2016 European Masters (Day One)

00:51:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

The first day of the brand new European Masters here in Bucharest, Romania and I was stuck at work. Neah, just for the first part of the day and that doesn't mean I didn't follow the lads at all.

First things first though, "The Captain" Ali Carter and Anthony McGill, showed the Romanian audience what a real match of snooker looks like. Especially when you finish it on a decider.

McGill broke the ice with a break of 96, but Carter was sure to take the following two to get into the leading position. The Scotsman drew level with a 66, but Carter popped out with a 71 to go 3-2 ahead.

Just a break of 107 was needed for Ants to finish up the match, grab the remaining two frames, and win 4-3 in order to get himself into the Last 16.

John Higgins versus Michael Holt was quite a surprising match because we all had such expectation for a more balanced meeting between these two fine players.

But it wasn't what Higgins was rooting for, the 118 clearance from the opening frame telling the story of the entire match, for that matter.

Despite a scrappy second frame, Higgins hit in breaks of 40 and 104 to get a crystal clear 4-0 victory over Holty and perform the first whitewash of the tournament.

Big hurrah for this match was refereed by Alex Crisan. Just had to point that out. This is his first big occasion to actually referee a ranking tournament match on home soil and you can't buy stuff like that.

Another interesting match was the one between Neil Robertson and Graeme Dott. A match that made us remember the 2010 World Championship final. Not that the actual scoreline was any different from what happened back then.

The opening frame was won by Robertson but when he missed the pink down on 53 during the following frame, Graeme was there for the taking. And a break of 73 was helping it achieve just that,

The Scotsman was close to take the lead, but unfortunately missed on 53 (oh, the irony!), this allowing Robertson to come back to the table and win the frame, as well as the next one, with a top break of 70, for a 3-1 lead.

Dott managed to pull a great 87 out of his hat, but Robertson wrapped it up quite quickly with a 112 to make the scoreboard froze at 4-2.

The evening came and with it the last two qualifying matches of the tournament, the ones that were held-over to take place on Romanian soil. Coincidentally or not, both ended on the same 4-0 result.

Mark Selby defeated Fergal O'Brien after practically firing in breaks of 88, 50, 71 and 109, while Ronnie O'Sullivan, although far from his best, condemned Daniel Wells to an early exit.

The opening frame was a bit of a scrappy snooker affair, but it went Ronnie's way while the second one was conquered thanks to making the best of a tremendous safety shots battle.

The last two frames were won with just a top break of 51, this guaranteeing Ronnie to start his European Masters adventure fair and square,

In other matches, Tom Ford defeated Robin Hull by 4-1, Barry Hawkins survived quite a scare from Michael Wild, 4-3, while Andrew Higginson sent Marco Fu home packing after a 4-0 final result.

The cue action continued tomorrow, as it follows:

Zak Surety v. Lian Wenbo

Alfie Burdern v. Yu Delu
Ben Woollaston v. Judd Trump

Mark Selby v. Dominic Dale
Daniel Womersley v. Mark Allen

Shaun Murphy v. Mark Davis
Luca Brecel v. Scott Donaldson

David Gilbert v. Ronnie O'Sullivan

*all hours are Romania time

Photo credit: Lewis Ward