Not for the first time where Steve Davis led, Stephen Hendry followed.

And just as Davis turned it on to see off Ali Carter, Hendry produced an excellent performance to beat Neil Robertson 4-1 in Newport yesterday.

Hendry's concentration and focus never wavered. He produced a display reminiscent of his glory years.

He's not the sort to get carried away. This was only a first round match.

But it must have been very satisfying to once again beat a top player on television and it will give him bags of confidence ahead of the second round.

Sam Baird gave a good account of himself last night in his first appearance in the last 32 of a world ranking event but ultimately came up short against Mark Selby.

Baird, whose safety play was superb all night, needed only blue and pink to win 4-2 but missed the blue and eventually lost 4-3.

Selby was honest enough to admit he should have lost. He doesn't seem the same player since he became world no.1.

Attaining pole position is a great feat but from there the only way is down.

So to today's action at the Welsh Open. Ronnie O'Sullivan returns to action against Marco Fu just over a week after he won the German Masters.

That was a great effort for O'Sullivan so my only concern for him today would be that he does not need to be as motivated because his top 16 seeding for the World Championship is already secured.

That said, off the back of a good win he is likely to be relaxed and can go out and enjoy the match.

Fu has a good record against him but his form varies dramatically. When he's good he's golden and when he's not he really struggles.

People say O'Sullivan is hard to predict but the same applies to his opponent today.

Mark Allen has an infected finger on his cueing hand and this is obviously going to be on his mind when he plays Ken Doherty.

However, I remember Hendry breaking a bone in his arm at the 1994 World Championship and he still won it.

Much will depend on Doherty's performance. The twice Welsh Open winner hasn't done much on TV of late but perhaps the exploits of Davis and Hendry will inspire him.

What a day it is for Adam Wicheard, who appears in the last 32 of a ranking tournament for the first time in his career.

It was a day that must have seemed a long way away five years ago when he was laid up in bed, unable to walk because of treatment for a tumour on his spine.

If anyone in the tournament can attest to the fact that snooker is only a game it is Adam. Good luck to him against Stephen Maguire.

Away from the action there was sad news yesterday. Joe Zammit, who promoted snooker in Malta for many years with Richard Balani and Wilfred Sultana, died at the age of 66.

Joe and his colleagues could not have been more welcoming all the times we went to Malta. There was always a relaxed feel to their tournaments and they did great work to promote the events.

My condolences go to Joe's family and friends.


Anonymous said...

Nice one, Steve, Stephen and Ronnie!

Not so nice one Barry: http://www.sportinglife.com/snooker/news/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=snooker/12/02/15/SNOOKER_Hearn.html&BID=663

jamie brannon said...

Barry Hearn was on Talksport earlier about changes to the World Championship. Didn't listen to it because of the Ronnie match.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Dave H said...

Barry knows how to get snooker in the papers

Anonymous said...

Those changes sound pretty reasonable to me. Although would this lead to a three week event? 16 sessions over 2 weeks already seems to push the finalists to their limits, and I wouldn't want to lose sessions from the 2nd round and QF just to accommodate last 64 or last 128 rounds. Although you have to feel for the qualifier who ends up drawing John Higgins over Peter Lines if they don't get a payday.

Anonymous said...

Barry's going to upset a lot of people again with this!

Anonymous said...

jamie brannon said...
Barry Hearn was on Talksport earlier about changes to the World Championship. Didn't listen to it because of the Ronnie match.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

yes, barry is snooker

ronnie is just another pawn (who can play fast)

Anonymous said...

The tour is already going up to 128 isn't it (with the 2 year tour cards for anyone joining the tour next year).