Matthew Stevens sails through but Higgins and Murphy crash out in Newport
HOME favourite Matthew Stevens eased through to round two of the BetVictor Welsh Open snooker at the Newport Centre today.
Carmarthen’s Stevens was a 4-2 winner over Chinese star Liang Wenbo, who had beaten Ryan Day in the preliminary round but could not add a second Welsh scalp.
He will now face former UK champion Stephen Maguire, who was in good form in a 4-2 win over Anthony Hamilton with breaks of 89 and 100 in the early stages.
“I have played Anthony a few times this season and he has beaten me,” said the Scot.
“He’s a great player and he was scoring heavily at the start. It was a good match for the first four frames and then we both struggled.”
The shock of the day saw Ken Doherty dump three-time champion John Higgins out of the event with a shock 4-1 win.
World number five Higgins had been in fine form on Monday, beating Wales’ Gareth Allen 4-1 with breaks of 120, 99 and 97, but could not replicate that display against his fellow former world champion.
Doherty took the first two frames but Higgins won a tense third, clearing from the green to settle a low-scoring and closely-fought frame.
Doherty needed several attempts to wrap up the next frame, but finally did so by potting the final brown to move within one frame of victory.
A break of 46 put him in control in the next and Higgins’ response stalled at 14 before the Irishman sealed victory.
Australian ace Neil Robertson, the 2007 champion, made breaks of 71, 56 and 70 in a routine 4-1 win over Ian Burns while Mark Allen overcame Marco Fu 4-2.
Sam Baird made short work of an upset win over Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene, a break of 73 wrapping up a 4-0 win for the world number 89.
In the evening session there was another shock as little-known Indian Pankaj Advani beat Shaun Murphy, another former world champion, 4-3, while Alan McManus overcame Barry Hawkins 4-2.
Tomorrow’s schedule: 10.30am – Craig Steadman v Stuart Bingham, Andrew Higginson v Michael Wasley; 1.30pm – Ding Junhui v Mark King, Judd Trump v Dominic Dale; 2pm – Joe Perry v Mark Selby, Ricky Walden v Tom Ford; 7pm – Robert Milkins v Mark Williams, Graeme Dott v Fergal O'Brien