Mumbai: Irishman Ken Doherty, a former world champion, crashed out of the Indian Open World Ranking snooker tournament following a 4-2 defeat against Northern Ireland’s Joe Swail in a first round battle of veteran cueists here. Swail, with a world ranking of 68, defeated the 42nd world-ranked Doherty 72-9, 19-95, 71-0, 80-23, 37-92, 74-15, 37-29 to earn a shot at Englishman Robert Milkins, seeded 7th here with a ranking of 16, in round two of the pound sterling 300,000 event.
Milkins got the better of fellow-English professional Mike Dunn 4-2 in another first round match.Swail brought up two half century breaks of 62 and 71 that fetched him the first and third frames and struck two crucial runs of 37 and 29 in the sixth to seal his rival’s fate in five minutes under two hours. Doherty, who defeated Stephen Hendry 18-12 in the 1997 World Championship title clash to become only the second non-English player to win the world title after Cliff Thorburn, could not stitch a single half century break in the match.
The loser’s best were two 40-plus ones that helped him stay in the match by clinching the 2nd and 5th frames. The second and third seeds in the tournament – English pros Judd Trump and Nicky Walden – also entered the second round with 4-2 and 4-0 victories respectively over English compatriots Peter Lines and Rory McLeon respectively.
Also through to round two was fifth seed Joe Perry. There were two close matches in which Li Hang of China and Michael White of Wales, seeded 15th, came through with 4-3 verdicts against Allan Taylor of England and Cao Yupeng of China respectively. The tournament lost all its Indian wild cards, including former IBSF world champion and current national champion Pankaj Advani.
In a late night match yesterday, Advani muffed a simple pink pot when seemingly poised for a win with a table clearance and lost his chance to defeat young left-handed Ryhs Clark of Scotland. Advani fought his way back from 2-3 with a half century break to draw level 3-3 in the best-of-seven-frame wild card round contest to decide who will reach the main 64-player draw.
In the deciding seventh frame Advani was trailing his rival initially before taking the lead but then committed a foul as well as missing the pink – that was later potted by the Scot – which gave the latter a seven-point lead. The match then hinged on the lone black ball which the Indian ace potted to draw level at 58-all but the Scot had the last laugh as he sunk the re-spotted black ball – done to break the tie – with a fluke shot into the centre pocket.
Advani lost 8-72, 73-29, 83(83)-0, 54-55, 75(75)-0, 8 72, 65-58 and the Bengaluru cue ace’s exit ended the miserable day for the host country as five other wild card recipients were eliminated earlier. The elimination of all six wild cards has left Aditya Mehta – India’s lone professional card holder – to carry the country’s hopes in the five-day tournament.
Clark could not progress further than round one as he was beaten 4-2 by Chris Wakelin of England today. Results (1st round):
Anthony McGill (Scot) bt Tom Ford (Eng) 4-0; Jamie Cope (Eng) bt Fraser Patrick (Scot) 4-2; Joe Perry (Eng) bt 38-Marcus Campbell (Scot) 4-2; Kyron Wilson (Eng) bt 14-Alan McManus (Eng) 4-0; Nicky Walden (Eng) bt 36-Rory McLeod (Eng) 4-0; Judd Trump (Eng) bt Peter Lines (Eng) 4-2; Peter Ebdon (Eng) bt Zhou Yuelong (Chn) 4-2; Joe Swail (N. Ire) bt 25-Ken Doherty (Ire) 4-2; Robert Milkins (Eng) bt Mike Dunn (Eng) 4-2; Li Hang (Chn) bt Allan Taylor (Eng) 4-3; Michael White (Wales) bt Cao Yupeng (Chn) 4-3; Chris Wakelin (Eng) bt Rhys Clark (Scot) 4-2; Rod Lawler (Eng) bt Sam Baird (Eng) 4-0.