Today we finally reached the conclusion of Round 1 with a total of 8 seeds failing to make it to into the second week.Many reasons have been put forward in recent days for this extraordinary run of shocks results from the usual strength in depth arguments to it been a long hard season.Maybe both these have merit but the theory put forward that I agree with most is its simply down to the fact the qualifiers took place so close to the championship and those who got through have carried that form forward.
In the last of the first round matches Ali Carter quickly converted his 8-1 overnight lead into a 10-1 victory over an under the weather Mark Davis.Earlier this season Carter was contemplating retirement as his ongoing battle with chrones disease threatened to finish his career but he seemed in good form here albeit under no pressure from his opponent.In the evening session Mark Williams struggled to get over the line as Liu closed from 9=3 to 9-6 before the Welshman completed a 10-6 victory.
ROUND 2 Preview
John Higgins v Stephen Hendry
For many this will be the tie of the round as these two great champions with 11 World titles between them face off against each other for what is amazingly the first time ever at the Crucible.Defending champion Higgins has been struggling this season to produce his top form but showed all his fighting qualities to scrape past Liang Wenbo10-9 in his first match.Hendry on the other hand showed flashes of his brilliant best in his comfortable first round win over Stuart Bingham which included a flawless 147.That said however he also played some very careless shots and I can't see him producing the consistency over 25 frames to beat Higgins Winner John Higgins
Joe Perry v Stephen Maguire
This match got off to a flyer tonight with centuries in the first three frames as Stephen Maguire opened up a 3-1 lead at the interval.They shared the next 4 for Maguire to take a 5-3 overnight lead.I expect Maguire may kick on in the second session and win with something to spare Winner Stephen Maguire
Jamie Jones v Andrew Higginson
This was a match up few would have predicted when the draw was made but both these players are well worth their places in round 2 following fine victories over Shaun Murphy and Stephen Lee respectively .This has the potential to be a very close run thing but Higginson's extra experience coupled with the fact he really played well in the final few frames against Lee should see him through. Winner Andrew Higginson
Ali Carter v Judd Trump.
Another intriging match in store here as two of the games best break builders go head to head.As I've said earlier Carfer played some of his best snooker in a long time against Davis but playing Judd is a different proposition presuming he has overcome his bout of food poisoning I think Trump will win this match comfortably.Winner Judd Trump
Mark Willaims v Ronnie O Sullivan
Another battle of the veterans here as these two great champions go head to head.It has been strange season for Williams who started it an no.1 in the rankings and reached the finals of the first two ranking events in Australia and China only to lose both from commanding positions.This seemed to dent his confidence and he has struggled to find that form again.Ronnie on the other hand produced some super snooker to lift The German Masters and despite having missed some tournaments since as he recovers from glandular fever he hasn;t lost to Willaims in a ranking event for a long time.I don't expect that to change here either. Winner Ronnie O Sullivan
David Gilbert v Neil Robertson
Arguably the player of the first round was Neil Robertson who dispatched 1997 Champion Ken Doherty with ease.The question was could The qualifier Gilbert score heavily enough to trouble the 2010 champ.Gilbert started well enough to lead 3-1 at the interval but Robertson upped a gear after that and is agin lookng strong as he takes a 5-3 lead into tomorrows second session.I can only see one winner from here.Winner Neil Robertson
Ryan Day v Cao Yupeng
This may be one of the hardest matches to call as both players showed great bottle in getting through their first round matches.I just have a feeling though that the Chinese might edge this though it could be very close
Winner Cao Yupeng
Matthew Stevens v Barry Hawkins
Another tough match to call as both had comfortable first round victories.Another thing they both have in common is the fact they have both underachieved in their careers especially Stevens who has twice lost World Finals from commanding positions.I think on this occasion though Again this may be close but I expect Stevens Crucible experience to pay off.Winner Matthew Stevens