Robertson wins; Indian wild cards lose in Indian Open snooker

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 14, 2013, 21:09 PM IST

New Delhi: World No.1 Neil Robertson produced a magnificent display of attacking snooker to beat Noppon Saengkham 4-1 in his first round, even as the Indian wild card entrants failed to light up the green baize, losing their respective matches in the Indian Open here on Monday.

Shivam Arora emerged as the best among the five Indian wildcards, who crashed out in the first half of the day here at the 300,000 pound event.
The sixth wildcard, Dharmender Lilly, had already entered the first round after getting a walkover over Liam Highfield.

Lilly will meet World No. 2 Mark Selby tomorrow, which will also see Pankaj Advani in action against Marcus Campbell.

Kamal Chawla went down 1-4 to Rod Lawler in a match that was closer than the score-line indicated, while National champion Manan Chandra lost 1-4 to Robbie Williams.

Faisal Khan was beaten 1-4 by Paul Davison, Shivam Arora put up a strong fight before losing 3-4 to Anthony McGill and Sandeep Gulati had no reply to Jeff Cundy, who won 4-0 while notching three half-century breaks.

The home crowd, however, was somewhat compensated as Robertson from Australia slammed three century breaks of 103 in the first, second and fifth frames to rout Thailand`s Saengkham in his opening round match.

"The table conditions were absolute perfect and I enjoyed my game against Saengkham. Last 12 months, I am playing consistent snooker and enjoying a very good period at the professional circuit. It is nice to start with three century breaks. You need to be at your best to beat me in the competition," said Robertson after his match.

Robertson termed the playing conditions as "fantastic".

"Coming to India for the first time, I never knew what to expect, but the table conditions, the practice tables and the venue are just perfect," Robertson, who became the first Australian to win the World Championship in 2010, said.

World No. 42 Mark Joyce completed a 4-0 win over fellow-Englishman Sean O`Sullivan with a break of 114 in the fourth frame.

Thailand`s Dechawat Poomjaeng put out higher-ranked Ryan Day from England 4-2 to post the first upset of the event.

The Thai saw off Day`s fightback from 0-2 to 2-2, but wrapped up the match by posting breaks of 52 and 58 in the fifth and sixth frames.

The Indian wildcard qualifiers, especially Chandra and Arora had their chances, but could not capitalise on the openings while their opponents seized every chance to make it to the main draw of the tournament.

Chandra looked to be in good touch as he was off the blocks quickly, but mistakes at crucial junctures cost him in the first three frames.

The 32-year old from Delhi sparkled briefly when he took the fourth frame with breaks of 32 and 45 clearance, but Williams, ranked 73, took the fourth to close the match.

Arora did well to bounce back after being down 0-2 against 49th ranked McGill, who took the first frame on the final black for a 35 clearance and took the second easily. Arora, with useful breaks, won the third and then put in a 54 clearance to pocket the fourth. The players traded the next two frames to set up the decider seventh that McGill won comfortably aided by small breaks.

"I started off well and made a 45 break in the first frame, but gave him the chance after playing a poor safety shot and then missed a brown. He cleared the table for 1-0 lead and that was the turning point.

"Robbie played a fine all-round game and made better use of the chances, while I made mistakes at crucial stages, but overall, I was quite happy with the way I played, though it could have been better," said Chandra.