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Stars Surge in World Open

It was a relatively straightforward day for the marquee players as the first round of the World Open came to a conclusion on Tuesday.

Neil RobertsonDefending champion Shaun Murphy, world champion Mark Selby, Crucible runner-up Ding Junhui, and former world number ones John Higgins and Neil Robertson all advanced to the last 32 unscathed.

For Murphy and Robertson, the duo were each challenged strongly in the afternoon session before ultimately coming through their respective ties with Cao Yupeng and Ian Burns 5-2.

Australia’s Robertson, who won the Riga Masters at the outset of the campaign, knocked in two tons and three other runs above 60 but was still made to work very hard for his victory – stealing a pivotal fifth frame on the black when the scores were level.

Later in the day, Selby and Higgins enjoyed the better of proceedings in their 5-2 successes over Alfie Burden and Oliver Lines.

Home favourite Ding Junhui, meanwhile, made light work of Robin Hull as he lost just the single frame to the Finn.

In all, four of the Chinese contingent qualified for the second round on day two, with Liang Wenbo, Zhang Anda and Zhou Yuelong all joining 29 year-old Ding.

Zhang outplayed former world champion Peter Ebdon for a 5-1 triumph while young Zhou Yuelong, one of the most promising players on the tour at present, recorded a similar scoreline in defeat of amateur compatriot Huang Jiahao.

Arguably the biggest upset in a day of few surprises of note came in the shape of Thor Chuan Leong’s 5-3 win over Luca Brecel.

The Malaysian fought back from 3-0 down to sensationally deny the German Masters runner-up.

Elsewhere, ranking event champions Ricky Walden, Ali Carter and Graeme Dott all advanced – the latter with a late 5-4 deciding frame victory against Duane Jones.

Riga finalist Michael Holt reeled off five frames on the trot in a 5-2 defeat of Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien, while Matthew Selt also came from behind to beat Matthew Stevens.

Finally, Welshman Daniel Wells ensured that there would be no amateur run in this event similar to those of Darren Morgan in Latvia and David Lilley in India following a 5-3 win over wildcard Xu Si.

The last 32 in its entirety is contested on Wednesday in Yushan.

Among the most intriguing encounters are the match-ups between Indian Open champion Anthony McGill and Walden, Selby against Thai talent Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, and Carter’s clash with 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham.

Click here to view the draw.

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.