Shaun Murphy
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Shaun Murphy Suffers Shock Defeat in Cardiff

Shaun Murphy became the biggest casualty of the Welsh Open so far after being whitewashed by Gerard Greene in the opening round in Cardiff on Tuesday.

Welsh Open
Greene, right, was the runner-up in the 2014 Players Championship Grand Final. Photo credit: World Snooker

The Englishman, with the Champion of Champions title under his belt along with three additional runs to the finals of ranking events, has been one of the in-form players of the campaign but was out of sorts against the journeyman 44-year-old.

Greene, who returned to the Main Tour this season after dropping off the professional circuit a year earlier, began with a nice break of 65 and never looked back – winning the fourth and last frame despite a 51 from his more esteemed opponent.

Murphy’s demise was about the only major upset as the first round of the last Home Nations series event of the campaign reached its conclusion at the Motorpoint Arena.

Home favourite Mark Williams, a three-time tournament winner this term, silenced his critics from early in the week with an impressive display that included a brace of centuries in beating Mark King 4-2.

Williams and countryman Darren Morgan came to blows, not for the first time in their long careers, on Monday after comments the latter made to BBC Wales following his defeat in the wildcard round.

Meanwhile, John Higgins similarly scored a couple of tons as he edged Matthew Selt by the same scoreline while countrymen Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill advanced with respective victories over Joe Perry and Basem Eltahhan.

Maguire and McGill are among a group of players embroiled in a tense battle to ultimately hold a top 16 ranking before the start of the World Championship in April – thus, avoiding the dreaded qualifiers in Sheffield.

In 11th place provisionally in the Race to the Crucible standings, Kyren Wilson is better placed to gain an automatic berth at the Crucible and the Kettering cueist boosted his position further with a 4-1 success against Robert Milkins.

Wilson looked set to compile a maximum in the third frame only to break down on the 14th black but the 26 year-old did enough to book a second-round clash with Rory McLeod, who beat Adam Duffy 4-2.

Elsewhere, Luca Brecel came from two frames behind to deny struggling Irishman Josh Boileau a rare berth in the last 64 while a bad tournament for the Irish got worse as Ken Doherty and Leo Fernandez exited at the hands of Matthew Stevens and Sam Craigie respectively.

Recent Snooker Shoot Out king Michael Georgiou continued his upsurge in form with a confident 4-0 rout of Mitchell Mann while fellow ranking event winners Martin Gould and Liang Wenbo progressed too with more hard-fought triumphs.

England’s Jack Lisowski constructed four sizable contributions to deny Mark Joyce in a decider, matching Ben Woollaston, David Grace, Oliver Lines, Jak Jones, and Stuart Carrington who all squeezed through after being taken the distance.

Among the others to move forward were Chinese trio Yu Delu, Lyu Haotian, and Xu Si – the latter courtesy of a scrappy 4-0 victory over former runner-up Alan McManus.

On Wednesday, favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan will contest his first match after superbly capturing the World Grand Prix crown on Sunday against the in-form Graeme Dott, while Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, and Judd Trump are also back in action in Wales.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport and Quest TV.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy