Ken Doherty Gibraltar Open

Irish Duo into Last 32

Veteran Dubliners Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien secured two deciding frame victories on the second day of the Welsh Open to reach the third round.

Ken Doherty Riga
Doherty won the Welsh Open in 1993 and 2001- photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The Irish pair, who together have more than half a century of professional years on the Main Tour under their belt, edged out David Gilbert and Ali Carter respectively.

O’Brien’s victory over the 2009 champion was particularly impressive as, in trademark fashion, he fought to the very death by coming from 3-1 down to win the last three frames.

By contrast, two-time champion Doherty had to withstand a similar fight back from Gilbert but compiled a steely 72 in the seventh frame to reach the last 32 for the second ranking event in succession.

Both men face stiff opposition if they are to continue their runs, though, with O’Brien up against world no.1 Mark Selby and Doherty taking on top 16 member Joe Perry.

As you’d expect in the short best of seven format, there were several encounters which went the distance, although most of the marquee names avoided an early exit.

That is with the notable exception of Ricky Walden, whose severe lack of form continue with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Yu Delu.

However, Shaun Murphy, Ding Junhui, Mark Allen, Michael White, Barry Hawkins, Ryan Day, Martin Gould, Luca Brecel and Graeme Dott all survived the scare of being taken all the way and ultimately continued their quest for glory in Cardiff.

It was a little more comfortable for Neil Robertson and Judd Trump, who only dropped a frame each in their respective triumphs over Stuart Carrington and Rory McLeod, and even easier still for multiple world champions Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins.

The duo, who have also won seven Welsh Open titles between them including the last two, combined for a total of four century breaks in their comprehensive 4-0 routs.

O’Sullivan especially looked imperious, making effortless breaks of 112, 110, 102 and 90 as he destroyed a helpless Tian Pengfei.

Elsewhere, Mark Williams, the only Welshman to win the tournament, maintained his attempt at a third title by beating Rod Lawler 4-2 while Matthew Stevens enjoyed a similar success over Martin O’Donnell – ensuring there would be four home favourites still in with a shout of lifting the trophy.

Meanwhile, UK Championship runner-up Liang Wenbo beat Gary Wilson 4-1, the same margin of victory in which Marco Fu, Mark Davis, Matthew Selt, Anthony McGill, Alan McManus, Ben Woollaston, Kurt Maflin, Jimmy Robertson and Dechawat Poomjaeng all enjoyed against their challengers.

Finally, Michael Georgiou earned a surprise 4-2 win over Peter Ebdon while Anthony Hamilton maintained his slim hopes of staying inside the top 64 in the rankings this season, which would regain his place on the tour, with a 4-2 defeat of Allan Taylor.

The full round of 32 will be completed on Wednesday at the Motorpoint Arena.

Click here to view the draw.

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