, the last of its kind and it was important for both players.

Baird found no difficulty in getting the first two frames under his belt by firing in breaks of 67 and 72, while Dale couldn't pull back more than one with a 46.

Frame four saw Baird making a beautiful 136 clearance, clearance that was putting him just one step away from victory. Still, Dominic prolonged the suspense as he took the next frame after collecting 55 consecutive points off the table.

The 6th frame had a bit of scrappiness in it, but Baird turned it into his advantage to seal his 4-2 victory with runs of 22 and 33.

Click here to read my full report for Day 1.

Tomorrow the action continues with:

Mark Williams v. Andy Hicks
Stephen Lee v. Michael Holt

NB 2pm
Neil Robertson v. Stephen Hendry
Stuart Bingham v. Mark King

Mark Selby v. Sam Baird
Martin Gould v. Peter Ebdon
*all hours are UK time

TV coverage:
1300 - 13:45 BBC 2 Wales
13:00 - 17:00 British EuroSport
14:30 - 16:30 BBC 2 Wales
18:00 - 22:00 British EuroSport
19:00 - 20:00 BBC 2 Wales
23:20 - 24:00 BBC 2 Wales