The first round of the Indian Open was completed on Wednesday with most of the big seeds going through in Hyderabad.
The notable exception was 2015 runner-up Ricky Walden, the fourth seed going down 4-1 to Nigel Bond, while Ryan Day also suffered at the hands of the much-improved John Astley.
Astley, who featured in the play called ‘The Nap’ which was successfully staged at the Crucible Theatre earlier this year, had runs of 91, 90 and 88 in a high-scoring affair with the Welshman in which he prevailed in a decider.
Apart from those two defeats, it was plain sailing for the other favourites with Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams, Marco Fu, Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire all progressing to the last 32 unscathed.
Williams, however, tweeted afterwards that he had been ill prior to his contest with Zhang Yong and contemplated withdrawing.
Acquiring food poisoning while in India isn’t unheard of – in fact, it’s almost a requisite of passage such has been its frequency of occurrence.
One player well used to the food and customs is home favourite Pankaj Advani, and he continued his campaign as an invited wildcard with a 4-0 drubbing of Elliot Slessor.
Advani is an amateur these days having relinquished his professional status in order to pursue his billiards career – in which he is a multiple world champion – but is still more than capable of ruffling a few feathers in this short format, particularly with the support of a partisan crowd.
Meanwhile, another amateur in David Lilley has reached the second round after the Q-School finalist beat Mike Dunn 4-2.
Elsewhere, there were tight deciding frame victories for Mark Davis, Sam Baird, Xiao Guodong and Anthony Hamilton, who continues his resurgence in form over the last number of months.
It was looking very possible that last season could have been the end of Hamilton’s career but he strung a few wins together late in the campaign to survive the cut, and has seemingly carried some of that confidence into this new term.
The 45 year-old is arguably the best player to have never won a ranking event and is in a very open top half of the draw so could threaten if he can maintain his level of play.
The ‘Sheriff’ will take on Gary Wilson for a last 16 berth while Peter Ebdon, Matthew Selt and Anthony McGill are among the others who booked their spots in the second round.
With regard the the Eurosport Player issue, it has been confirmed that there will be coverage on the subscription service for the last two days of action on Friday and Saturday.
While it is indeed good that the problem was sorted out in time for the tournament’s conclusion, it still doesn’t mask the fact that it is ridiculous this happened in the first place.
The announcement of a ten-year deal with Eurosport was highly-publicised during the World Championship and there have been months since to iron out the logistics to ensure a smooth transition into the new platform.
It’s all very World Snooker unfortunately, which is in fairness becoming a more professional organisation year by year, but is still prone to this kind of amateurish gaffe.
Categories: Snooker News