Updated Tournament Draw
The tournament kicked off at 1PM local time with the match between former world champion Shaun Murphy and former Welsh Open finalist Andrew Higginson. It was a hard fought affair between the two but the more experienced Shaun came out on top 5-3. Shaun won the first PTC Grand Finals a few months back, can he win the first Australian Open? He goes on to face Rory McLeod who beat seed Peter Ebdon in a typically slow-paced match 5-3.
On the other table in the morning it was victory for David Gilbert who recently regained his place on the main tour via the Q School who beat wildcard James Mifsud 5-1. David recently also reached the last 16 of PTC1 so his strong form continues as he goes on to face the winner of the Mark Williams v Barry Pinches match on Wednesday.
The first televised match of the day was between world championship runner-up and China Open champion Judd Trump and the world no.19 from Sussex; Mark Davis. Judd was not at the races though and possibly still suffering from jet lag he fell 3-0 behind with Mark making breaks of 84, 91 and 58. Judd got some form back as he scored 52 and 89 in the next two to come back to 3-2 behind.
It wasn't too be though for the rising young star as Mark won the next two including a 52 break in the sixth to win the match 5-3. Judd lost his opening match in PTC1 and now here in Oz. Lets hope for his armies of fans here and overseas that he puts in a better show at the next few PTCs in August. Mark soldiers on to the next round to face either Mark Selby or Joe Perry.
The other afternoon match was the one between Masters semi-finalist Jamie Cope and last year's PTC3 champion; Tom Ford. Jamie Cope made the first century break of the tournament a 102 but it wasn't enough for the Shotgun from Stoke. Tom ultimately won the match 5-3 which is a great victory for the player from Leicester as he hasnt showed much form in 2011 so far. He will face the winner of the match between world cup champion Ding Junhui & Stuart Bingham, a more sterner test perhaps.
The evening saw the match between PTC Finals finalist Martin Gould and former 7-times world champion Stephen Hendry. As per usual in recent times, Stephen raced to an early lead, taking the first two frames. Martin took the next two frames to go 2-2 heading into the mid-session interval and on their return Hendry then stole the next after Gould overstretched and missed the final red to lead 3-2, but Gould took the next to go back all-square at 3-3.
A beautiful long red let Stephen first in, in the 6th frame which he duly made a 120 break out of. Stephen then finished the match with a beautiful 59 to win the match 5-3 and to face either John Higgins or Matthew Selt in the last 16. This is a great sign for Stephen Hendry who seemed to be playing with a new cue also, hopefully he will put in a better showing at the start of this season than compared to last years and maybe even reach his goal of getting back in to the top 8.
It is great to see on day one of the event that even in the morning session there was a healthy spattering of people in the audience for the Judd Trump v Mark Davis & Jamie Cope v Tom Ford matches. It improved vastly in the evening though for the Stephen Hendry v Martin Gould and Peter Ebdon v Rory McLeod matches.
It will be interesting to see if the crowds will be as big for the matches that have the lesser known top 16 players internationally such as Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire. The semi’s, the final and of course the matches that feature Neil Robertson should all be packed out hopefully.
The first thing that I noticed when I watched the my first match; Stephen Hendry v Martin Gould, is that there were adverts on the boards that said “Melbourne” all over the place and on the waistcoats of the players.
It’s a bit confusing to people watching thinking that the event Is taking place in Melbourne, where is it actually in Bendigo which is 150km away. Maybe they plan to hold it in Melbourne next year if it is successful? It would be more appropriate considering its Neil Robertson’s home town.
DAY 1 RESULTS:
Shaun Murphy 5-3 Andrew Higginson
Dave Gilbert 5-1 James Mifsud
Judd Trump 3-5 Mark Davis
Jamie Cope 3-5 Tom Ford
Stephen Hendry 5-3 Martin Gould
Peter Ebdon 3-5 Rory McLeod
Jamie Cope 102
Stephen Hendry 120