MATTHEW STEVENS recovered from 2-0 down to beat Adam Wicheard 4-3 and reach the last 64 of the BetVictor Welsh Open, his home tournament, in Newport on Wednesday.
Stevens, from Carmarthen, has had a largely disappointing season, dropping out of the top 16 and losing 5-0 to James Wattana in the preliminary round of the China Open earlier this week.
Things looked grim again when Wicheard won the first two frames but Stevens compiled breaks of 64 and 53 in edging 3-2 ahead.
Wicheard won a closely fought sixth and made 19 early in the decider but Stevens put together a run of 50 and won the match in one further scoring visit.
“Adam’s a good player. There’s no easy matches these days and I’ve been struggling of late,” Stevens said.
“It’s not nice to come here struggling, because you’re trying so hard anyway. At 2-0 down I didn’t fancy winning because confidence is low but I managed to dig deep and make a couple of breaks.”
Scott Donaldson (pictured) caused an upset when he beat world no.12 Robert Milkins 4-2 to advance to the second round.
Donaldson, 19, won a 47 minute fourth frame to make it 2-2 and then cleared from last red to black to win the fifth. A run of 61 in the sixth clinched victory.
The 2012 European amateur champion is coming to the end of his second professional season. Players need to finish in the top 64 in the prize money list after the World Championship to keep their tour cards and though Donaldson is currently 68th, he looks set to stay on in any case through being one of the top eight points earners from the Players Tour Championship.
Donaldson said: “I lost 5-0 to Michael White in the China Open last week. The pro tour is so difficult because people will look at that result and think I didn’t turn up on the day but I actually played quite well against Michael. He was absolutely exceptional so I wasn’t down about that result and I took my form into my next game and it gave me the best opportunity to win.
“You don’t want to stay on the PTC way because you have to go back to the start. I’d much rather keep my money and my points. There’s a lot of players in the same position. I just need to keep on putting the performances in.”
Photographs by Monique Limbos.