Welsh Open seeds
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Welsh Open seeds dominate in heldover matches

The 2023 Welsh Open got under way on Monday with most of the top seeds comfortably advancing in Llandudno.

The top 16 players each had their initial ties in the competition held over to the television stages at the Venue Cymru.

There were only two defeats for members of that bracket, with Stuart Bingham and home hopeful Ryan Day bowing out early on.

The 15th and 16th seeds lost on the opening day to Jackson Page and Stuart Carrington respectively.

Other than that, however, it was mostly easy for the tournament’s biggest contenders who reached the last 64.

Defending champion Joe Perry started the day off with a dominant 4-0 triumph over fellow Englishman Mark King.

World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, record five-time Welsh Open winner John Higgins, and the season’s in-form player Mark Allen were among the other seeds to progress.

O’Sullivan took advantage of a sloppy display from Oliver Lines to win 4-0, while Higgins repeated that scoreline against Alexander Ursenbacher.

Both players require a strong performance this week in order to qualify for the upcoming Players Championship off the one-year rankings list.

The Rocket requires at least a run to the final, while Higgins needs to win the title to secure an invite to Wolverhampton later in February.

Allen is someone who doesn’t have to worry about that having accumulated the most ranking points by far this season.

The Pistol went 1-0 down to Alfie Burden but reeled off the next four frames with the help of a 97 break and a brace of tons.

Elsewhere, Neil Robertson overcame Andrew Higginson 4-1 in what was a repeat of the 2007 Welsh Open final.

Judd Trump, twice a finalist, outplayed David Grace and there were wins for Mark Selby, Jack Lisowski, and Shaun Murphy as well.

Barry Hawkins and Luca Brecel inflicted 4-1 defeats on Ian Burns and Sean O’Sullivan respectively, and Mark Williams got his home campaign off to a positive start with a 4-2 victory over fellow Welshman Michael White.

As the clocks ticked past midnight, invited local amateur Liam Davies also sealed a memorable triumph.

The 16 year-old had been playing at the WSF Championships last week but returned in time to beat Noppon Saengkham in a decider.

Meanwhile, David Gilbert beat Marco Fu 4-2 in a high-scoring battle while Hossein Vafaei, Robbie Williams, and Tian Pengfei made it through too.

The round of 64 gets under way on Tuesday with O’Sullivan, Williams, and Perry among those back in action.

Live coverage of the Welsh Open is available on Eurosport and BBC Wales. Other options around the world are available (information here).

Welsh Open Draw (L64)

Joe Perry vs Mark Joyce
Liam Davies vs Robbie Williams
Stuart Carrington vs Andy Lee
Graeme Dott vs Joe O’Connor
Hammad Miah vs Aaron Hill
Pang Junxu vs Kyren Wilson
Julien Leclercq vs Jordan Brown
Jak Jones vs Mark Williams

Judd Trump vs Louis Heathcote
Matthew Selt vs Daniel Wells
Shaun Murphy vs Peng Yisong
Anthony McGill vs Sam Craigie
David Lilley vs Ricky Walden
Ryan Thomerson vs Jack Lisowski
Yuan Sijun vs Stephen Maguire
Dominic Dale vs Neil Robertson

Mark Selby vs Si Jiahui
Robert Milkins vs Dean Young
Barry Hawkins vs Ben Woollaston
Hossein Vafaei vs Ken Doherty
Cao Yupeng vs Ding Junhui
Elliot Slessor vs Luca Brecel
Andy Hicks vs Wu Yize
Mitchell Mann vs Mark Allen

John Higgins vs Martin Gould
Mohamed Ibrahim vs Sanderson Lam
Tian Pengfei vs Jimmy White
Ali Carter vs Ian Martin
Chris Wakelin vs David Gilbert
Ben Mertens vs Jackson Page
Matthew Stevens vs Rod Lawler
Ross Muir vs Ronnie O’Sullivan

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. O’Sullivan made the last eight on just three occasions until he won his first Welsh Open title, at the 12th attempt, in 2004.

    The result of the day has to be awarded to home amateur Liam Davies in beating Noppon Saengkham 4-3.

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