Higgins rules over Judge
World champion John Higgins saw off Michael Judge in the first round of the Welsh Open. Mark Selby and Mark Williams also progressed.
Last Updated: 28/01/10 11:17am
World champion John Higgins produced a break-building masterclass to record a 5-2 verdict against Michael Judge in the first round of the Welsh Open.
Higgins had runs of 87 and 105 en route to opening a 4-0 lead at the mid-session interval.
Judge returned in improved nick, breaks of 68 and 73 helping him halve the deficit, but the Scot fittingly rounded the match off with another century.
Mark Selby, who earlier in January beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Pokerstars.com Masters final at Wembley, sank rising star Judd Trump 5-2 in a good start to his bid for back-to-back titles - a feat he achieved in Newport in 2008.
The highlight for the Leicester ace was a 115 break to win frame six.
Mark Williams had earlier continued the home charge with a 5-2 triumph over Fergal O'Brien.
The left-hander from Cwm has slipped to number 15 in the world rankings but continued his recent positive form against Dubliner O'Brien.
The first four frames were shared after O'Brien knocked in a fine century to level at 2-2.
But he was all but kept off the table in the next two frames as breaks of 102 and 112 gave Williams a two-frame lead for the first time.
A fourth successive century looked on the cards as O'Brien motored to 49 in the next before unluckily going in off via the pink when potting a blue.
A break of 36 took Williams one ahead and a topsy-turvy spell followed before the Irishman went in off again attempting a long pink and immediately conceded.
"There's more pressure playing in front of my home crowd, everybody expects you to do well," said Williams, who joins compatriots Matthew Stevens and Ryan Day in the second round.
"I had a feeling a couple of us would do well, but I didn't know if it'd be me or the others."
China's Ding Junhui, though, crashed out 5-3 to Jamie Cope.
Ding, the UK champion, made a sparkling 127 to level the match at 3-3, but breaks of 38 and 73 gave Cope frame seven and he also won the eighth in two visits - 45 and 71 - to advance.
Glaswegian Graeme Dott saw off Joe Perry by a 5-3 margin. Once again the players were level after the first six frames, but Dott went 4-3 up with a break of 73 and a run of 40 helped him prevail in the next.
The second round got under way on Wednesday evening, with Ryan Day claiming a first career win over seven time world champion Stephen Hendry.
After Day won the opener, Hendry levelled with breaks of 46 and 63 and an aggressive safety early in the third, smashing the green off its spot into the pack, forced Day into a near-impossible safety and allowed the Scot to make a frame-winning 71.
A 42 helped Day deservedly go into the interval level and he took the fifth frame after Hendry missed a simple green off its spot, but wasted a break of 41 in the sixth as Hendry came back with a 75 to level.
But Day knocked in a 52 as he came from behind to take frame seven and then claimed two snookers and held his nerve for a clearance of 35 to steal the eighth on the black and progress.
Defending champion Ali Carter won a low-quality clash with Australian Neil Robertson 5-2. Carter made a 115, the only real highlight before the mid-session interval, to seal a 3-1 lead and returned to claim a tortuous fifth frame.
Robertson ground his way back to 4-2 but Carter completed victory in the next.