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Swail and Greene left as last two local hopes at NI Open

Moving on: Joe Swail on his way into the second round of the NI Open after his win yesterday
Moving on: Joe Swail on his way into the second round of the NI Open after his win yesterday
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Joe Swail made sure there will be two local players in the second round of the Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront Hall by taking care of business in his first round tie against Luke Simmonds last night.

After Antrim's Mark Allen, the World No.7, was sent packing, losing his opening round match to Niu Zhang, the gauntlet has now been passed to Swail and Gerard Greene, who secured his place in the second round on Monday.

Greene easily dispatched Oliver Lines 4-0 on the opening day, and Swail had a similarly easy task of it against England's Simmonds, dropping just one frame on the way to victory.

The Belfast man won the first two frames to seize the momentum with breaks of 51 and 53, and although Simmonds took the third to close back within a frame, Swail showed his experience to take the final two, the clincher with another 53 break, to make it into the second round.

Meanwhile, Ronnie O'Sullivan took less than 45 minutes to efficiently see off Soheil Vahidi 4-0 in the first round.

However, the five-time world champion was in the spotlight for more than just his stunning performance after he launched into an angry tirade on social media at World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn.

In his match against Vahedi, the 'Rocket' hit three century breaks - 108, 111 and 116 - as well as a further break of 86 on his way to a victory that lasted only 44 minutes and 59 seconds, averaging a shot time of 14.0 seconds.

But before that, the World No.3 took to Twitter and called out Hearn for his running of the sport.

"Dictatorship it's called, disguised under democracy," tweeted O'Sullivan. "Barry don't care about snooker, it's all about the cash. He's full of you know what, ain't got a clue about sport mate, he's a number cruncher."

Hearn, in response, claimed that O'Sullivan was hiding and wouldn't meet face-to-face.

"How can I listen when he refuses to meet? Easier to just moan!" wrote Hearn. "Ronnie has been offered the opportunity to meet with the players' forum to put across his views.

"He has refused to meet. I think that sums up Ronnie very well. I would love to hear specific not vague criticisms in order to consider and answer. Alas - he can't be bothered."

Elsewhere yesterday, England's World No.1 Mark Selby made light work of Anthony Hamilton as he cruised into the second round with a 4-1 win over his fellow countryman.

Jack Lisowski is also through having whitewashed Hossein Vafaei 4-0, as is Judd Trump after he downed Matthew Selt 4-2.

There was disappointment for Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu, who both lost 4-2 to Sam Baird and Chen Feilong respectively, whilst Dubliner Ken Doherty lost 4-1 to Scott Donaldson.

Belfast Telegraph


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