|Lian Wenbo back in action|
Although we kind of got used to seeing 16 players get through from the early qualifying stages, this time we only have 14, the remaining ones earning a staging act in Wales just before the main event kicks off.
As always we had genuine battle of cues with big breaks (the highest being Andy Hicks' 142) and a lot of tense deciders. The "old" and the" new" combined their styles so at the end of the qualifying rounds we have heavy names like Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis on the Newport list, as well as new ones, like Mark Joyce and Adam Wicheard.
China might have lost a lot of its snooker ambassadors for the Welsh Open along the way, but there are two brave little Chinese player who managed to pass the endurance test. One of them is Liang Wenbo who hammered both of his opponents, his first victim being David Gilbert, closely followed by Rory McLeod, while the second one is Marco Fu who had to face a very dangerous rival of the green baize, Matthew Selt. However, the Hong Kong resident beat him 4-2 for a place in the tournament.
I am happy to announce you that we have no less than three players from the "legends gang" who are going to pack their bags in the next few hours in order to reach Newport in time.
"The Nugget" Steve Davis is amongst them, the six-time world champion defeating both Lucky Vatnani and Ricky Walden 4-3, followed by Ken Doherty who proved to be in a splendid form by crashing Rod Lawler 4-0 and obtaining a 4-2 result in font of Jamie Cope, while Stephen Hendry, although had only one match to perform in, he did it in the best possible way: by winning it 4-0.
His victim is Kurt Maflin, Norway's snooker ambassador seeing his very good run stopped at the very last minute.
Peter Ebdon is also going to be seen in Wales in the next days, as the player who now lives in Hungary crashed Adam Duffy 4-0, the Irishman Fergal O'Brien ended a very tough match against Mike Dunn by 4-3, while Mark King regained some form to defeat Dave Harold 4-1 and get his "Welsh spot".
The new generation of players is very well represented this year though Adam Wicheard who had to win no less than four matches in order to qualify for the event. He started by hammering Andree Pagett 4-1, continued with a 4-3 in front of Liu Song, then with another 4-1 by playing Jamie Jones, only to end with a very valuable victory of 4-2 in front of Scotland's Marcus Campbell.
|Adam Wicheard gets a place at the venue|
The Pink Army seems to be training its soldiers pretty well as Mark Davis qualified for the tournament, followed by Andy Hicks and the recent winner of the Shoot-Out event, Barry Hawkins.
Not to mention that they have two more recruits who are going to play their qualifying matches at the venue, Dominic Dale and Sam Baird, facing each other.
So after four days of matches here are the final results:
43 Rory McLeod 1 - 4 Liang Wenbo (Winner to play John Higgins at the venue)
44 Mark Davis 4 - 2 Jamie Burnett (Winner to play Ding Junhui at the venue)
46 Tom Ford 4 - 3 Ian McCulloch (Winner to play Graeme Dott at the venue)
47 Andrew Higginson 3 - 4 Mark Joyce (Winner to play Shaun Murphy at the venue)
48 Ricky Walden 3 - 4 Steve Davis (Winner to play Ali Carter at the venue)
49 Jamie Cope 2 - 4 Ken Doherty (Winner to play Mark Allen at the venue)
50 Stephen Hendry 4 - 0 Kurt Maflin (Winner to play Neil Robertson at the venue)
51 Joe Perry 2 - 4 Andy Hicks (Winner to play Mark Williams at the venue)
52 Marco Fu 4 - 2 Matthew Selt (Winner to play Ronnie O'Sullivan at the venue)
53 Mark King 4 - 1 Dave Harold (Winner to play Stuart Bingham at the venue)
54 Fergal O'Brien 4 - 3 Mike Dunn (Winner to play Judd Trump at the venue)
55 Marcus Campbell 2 - 4 Adam Wicheard (Winner to play Stephen Maguire at the venue)
56 Barry Hawkins 4 - 2 Gerard Greene (Winner to play Matthew Stevens at the venue)
57 Peter Ebdon 4 - 0 Adam Duffy (Winner to play Martin Gould at the venue)
This year's Welsh Open is starting this Monday for the next seven days the players engaging themselves in fighting in “gentleman style” on the green baize, at the end of the race only one of them being able to lift the "rocky" trophy.