Seeds Stumble in Welsh Open

The third day of action in the Welsh Open was full of upsets as Irish rookie Josh Boileau was among those who moved into the last 32 in Cardiff.

Josh Boileau European U-21 Champ
Boileau with the trophy which helped him turn pro. Photo credit: PJ Nolan

The 21 year-old recorded an impressive 4-2 victory over Shaun Murphy, an idol who inspired the Kildare cueist to start playing after his unlikely run to World Championship success in 2005.

Boileau raced into a 3-0 lead over the Englishman before withstanding a fight back, eventually getting over the winning post without the need of a decider.

It’s clearly Boileau’s biggest triumph of his fledgling career, with Robert Milkins standing in the 2016 European Under-21 champion’s way of a maiden run to the last 16 of a ranking tournament.

Murphy wasn’t the only star name to tumble as several seeds were sent crashing out at the Motorpoint Arena.

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson both exited in seven-frame thrillers to Mark Davis and Lee Walker respectively.

O’Sullivan squandered a 3-0 lead against Davis, while Welshman Walker delighted the home crowd despite a tournament-high run of 143 from his illustrious opponent.

Former six-red world champion Davis will next meet Dubliner Fergal O’Brien while Walker faces 2006 world champion Graeme Dott in a top quarter of the draw which is now wide open.

Hong Kong’s Marco Fu and fellow tournament winners this season in Liang Wenbo, Anthony McGill, and Mark King also bowed out.

Fu was heavily beaten by young Scot Ross Muir while Liang missed out in a decider to Michael White.

Overall, it was a decent day for the Welsh as joining Walker and White in the fourth round were Dominic Dale and 15 year-old Jackson Page, who earned a second successive 4-3 victory in the tournament – this time against John Astley.

The schoolboy’s reward is a headline grabbing encounter with Judd Trump, one of the few favourites still left in the draw.

Others to avoid an early exit were Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, Stuart Bingham, Mark Allen, and Ali Carter – making it only six top 16 ranked players who are still gunning for glory in the last Home Nations event of the campaign.

Selby plays young Chinese talent Yan Bingtao while Hawkins meets Thepchaiya Un-Nooh after the enigmatic Thai dispatched of Ryan Day.

Among the remaining competitors to advance was German Masters champion Anthony Hamilton, who continued his fine form with a 4-1 success against Jamie Cope.

The Thursday in these 128 events is always the most hectic for the players with two rounds to move through.

By the end of the day’s play, the eight quarter-finalists will be known and the tournament’s eventual champion may become that little be clearer.

That said, if the underdogs continue to rise up, it might not prove to be so straightforward.

Click here to view the draw.


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