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Seeds Through on Opening Day in Wales

There are still 32 first-round matches to be played.

Judd Trump, Mark Selby, and Shaun Murphy were among the seeds who qualified for the second round of the Welsh Open on Monday at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.

Trump, who has never won this event, made a shaky start before claiming the last three frames to secure a 4-2 victory over teenager Zhao Jianbo.

The Englishman boasts an incredible record in best-of-seven fixtures, winning each of his last 27 battles over the short distance.

Trump’s most recent defeat in a match lasting seven frames occurred more than a year ago in last season’s World Grand Prix.

The 31 year-old remains on course for a third Home Nations title of this campaign and a fifth ranking glory overall this term.

A Welsh Open finalist in 2017, Trump is the bookies favourite for the title this year and provides several sign-up offers if you fancy backing the world number one.

Selby, meanwhile, wasted a golden opportunity to make a 147 break – missing the final pink to the middle pocket – but comfortably saw off the challenge of veteran Barry Pinches with a 4-1 scoreline.

That outcome was repeated earlier in the day by Murphy, with the defending champion safely negotiating his initial hurdle of Zak Surety.

Former Welsh Open champions John Higgins, Ding Junhui, and Stephen Maguire all advanced to the last 64 as well with respective 4-1 victories, while Mark Allen edged Fraser Patrick 4-2.

The only major casualty of the seeds so far hails from a player who didn’t actually play, with UK champion Neil Robertson withdrawing for personal reasons to offer Mark King a bye through to the next round in Wales.

In the race to next week’s Players Championship, where only the top 16 on the one-year rankings list will participate, Jamie Jones and Zhao Xintong both protected their narrow advantages in 15th and 16th places provisionally with first-round successes.

Welshman Jones overcame the talented Yuan Sijun, with Zhao contributing an excellent 143 in a standout 4-2 triumph against Luca Brecel.

Joe Perry, in 17th before the tournament commenced, survived a late fight back by Chang Bingyu to maintain his hopes of breaking into the bracket in time.

Anthony McGill, David Grace, Hoseein Vafaei, and Murphy himself also feature in the immediate chasing pack, albeit any player in the field can mathematically still qualify with a £70,000 winner’s cheque up for grabs.

Among the others to progress on the first day were home hopefuls Matthew Stevens and Jak Jones.

The last 128 reaches its climax on Tuesday with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams, Jack Lisowski, and recent Shoot Out champion Ryan Day among those entering the fray.

Live coverage is available on BBC Wales, the BBC Red Button, Eurosport, Quest, and by various other options around the world.

Click here to view the Welsh Open draw (Scheduled times in CET)

Featured photo credit: WST

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