Cue Action – World Champs Spark Surprises – By Will Vallely

The first round of the World Championships is currently underway at the Crucible in Sheffield.

So far we have seen plenty of shock results. Up to now, three former World Champions have been knocked out. This has led to much talk of the new generation of players coming to the forefront.

Most of the attention of the first round was on four-time Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, his match on Saturday was his first match back since September.

Despite his recent absence he easily beat of experienced Scotsman Marcus Campbell. Ronnie started the match in excellent shape with a break of 82 in the first frame. His form looked good throughout the first session as he commanded a 7-2 lead. He went on to win the match by a comfortable scoreline of 10-4.

World Number three Judd Trump, looks capable of matching his high expectations after defeating veteran Dominic Dale. Trump made his 10-5 win look reasonably easy.

O’Sullivan will next be in action on Saturday, when we will see a repeat of both the 2008 final and last year’s final as he will face old rival Ali Carter. Carter booked his place in the second round last night by beating debutant Ben Woollaston, he also managed to win by 10 frames to four.

Last night also saw perhaps the biggest shock of the tournament; much fancied world number five Stephen Maguire lost in a final frame decider against Thai qualifier Dechawat Poomjaeng.

Dechawat, known to his friends as Jack, has quickly become a Crucible favourite, throughout the match he was in a jolly mood and became a crowd favourite by doing things such as, applauding his own shots and trying to break off when it wasn’t his turn.

Poomjaeng had to win four qualifiers just to reach the first round. In the second round he will face fellow qualifier Michael White. White, 21 managed to beat two-time champion Mark Williams in an all welsh affair. White looked in great form, and won by a somewhat comfortable four frame margin. Mark Williams has previously threatened to quit the game due to his lack of form.

Four-time World Champion John Higgins has also crashed out earlier than expected. His defeat was at the hands of 42 year old Mark Davis.

Despite his age, Davis is currently in the best form of his career having reached three ranking event semi-finals this season. He had previously beaten Higgins in the UK Championships last December.

Another much fancied winner Mark Allen also suffered an early defeat. He lost a close encounter against Mark King. King was trailing by eight frames to six but aggressively reeled off four straight frames to cement his place in round two.

Elsewhere, Graeme Dott prevailed in a clash of former champions. He came through a long gruelling match with 2002 champion Peter Ebdon. Dott looked in decent form as he beat Ebdon by a scoreline of 10-6. Dott has been known to bring his A-game to the Crucible and has been to the final on three occasions, however this year he was looking to avenge his 10-1 thrashing to the hands of Joe Perry in last year’s first round.

2005 winner Shaun Murphy came through comfortably by defeating Martin Gould by 10 frames to five. Murphy made two centuries on his way to the victory.

Two times ranking event winner Ricky Walden produced the biggest victory of the first round so far He smashed Michael Holt 10-1. Ricky will surely be delighted by his victory as he has never previously been beyond the first round.
Young debutant Jack Lisowski had no answers against Barry Hawkins.

Hawkins produced a very comfortable 10-3 victory over the 21 year old.
The first round is still underway in Sheffield, hut both Ding Junhui and World Number 1 Mark Selby hold commanding leads in their first round ties.

2010 champion Neil Robertson will soon kick off his crucible campaign against Robert Milkins.

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