Hot prospect Joel Walker became the first non-seeded player through to the second round of the Coral UK Championship as he thrashed Alan McManus 6-1.
By Mark Rawlinson
PICTURES by Tai Chengzhe
The two met at the same stage last year in York and Walker lost in the cruellest of circumstances, going in-off on a re-spotted black in the final frame decider.
However the 20-year-old from Sheffield, who reached the quarter-finals of last season’s Welsh Open, won this encounter in convincing style, closing the match out with breaks of 79, 66 and 94.
Walker, ranked 105th in the world, was delighted to beat the player 81 places higher. “I think I was pretty lucky to be 3-1 up at the interval, Alan didn’t punish me,” he said. “When I came back after the interval I played really well, I won three frames in one visit and that is all you can ask for.
“I think I deserved to get my own back after he beat me on the re-spotted black in the decider here last year.
“I’ve been confident since halfway through last season. I started to play really well and get the kind of results that I know I’m capable of.
“I’ve found my feet as a player and the experience I had gained over the previous season and a half stood me in good stead. I’m confident whoever I play now, it’s just about getting the job done on the day.”
Stuart Bingham eased through his first round tie as he whitewashed Thailand’s Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon 6-0 to book his spot in the last 64.
The Essex-man showed relentless scoring, firing in breaks of 96, 102, 87, 74, 91 and 61 and believes it will take a player in real form to beat him this week.
“That was probably my best performance of the season scoring-wise,” said Bingham. “I think I had a 60-plus in every frame. The table played lovely, very similar to the one at the Champion of Champions it was that good.
“If I can carry on playing like that, it is going to take someone playing really well to be able to beat me. I got through to the last 16 at the Ruhr Open at the weekend and was beaten by Stephen Maguire but my confidence is very high.”
Anthony Hamilton also progressed to the second round following a final frame decider, beating Craig Steadman 6-5. Hamilton was docked a frame at the start of the match because he was waiting in the wrong part of the venue. Over six hours later, he capitalised on a missed yellow from Steadman in the last frame, and cleared from yellow to pink to book his second round spot.
Michael Holt hit the highest break of the day, a 138, to help him progress with a 6-1 win over Zak Surety and he will play Dechawat Poomjaeng who defeated Andrew Norman 6-2.
Alfie Burden finished strongly to edge out Chris Wakelin 6-4 in a close match – the Londoner making breaks of 54 and 87 to clinch the last two frames. India’s Aditya Mehta top scored with 79 in a 6-4 win over Alex Davies.