Welsh Open 2012 (Day 3) - Higgins fails to defend title, Rocket Ronnie takes off

00:01:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Ding Junhui gets a place in the QFs
Three days in Newport - that's how long the defending champion, John Higgins survived in the Welsh race. 

The Scottish player, although managed to come back from being lead 2-0 down by Ding Junhui and even took command of the match, lost in the deciding frame, by 4-3.

Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan showed himself in great form, the recent winner of the German Masters hammering Marco Fu 4-1, Mark Allen whitewashed Ken Doherty 4-0, while Shaun Murphy applied the same cruel treatment on legend Steve Davis.

Reigning Welsh Open champion John Higgins saw his hopes being crushed as he failed to defend his title. Ding Junhui flied at 2-0 with a bit of help from breaks like 65 and 76, but the Scottish player didn’t give up. Runs of 32, 30, 43 and 33 were more than enough to guarantee him the comeback as well as taking the lead at 3-2.

Higgins fails to defend his title
The following frame saw Ding missing the black off its spot at 61, Higgins coming to the table in hope of clearing it. Sadly, he overcut the last pink (a pretty tough pink, to be fair) and only managed to collect 58 consecutive points. Hence, Ding returned to the table and pot the last pink to force a decider.

The Chinese player was the first in, a break of 86 sealing a 4-3 victory and getting him a place in the quarter-finals.

Ronnie O'Sullivan proved to be in a very good form, the recent winner of the German crown hammering Marco Fu 4-1 after hitting in runs of 52, 43, 88, 51, 68 and 102. The Rocket has a booked snooker meeting with Mark Williams tomorrow for a last battle of cues before the quarter-finals are kicking off.
O'Sullivan in great form
The 2005 world champion, Shaun Murphy saw off the veteran Steve Davis by 4-0. Murphy used breaks of 37, 39, 59 and 58 to win the first three frames of the match, but Davis had a genuine chance to avoid being whitewashed during the 4th frame.

With runs of 27 and 23, Murphy let Davis in, but unfortunately the six-time world champion ended up on a pretty tough last black. The scoreline was 60-57, so the Essex man needed it desperately to go it. But it didn't, Murphy potting it to claim his quarter-finals spot.

But the third day of the Welsh Open saw another whitewash against another legend, this time from Ireland. "The Darling of Dublin" Ken Doherty experienced the "Pistol" Mark Allen's fury, whose breaks of 61, 59, 77, 55 and 48 ended any hopes of going further in the competition. 

Steve Davis, not very happy being crashed
Scotland's Stephen Maguire, although crushed for not winning the German Masters seems to have recovered quite well. His opponent, Adam Wicheard was lead 3-0 after Maguire hit breaks of 54, 101 and a brilliant clearance of 131.

Still, the Pink Army soldier succeeded to pull back a couple of frames, before Maguire's force knock him down with a lethal 87 break. Final result: 4-2.

Local star, Welshman Matthew Stevens crossed his cue against the Shoot-Out champion Barry Hawkins, the lads going all the way through.

Stevens wins a tought battle against Hawkins
Stevens was the one to put his nose in front until the scoreboard was showing a 2-1 scoreline with breaks of 65 and 141, but Hawkins was careful enough to draw level with a 71 and take the lead with a great 123.

But the "The Welsh Dragon" doesn't give up so easily a strategically 70 break forcing the decider, while a 60 one was sealing the 4-3 victory for Stevens.

Tomorrow’s match schedule:

Stephen Lee v. Tom Ford
Mark Williams v. Ronnie O'Sullivan

NB 2pm
Mark Allen v. Stephen Hendry
Stephen Maguire v. Matthew Stevens

Judd Trump v. Stuart Bingham
Mark Selby v. Martin Gould
*all hours are UK time

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