Judd Trump came through a tough battle against Jackson Page by a 4-3 scoreline on the opening day of the BetVictor English Open, while Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy also booked places in round two in Brentwood.
Match schedule / Tickets
Page, ranked 65th, had a chance in the deciding frame to knock out Trump, but couldn’t take it and the world number two went through to the last 64 to face Craig Steadman on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a crucial bounce back for Bristol’s Trump as he suffered a painful 5-4 defeat against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the quarter-finals of the recent BetVictor Scottish Open. The 33-year-old is aiming to finish 2022 on a high having not won a title since the Turkish Masters in March.
Breaks of 69 and 60 put Trump 2-0 ahead, then Page fought back to 2-2. Frame five came down to the colours and Page got the snooker he needed on the blue, but then missed a double on the pink to a centre pocket and Trump potted it to regain the lead.
A run of 78 from Page made it 3-3, and the 21-year-old Welshman had first opportunity in the decider, but made only 28 before running out of position. Trump made 21 before losing position himself, but he got the better of a safety battle and added 45 for victory.
“I didn’t want to be going home today,” said Trump. “It could have been easier because at 2-0, Jackson butchered a shot but incredibly he got away with it, and after that the match changed. He made a mess of certain shots today but overall he has improved massively and he looks a tournament winner to me.”
Looking back on that match against Un-Nooh, Trump added: “I was so disappointed afterwards because I had chances in the last frame and didn’t take them. I have got used to taking chances under pressure so it was really tough to take.”
Robertson made a tremendous start to the defence of his title, beating Andrew Pagett 4-0 in 61 minutes with breaks of 110, 122, 67 and 88.
Higgins top scored with 74 in a 4-0 win over Gerard Greene. Four-time Crucible king Higgins must reach the final this week to get into the top 32 of the one-year ranking list and qualify for the World Grand Prix – for updates on that race click here.
Murphy’s 4-2 win over Anthony Hamilton, highlighted by runs of 69, 51, 71, 78 and 111, was all the more impressive given that he had to travel though the night from his Dublin base. His Sunday evening flight was cancelled due to bad weather, so he had to return home, drive his car to catch a 2.15am ferry to Holyhead, then drive to Brentwood through snow and ice. “I can’t have slept more than two hours,” said Murphy. “It was a relief just to get to the venue and I’m delighted to play well and win.”
On a morning of heavy snow, Selby managed to freeze out Noppon Saengkham in the deciding frame, making a break of 128 to win 4-3. “I felt like the table was outside!” joked the four-time World Champion. “I was blowing my hands every other shot. Hopefully by my next match it will have warmed up.”
Selby now meets fellow Leicester cueman Joe O’Connor, who was runner-up in Edinburgh eight days ago. He added: “I was chuffed to bits for Joe. I texted him before the final to say good luck and enjoy it. He beat some great players to reach the final. I play him in practice and he can play to that level so it didn’t surprise me that much.”
Amateur Callum Beresford scored a surprise 4-1 win over Ryan Thomerson with a top break of 67. Zhao Xintong saw off Allan Taylor 4-2 while Luca Brecel made a 101 in the last frame to beat Mark Joyce 4-3.