2015 World Grand Prix (Day 1) - Robertson & Maguire in top form

02:03:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Here we are, the first day of the 2015 888.com World Grand Prix has come to and end and boy, what a day it's been! 

North Wales's Llandudno city was happy to host this magnificent event and I can't but congratulate the entire team that's been involved into establishing this event. The setting looks spot on (blue, but spot on), elegant and quite electric.

But now, back to snooker and the first matches of this year's World Grand Prix tournament. First names that come to mind? Neil Robertson and Stephen Maguire. Both of them with top performances.

Neil Robertson took on Belgium's best, Luca Brecel, but the 20-year-old didn't stand a chance in front of the Australian's fury!

Robbo started his conquest with a break of 64, followed by a 43, 79 and a 121 clearance. Yes, it was 4-0 scoreline and yes it was the first whitewash of the tournament!

Very happy to have had such a great start, Robbo said in the press conference: "It's been a good season so far - everyone's hungry so it's hard to win tournaments."

On the other hand, Stephen Maguire's fire started to "shine bright like a diamond" (a bit of Rihanna for the music aficionados) as the Scotsman defeated China's Xiao Guodong by 4-1. And we all know how dangerous Xiao is.

Maguire, who recently celebrated his 34th birthday (that reminds me I haven't made him a birthday card, shame on me!) kicked off in great style with back-to-back century breaks (108 and 122) and continued with a 60 break to go 3-0 up.

Xiao kept the match alive with a great 89 break, but in the end it was the Scotsman who had the last word. A break of 52 was sealing his well-deserved victory.

"I played well, I surprised myself... a couple of weeks off seems to have done the world of good", said the Scotsman after the match.

Of course that we can't overlook the reigning world champion performance, Mark Selby, who beat Michael Holt by a 4-1 scoreline, although the match itself was a bit of a struggle.

Holt was the first one in and took the opener with a good 42 clearance, but Selby responded with a 110 and a 95 to go 2-1 up.

The 4th frame was quite a dramatic one, but in the end Selby managed to clinch it on the black, while the following one was won with a top break of 68.

The current world number one will face Martin Gould in the next round, Martin being actually his "arena room-mate" for he played against Alan McManus at a near table.

Gouldie took the first three frames with top runs of 59 and 43 before McManus used a 54 to pull one back; Martin finished in style, a 71 break securing him a place in the next round.

Ronnie O'Sullivan obtained a 4-2 victory in front of Rod Lawler, but despite the scoreline it was a very, very hard battle.

The Rocket was the first to break the ice with runs of 31 and 23, to which his opponent responded with a brilliant 115 clearance (that took him about 45 minutes!).

O'Sullivan put his nose back in front with a 53 break, but Rod drew level and kept the pressure on. Still, Ronnie kept on potting, in the end runs of 54 and 49 taking him over the finish-line.

Although not quite in the best frame of mind, after the match Ronnie stated: "If I can sharpen up my game in the next couple of days, I should be alright for a win".

The second whitewash of the tournament was performed by Matthew Selt who left Barry Hawkins speechless (so to say), but not all the players had it so "easy".

Stuart Bingham and Anthony McGill fought on for quite some time and ended up playing all the possible frames (seven, if case you were wondering), as well as Mark Allen and Liang Wenbo, the ones prevailing this genuine test of endurance and strategy being Bingham and Wenbo.

The battle of cues continues tomorrow on ITV 4 as it follows:

Shaun Murphy v. Peter Ebdon
Joe Perry v. Ben Woolaston

Ricky Walden v. Ding Junhui
Marco Fu v. Mark Davis

Mark Williams v. Ryan Day
John Higgins v. Graeme Dott

Judd Trump v. Dominic Dale
Robert Milkins v. Michael White

*all hours are UK time