News

Williams Flying Welsh Flag

World no.1 Neil Robertson crashed out of the Welsh Open in the third round to home favourite Mark Williams on Wednesday.

The Australian, who did manage to add to his centuries tally to go to 88 for the season, was downed 4-3 by Williams – the only Welshman to have won this tournament since its inception in 1992.

Williams emerged with the trophy twice, but the last of which came 15 years ago in 1999 and he is now the last remaining hope after a poor day for the host nation.

Matthew Stevens contested his second decider of the event but came out the wrong end of a 4-3 scoreline to Joe Perry while Dominic Dale and Andrew Pagett were whitewashed by Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire respectively.

The latter is making a good fist of his defence but could potentially come up against the in-form Ding Junhui in the quarter-finals.

First up for the Scot, though, is the talented 19 year-old Joel Walker, who reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time following a 4-1 defeat of Thai veteran James Wattana.

Despite Robertson’s loss, all in all it was another pretty good day for the top seeds.

Ding was made to work very hard in a tough encounter with England’s Ben Woollaston but eventually scrambled over the line 4-3, having initially led 3-1.

Another former champion in Ronnie O’Sullivan had a more comfortable time of it, recording his third successive 4-1 victory, on this occasion over Xiao Guodong.

The ‘Rocket’ will play Ricky Walden for a place in the last 8 after the Chester cueist ousted Anthony Hamilton.

Walden won’t be overly happy with the outcome of the draw given the fact that he was dismantled 6-0 by O’Sullivan in the Masters – an encounter in which the world champion accumulated a record 556 unanswered point.

Elsewhere, Judd Trump and John Higgins set up a repeat of their epic World Championship final clash of three years ago after easy wins but it was misery for Shaun Murphy after the Gdynia Open champion lost the last three frames to lose in a decider to Liang Wenbo.

The Chinese will play Barry Hawkins, who was also taken the distance by Jack Lisowski, in the fourth round.

Mark Allen’s horrible season in the main ranking events continued as he was edged out by 2009 winner Ali Carter while Marco Fu knocked out Graeme Dott to set up a clash with Williams.

Finally, Scotland’s Scott Donaldson, who has shown a lot of promise over the course of this campaign, squeaked past Andrew Higginson 4-3 in a day of six deciders and Stuart Bingham continued his run with a 4-2 win over Michael Holt.

There are many potential match-ups that could prove interesting later on in the tournament but one that many will be hoping for is a final between Ding and O’Sullivan, which for now remains a distinct possibility.

The full draw can be viewed here.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.