Welsh Open 2011 - First Round Preview & Schedule

Welsh Open 2011 - First Round Preview & Schedule

It's time for the third oldest event on the pro tour and the final event which decides who will have to qualify for the World Championship, the Wyldecrest Park Homes Welsh Open! Defending champion John Higgins will be looking to retain the trophy at the Newport Centre, Newport.

This preview features all of the big matches in the first round (last 32) of the tournament, all of them should hopefully be the ones that are televised by EuroSport and BBC Wales and the full match schedule is available at the bottom of the article. (All times are GMT).


Wyldecrest Parks Welsh Open


Mon 11:00 Ding Junhui (Chn) v Marcus Campbell (Sco)

Interesting tie to start off the tournament on Monday morning. Both players have had a good season so far, Ding winning the Masters and Marcus winning an EPTC event and getting back into the top 32. His place their is not 100% secure yet though and he will be under added pressure to win this match so he can guarantee only needing to win one match to reach the Crucible. This should be an easy win for Ding based on recent form also (4-1 to Ding).

Mon 14:00 - John Higgins (Sco) v Jack Lisowski (Eng)

Possibly my favourite match-up of the day. Higgins is the defending champion here and will want to win the tournament to honor the memory of his father who passed away last week. He faces the unknown in the form of newcomer Jack who is in his second consecutive televised ranking tournament. Already securely into the top 64 and guaranteed to stay on the tour this season, he can completely focus on just the task at hand. The vastly experienced Higgins probably will be to much for him at this point though (4-2 to John).


Tue 13:00 - Mark Williams (Wal) v Marco Fu (HK)

This one is probably the hardest to predict and should be of the highest quality. Mark's home tournament hasn't been his greatest hunting ground recently but winning the German Masters last week could give him that added confidence boost. Also on the back of his mind will be that unless John Higgins does well also he will be World no.1 for the first time since the 03/04 season if he wins the tournament. Masters finalist Marco will be under more pressure here though. Currently 16th on the provisional ranking list, he needs a win to almost guarantee his spot at the Crucible as Stuart Bingham is only 750 points behind him. Due to this added pressure I expect Mark to come through a narrow winner (4-3 to Mark).

Tue 14:00 - Mark Selby (Eng) v Stuart Bingham (Eng)

Hopefully we can see the end of this match on television also as it is a vital one for Stuart. He will need a good run in this tournament and hope that Marco Fu looses to Mark Williams in their match to replace him in the top 16 which will put a bit of added pressure on him. He is certainly capable of beating Mark in this short format though, but the Jester from Leicester will be looking for capture this tournament to make up for loosing in the German Masters final last week. Because of this I highly favour Mark to go through to round two. (4-2 to Mark).

Tue 19:00 - Neil Robertson (Aus) v Nigel Bond (Eng)

Currently sitting at 34th in the rankings, Snooker Shoot-out champion Nigel will be looking to pull of a big upset here against Neil and with a run to the quarters he could make the top 32 at the expense of Marcus Campbell. Neil will be looking to put the loss against Anthony Hamilton in the German Masters first round behind him and re-take the Welsh Open trophy which he first won 2007. I expect Neil to pull through here but Nigel could easily upset (4-2 to Neil).


Wed 13:00 - Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Matthew Stevens (Wal) or Anthony Hamilton (Eng)

Looking at the draw Murphy potentially has a good chance of winning this tournament if he puts his mind to it. He faces either local favourite Matthew Stevens or Anthony Hamilton who play their qualifying match at the Newport Centre on Monday morning. Matthew sitting at 23rd on the list needs to win the tournament to get into the top 16 in time for the Crucible seeding, not likely but maybe his home crowd will inspire him. Anthony looked sharp in beating Neil Robertson in Germany but could come unstuck against Matthew here. Whoever makes it through I still highly fancy Shaun Murphy to beat them and be a serious title contender. (4-1 to Shaun).

Wed 19:00 - Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) v Ryan Day (Wal) or Jimmy White (Eng)

Whoever wins the qualifying match, the Welsh crowd will be having a good time on this evening! Jimmy faces local favourite Ryan on Monday evening for the right to face Ronnie on Wednesday. That match could be a close one, Jimmy has been playing his best Snooker for years recently, going back to 58th in the rankings which guarantees his place on the tour next season. Ryan looked down and out during the first half of this season but has clawed his way back up to 22nd with some consistant results, so either player stands a chance, but a match between Ronnie and Jimmy would be one to savour. Hopefully this will entice Ronnie to turn up for this tournament as well as a potential quarter-final clash against Higgins. Whoever Ronnie faces in the first round, I expect it could go down to the wire (4-3 to Ronnie).


Bookies are favouring the likes of Higgins, Williams and Ronnie to win the tournament for obvious reasons, but Graeme Dott, Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu have all had decent seasons, have quite decent draws and could be strong contenders to take the title in Newport this week.


Full tournament first-round schedule and draw:


Mon 14:00 - John Higgins (Sco) v Jack Lisowski (Eng)

Mon 11:00 - Ricky Walden (Eng) v Dave Harold (Eng)

Wed 19:00 - Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) v Ryan Day (Wal)/Jimmy White (Eng)

Wed 13:00 - Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Matthew Stevens (Wal)/Anthony Hamilton (Eng)

Mon 13:00 - Ali Carter (Eng) v Barry Hawkins (Eng)

Tue 14:00 - Peter Ebdon (Eng) v Dominic Dale (Wal)

Tue 13:00 - Mark Allen (NI) v Rod Lawler (Eng)

Mon 11:00 - Ding Junhui (Chn) v Marcus Campbell (Sco)

Tue 13:00 - Mark Williams (Wal) v Marco Fu (HK)

Mon 19:00 - Jamie Cope (Eng) v Rory McLeod (Eng)

Wed 13:00 - Stephen Hendry (Sco) v Joe Perry (Eng)

Wed 14:00 - Stephen Maguire (Sco) v Gerard Greene (NI)

Tue 14:00 - Mark Selby (Eng) v Stuart Bingham (Eng)

Mon 14:00 - Mark King (Eng) v Michael Holt (Eng)

Tue 19:00 - Graeme Dott (Sco) v Jamie Burnett (Sco)

Tue 19:00 - Neil Robertson (Aus) v Nigel Bond (Eng)


Qualifying matches:

Mon 19:00 - Day v White

Mon 11:00 - Stevens v Hamilton

Posted Feb 13, 2011
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