The phrase "one of the nicest guys in the game" is one we here bandied around a lot but in the case of Joe Swail it really has always been correctly applied.In a career that seemed to yo-yo from season the season the former two time Crucible semi finalist,affectionately known as "The Outlaw" ,has often come back from the dead to win matches, but even so, few would have predicted it here as he trailed recent Welsh Open winner Stephen Maguire 3-0.Swail who dropped off the professional circuit at the end of last season and only entered the PTC series as a amateur wasn't for lying down on his return to the big time and slowly fought his way back.to clinch an astonishing 4-3 win.It has to be said he was given plenty of help by Maguire who missed chance after chance to seal the win but credit still must go to Swail for his never say die attitude.
He will now face fellow Ulsterman Mark Allen who comfortably saw off Mark Davis 4-0.Allen who comes here on the back of defending his World Open title was never really put under any pressure as Davis continued to struggle in his attempts to recapture his early season form.He will have harder battles ahead as he bids for back to back ranking titles.
Swail's victory was not to be the only shock of the day however as Jack Lisowski stunned the current UK and Masters champion Mark Selby in a late night tussle coming through 4-3.In a match where there was never more then a frame between them it was perhaps fitting it went down to a decider and what a tight and nervy decider it was. In a frame where both players had numerous chances it was Selby who made the early running but a series of well played snookers towards the end from Lisowski proved decisive and he finally made the best of his chance on the colours to seal a famous win.
He will now play Tom Ford in the last 1 after he came through 4-2 against Martin Gould in the days opening match.
Earlier in the day Neil Robertson fought back from 2-0 to Jamie Burnett to win 4-2.Robertson was runner up in this event last season and talked afterwards about how he feels he has been putting himself under too much pressure of late.He plans to take a more relaxed & casual approach this week and time will tell if it helps him go one better here this season.he will next play Barry Hawkins who easily beat Li Hang 4-0.
That was all the action from day one then and it was pleasing to see the crowds steadily grow as the day went on.I'm sure this will be the case again tomorrow when we have the likes of Ding,Higgins and Trump all playing their opening matches as well as of course our own Ken Doherty who play Kurt Maflin in the evening session..