Updated Tournament Draw
The first televised match of the day was between fan favourite Dominic Dale and Australian Wildcard Steve Mifsud. Dominic had recently moved from Vienna back to the United Kingdom due to all the PTC and Qualifiers being played there this season and it seemed to have helped him today as he fought off Australian wold cup player Steve from 3-2 ahead to win the match 5-2 which included a break of 123 from Dominic.
Strangely on the other table it was the last 16 match between Shaun Murphy and Rory McLeod, even though there were several last 32 matches that still needed to be played. Shaun didn't let Rory's stalling tactics get to him and he walked away a comfortable winner at 5-1 and is the first man through to the quarter-finals.
Dominic's opponent in the last 32 is Australian favourite and 2010 world champion Neil Robertson. He had a tough opener against this year's Snooker Shoot-Out champion and former world finalist; Nigel Bond. The first few frames weren't vintage but Neil had the run of the ball and lead 3-1 going into the first session.
He looked settled throughout the match and didn't seem to care about all the travelling he had done recently and quick established a 4-1 lead over Nigel. The Englishman wasn't going to let Neil have it all his own way though as he took the next one to go 4-2 behind. He nearly won the next frame to go to 4-3 but a string of bad luck and a poorly judged safety allowed Neil to take the final frame and to win the match 5-2. Neil looked quite good in spells and seems to want to impress infront of his home crowd, a strong contender for the title.
The televised match in the afternoon featured the current world, uk and welsh champion John Higgins and Matthew Selt from Romford who has only qualified for two venues before, incidently losing to John Higgins in the last 32 of the Grand Prix 2 years ago. As exptected John dominated the first section of the match to lead Matt 4-1 but no one expected what would be coming next.
The world no.43 took the next three frames in a row to force the decider at 4-4. The last frame was an obviously scrappy affair but a couple loose safety shots from an obviously drained John let Matt in. He needed several attempts but he got them and he potted a few great balls at the end to win the match 5-4 and record arguably his best victory of his career since beating Steve Davis 5-4 in the final round of the Shanghai Masters qualifiers in 2009.
John hasn't had the best of records overseas, out of his 22 ranking titles only 4 have come from events outside the UK. I feel though that once he is back doing BBC events and PTC's he will be back to near his best and will be contesting many titles this year I am sure. Matt's opponent in the last 16 is none other than Stephen Hendry who beat Martin Gould 5-3 yesterday. Very tough to call the winner of that one.
The other shock of the day in one of the non-televised matches was between Shanghai Masters champion Ali Carter and last year's EPTC3 champion Marcus Campbell of Scotland. Marcus has has a resurgence of form in the last two seasons and it continued today when he won the match 5-3 event with Ali making the tournament high break of 134.
Ali having played recently in the Wuxi Classic and the World Cup has been travelling a lot recently and probably suffered from overburn. Take nothing away from Marcus though, he goes through to face Mark Allen who was a 5-3 winner over Ryan Day. A great result for the On Q Promotions team as Mark Davis also made it through yesterday so all three of their boys are in the last 16!
DAY 2 RESULTS:
Shaun Murphy 5-1 Rory McLeod
Matthew Selt 5-4 John Higgins
Marcus Campbell 5-3 Allister Carter
Mark Allen 5-3 Ryan Day
Neil Robertson 5-2 Nigel Bond
Dominic Dale 5-2 Steve Mifsud
Allister Carter 134
Dominic Dale 123
Rory McLeod 100