Gerard Greene registered the biggest shock of the ManBetX Welsh Open so far with a 4-0 first round whitewash over Shaun Murphy on Tuesday night.
World number 90 Greene scored one of his best wins in recent years as he outplayed an opponent 83 places above him in the rankings. Greene, age 44, goes through to the last 64 to face Stuart Carrington on Wednesday.
Former World Champion Murphy made several uncharacteristic errors as Greene won the first three frames with a top break of 65. Frame four came down to to the colours and Murphy got the snooker he needed on the blue, but then elected to let his opponent play again from a tricky position, and Greene potted an excellent long blue to seal the match.
“I know if I play well and I can challenge anyone,” said Greene, who reached the Players Championship final in 2014. “Once I was 2-0 up I felt if I kept taking my chances and didn’t go for any crazy pots then I had a great chance of winning. Shaun was off his game today but that’s taking nothing away from me because I played well. It’s up there with my best wins. I feel a bit less pressure now than I have done in the past. I work full time at the snooker club which is handy because I can practise a lot.”
Murphy said: “It’s confusing rather than disappointing. I prepared well for this event but then played so badly. I made at least one cataclysmic error in every frame and Gerard put me away. He played very well, which shows how strong our game is from top to bottom.”
Home favourite Mark Williams made a strong start with a 4-2 win over Mark King. Breaks of 134 and 129 helped put Williams 3-0 ahead. King made a 104 as he fought back to 3-2, only for Williams to take frame six with a run of 60.
“I played well, it’s good to keep my form going,” said Williams, who has won the Northern Ireland Open and German Masters ranking titles within the past three months. “I have barely lost in the first round all season. I never thought I would have won two ranking events this season, and if I could get a third here that would be brilliant.”
Williams refused to be drawn into a war of words with Darren Morgan, who had accused his fellow Welshman of being a “bully” and a “keyboard warrior” in a dispute about the awarding of wild cards for this event. Asked about Morgan’s comments, Williams said: “I have nothing to add, I would rather talk about that match and the tournament. He has said what he’s said.” Watch Williams interviewed by BBC Wales
Four-time Welsh Open winner John Higgins came through a high quality match against Matthew Selt 4-2. Wishaw’s Higgins made breaks of 100 and 107 to lead 2-1, then compiled an excellent 65 clearance to win frame four. Selt pulled one back with a 71 before Higgins clinched the result in frame six with a 99.
Shoot Out champion Michael Georgiou kept his fine run of form going with a 4-0 win over Mitchell Mann, while World Grand Prix semi-finalist Stephen Maguire made a 102 in a 4-2 win over Joe Perry.
Iran’s Soheil Vahedi impressed in a 4-0 win over Alex Borg while former Masters and UK Champion Matthew Stevens beat Ken Doherty 4-1 with a top run of 98.
Kyren Wilson was on for a possible 147 – and a £20,000 bonus – in the third frame of his 4-1 win over Robert Milkins, but missed the black with one red left on 105.