Snooker: Down to the Last Eight in Newport
The BetVictor Welsh Open is being played for the last time in Newport this week before a suggested move to Cardiff next year.
The new flat draw system which sees every player start at the First round (128 players) has thrown up a few surprises along the way and the biggest has been the run of Joel Walker to the quarter finals where he will play Ding Junhui today. The 19 year old, who turns 20 next month, had a previous best result of a run to the last 32 in one of the European Tour events last season and prior to this event only sat in 84th position in the world rankings.
Walker came through some very tough matches to reach the last eight and on three occasions had to win a deciding frame. He beat Pankaj Advani 4-3 in round 1 and followed this up with another 4-3 win over Mark Davis in round 2.
Into the third round and the youngster, who qualified onto the main tour through Q School in 2012, had his most comfortable win with a 4-1 victory over James Wattana.
This set up a very tasty tie against World number 8 Stephen Maguire, also the defending Welsh Open Champion, yesterday. A match that he once again won in a deciding frame 4-3.
So the last eight starts today in Newport and although we have this flat draw system in place the cream does tend to rise to the top as you can see from the matches listed below:
- Joel Walker v Ding Junhui
- Joe Perry v Mark Selby
- Marco Fu v Barry Hawkins
- John Higgins v Ronnie O’Sullivan (what a match!)
Marco Fu was the man that ended Welsh dreams in beating Mark Williams 4-2 last night and it is great to see Joe Perry at the latter stages of a tournament once again. Without doubt though the tie of the round will be John Higgins against a very in form Ronnie O’Sullivan, coverage of these matches are available on Eurosport throughout today.