Wednesday, 2 February 2011

No wildcard wonders as seeds progress on opening night

The real business starts in Berlin tomorrow, but tonight there was the small matter of the wildcard round.

I think it's a great idea to invest in young homegrown talent in snooker. The wildcard round in tournaments certainly ticks that box, but by the same token I always feel as if the qualifying seeds have been robbed if they get beaten.

Tonight though, there were no shocks.

All the seeded qualifiers advanced to the last 32, and it feels only right that they've got the place they earned in qualifying.

Joe Swail was the most comprehensive winner of the night, as he steamrolled past Belgium's Hans Blanckaert. The Northern Ireland man played well throughout and came close to a maximum, only to miss the final red on 112.

Nigel Bond didn't seem to be suffering from any kind of Shoot-Out hangover. He beat Germany's Stefan Kasper 5-2 after falling 1-0 behind.

Anthony Hamilton faced the daunting prospect of having to overcome 13-year-old Pawel Leyk, but he did so 5-1. Jack Lisowski dismissed well-known Belgian prodigy Luca Brecel 5-2 on debut, and Thailand's Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon also won on his maiden major ranking event outing, defeating Poland's Tomasz Skalski 5-3.

It's great for snooker to be back in Berlin, and although news of Ronnie O'Sullivan's withdrawl has left many fans disappointed, the atmosphere was still great on night one of the competition.

With five tables playing at once without partitions, it will be as bit of a test for the bigger players, although a similar set-up at this season's EPTC means they're slightly more accustomed to the layout.

Roll on day two!

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