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O’Sullivan and Ding Safely Through

The opening day of the Welsh Open went by without too much of note happening.

With 64 opening round encounters to be played over the short, PTC-like, best of seven format, one would expect there to be a higher number of early shocks than usual.

However, most of the bigger names on the opening day progressed unscathed with Robert Milkins being the only top 16 player to have exited so far.

Despite taking a 2-1 lead, the Gloucester potter lost the next three frames to lose to Scott Donaldson and ensure a second successive first round exit in a ranking event.

Arguably the biggest result for a player ranked lower down the rankings, though, came from Welshman Andrew Pagett with the world no.105 taking advantage of playing on home turf by whitewashing Marcus Campbell 4-0.

Countryman Matthew Stevens would have been expected to have recorded a similar scoreline against amateur Adam Wicheard but in fact was made to work a lot harder than his compatriot.

Stevens, struggling for the most part of the season, needed all seven frames to get past a tough battle.

There were no such concerns for those who are among the favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday week.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who surprised some by even entering the tournament, eased past amateur Mitchell Travis 4-1 while defending champion Stephen Maguire repeated the trick against Elliot Slessor.

2012 champion Ding Junhui, bidding for a fifth ranker of the season, was made to work hard in his opening bout but came through a 4-2 winner against the dangerous Gary Wilson.

Wilson compiled runs of 84 and 75 but breaks of 121, 57, 77 and 82 ensured that Ding emerged unscathed despite a tough test.

Another former champion in Ali Carter beat Andrew Norman 4-1 while Mike Dunn, scrapping to keep his Main Tour place, squeezed past Aditya Mehta 4-3.

Englishmen David Gilbert and Andrew Higginson recovered from unexpected defeats in the China Open qualifiers to beat Duane Jones and Martin O’Donnell respectively while countryman Jimmy Robertson saw off Luca Brecel 4-2.

Finally, there were victories for Jamie Cope, Barry Pinches, Gerard Greene, Sam Baird and Ian Burns.

The full draw can be viewed here.



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Snooker Shoot Out – won by Hossein Vafaei.

1. Mark Selby
2. Judd Trump
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. John Higgins
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Mark Williams
9. Zhao Xintong
10. Stephen Maguire
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Stuart Bingham
13. Mark Allen
14. Anthony McGill
15. Yan Bingtao
16. Luca Brecel

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy