Doherty Survives Opening Day Scare to Join Wattana, Watson and Figueiredo in Last 8

Home » Doherty Survives Opening Day Scare to Join Wattana, Watson and Figueiredo in Last 8

Former World champion Ken Doherty survived a scare from debutant Tyson Crinis to keep his dreams of securing a first Mr Vegas World Seniors Snooker Championship title alive.

Doherty was one of four victors on a dramatic opening day of the event – as Asian superstar James Wattana, England’s Stuart Watson and Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo also booked their places in Friday’s quarter-finals stage.

The Irishman arrived at the Crucible Theatre aiming to complete a unique grand slam by adding the World Seniors crown to the World Professional, World Amateur and World Junior titles already in his trophy cabinet.

His first round opponent was 41-year-old Crinis, who earned a maiden appearance at snooker’s most iconic venue by winning the Asia-Pacific Seniors Championship earlier in the year.

Despite a nervy start that even saw Crinis unsure of where to go during his entrance into the arena, it was the Australian who took a nervy opening frame on the blue.

The 1997 World champion, who joked post-match that he would be “sleeping under the practice table” in order to get in as much preparation in as possible ahead of his quarter-final, will have been relieved to level the contest and went on to steal a vital third frame on the final black after requiring a snooker.

A break of 68 was enough for Doherty to reach the last eight where he will meet the winner of 2011 World Seniors champion Darren Morgan and Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng.

Post-match, Doherty reflected: “I was rusty, I didn’t get off to a good start at all. Tyson potted some great balls and it was nerve-wracking, but I managed to hold myself together and won third frame after needing a snooker.

“I’ve been here for three weeks commentating on other players, giving it out about other players – I was out there and they must have been laughing their heads off watching me play!”

Wattana Wins on Crucible Return

Thailand’s Wattana battled to victory on his first appearance at the Mr Vegas World Seniors Championship since 2019, when he reached the semi-final stage.

The three-time ranking event winner took on Irish qualifier Rodney Goggins and stormed into a 2-0 lead in a rapid fashion that highlighted why he is known to many as ‘The Thai-phoon’.

Goggins, who earned his place at the Crucible via one of the four qualifying events held across the year, was determined to leave his mark on the tournament and fought back with a break of 68 to reduce his deficit before potting a mid-distance final pink under monumental pressure to force a decider.

There was no sign of nerves from the Thai cueist in the decider, however, and a break of 55 was enough for Wattana to set up a last eight meeting with either Joe Johnson or Barry Pinches.

“Anything can happen but I said if I can get rid of my first match, then I can enjoy the rest of the tournament” Wattana said after the match.

“Nothing can be expected (in the quarter-finals) because it is only best of five but I hope I can get in and score heavily. I hope I can do it like I did today.”

Watson Whitewashes Knowles

Watson made a dream start to the 2024 Mr Vegas World Seniors Championship with a whitewash victory over three-time World Championship semi-finalist Tony Knowles.

The Englishman, who is ranked top of the World Seniors ranking list, was a last-minute replacement for Egypt’s Mohamed Khairy but made it count as he secured a quarter-final place at the Crucible Theatre.

Pre-match, Watson had described his opponent as his “my hero growing up”, but he didn’t appear phased by the occasion as he took a tight opening frame and followed this up with a magnificent break of 82 to move one away from the last eight.

The third frame was a more nervy affair but it was Watson who took it by a scoreline of 64-26 to get over the line and he will now face either Tony Drago or Michael Judge on Friday.

“Once I wont the first frame, I calmed down a bit and made a good break.” Watson reflected after the contest.

“I started to feel quite good and I’m just so pleased to win. (Tony) is not only a legend, he’s a character, so playing him out here – it’s something special.”

Brilliant Brazilian Denies Defiant Davidson

Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo was the final player through on the opening day of the Championship as he overcame World Women’s Seniors champion Tessa Davidson 3-1.

Davidson arrived at the event as only the second female player, after Maria Catalano in 2022, to play in the televised stages of the Mr Vegas World Seniors Championship and she made further history in the second frame as a break of 47 helped her to level the scoreline at 1-1 and become the first female player to win a frame at the event.

Figueiredo, who reached the semi-finals in 2021, managed to hold his nerve to move 2-1 ahead before taking the fourth frame on the colours to get over the line. He now faces the prospect of playing either Andrew Norman or Jimmy White, the player who eliminated him in 2021, in the quarter-finals.

Following his victory, the Brazilian cueist said: “I am very happy to be back and to have won my first match. I was nervous but I hope to improve in the next game.

“(Tessa) played very well, she’s a very good player – very smooth and I like her technique.”

Reflecting on a return to snooker’s most iconic venue, Figueiredo said: “It’s a sensation, my heart nearly stopped! The people have seen the best time of my life!”

The Mr Vegas World Seniors Championship returns tomorrow at 12pm for the conclusion of the opening round and you can watch it LIVE on Channel 5 and 5 Action in the UK.

Limited tickets remain available.