It’s been a long slew of ranking events in only very little time for the big guns whose fingers could be twitching from having to deal with the billiards every other day.
To set the record straight, only the fans of the sport and Neil Robertson would have enjoyed this uptight schedule with the latter having finished in three finals and winning two of those.
It’s a Home Nations trophy up for grabs this time. Who’s got the drive? Who’s got the passion? These are questions that will be resolved in only a few days to come.
One of the tournament’s favorite, Ding Junhui began his chase for the trophy with an opening-round duel against Marco Fu. However, it was the Asian’s opponent who got the quickest start to the game, finishing the first frame with a bang! The world number 52 recorded an 80-0 in the opening frame, taking out Junhui in style.
Junhui soon turned the tables around, taking a 3-2 lead after five frames. The UK Championship winner then sealed his comeback, posting a 4-2 scorecard in the process.
Elsewhere, Stephen Maguire was poised to take on Rod Lawler for size. Maguire started on the front foot, racing to a 2-0 lead and looked in danger of running away with the win. However, with five frames gone, Lawler was close to forcing a deciding frame with the scores at 3-2. What an electric thriller was turning out to be. Well, not until Maguire edged out his opponent in the sixth frame. Stephen wouldn’t care less about the attempted comeback as he secured safe passage into the next round.
Former World Grand Prix quarter-finalist, Yuan Sijun was also in action against Thor
Chuan Leong. Sijun was superb from the start to the finish. So incredible was he that he swept out his opponent in only 59 minutes. The teenager recorded a whitewash against his opponent, recording a 4-0 win. With the win, Sijun set himself up for a last-64 meeting with Jimmy Robertson.
World number 12, David Gilbert also took to the table on opening day but was defeated by Matthew Stevens. Stevens, a former Crucible finalist, made huge statements in the game with centuries of 111 and 139 before recording a 4-2 triumph over his opponent.
Written by: Roland Arum