New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) World No.1 Neil Robertson provided more than a touch of class to the Indian Open World Snooker professional tournament here Monday, when he posted three identical breaks of 103 en route to a 4-1 win over Thailand's Noppon Saengkham in a first round match.
Also cracking the three-figure mark was Mark Joyce who swept to a 4-0 win over fellow-Englishman Sean O'Sullivan with a break of 114 in the fourth frame on a day that saw the exit of five of the six Indian Wild Card qualifiers.
Thailand's World No.61 Dechawat Poomjaeng eliminated higher-ranked Ryan Day from England, 4-2 ,for the first upset of the tournament. Day, ranked 24, after climbing from 0-2 to 2-2, lost the next two frames with the Thai notching breaks of 52 and 58 in the fifth and sixth.
While Dharmender Lilly moved into the first round of the main draw as he received a walk-over from Liam Highfield, the other Indian wild card qualifiers including Kamal Chawla, Manan Chandra, Sandeep Gulati, Shivam Arora and Faisal Khan were knocked out by opponents who were clearly superior and taught the home players the value of seizing chances.
Only Arora put up some stirring fight, but lost 3-4 to Scotland's Anthony McGill who all but squandered a 2-0 lead, but the others clearly looked a tad out of depth in conditions they were not familiar with.
Chawla lost 1-4 to Rod Lawler, national champion Chandra blew some good openings to lose 1-4 to Robbie Williams, an inconsistent Khan was beaten 1-4 by Paul Davison Gulati was more a spectator as Jeff Cundy raced to a 4-0 win with the help of three half-century breaks.
The 32-year-old Chandra from Delhi promised much at the start when he began the opening frame with a break of 45, but committed errors at crucial stages to allow Williams to dictate terms.
Chandra showed glimpses of his prowess in the fourth frame that he won, but Williams, ranked 73, was not to be denied as the Englishman took the fifth to complete a fine win.
Arora, after losing the opening two frames, did well to take the next two with a break of 54 clearance in the fourth. McGill won the fifth and Arora the sixth before the Scot closed the match.
It was left to Robertson, the 31-year old from Melbourne, to lift the spirits of the large crowd with his century breaks that not only underlined his current form, but also the class.
Although playing his first match, the Aussie took to the conditions like duck to water. Cueing smoothly and striking with deft touch, Robertson, the 2010 World Champion, gave wonderful exhibition in break building.
The only time Roberston stumbled was in the third when he fluffed a safety shot and the Thai was quick to punish his opponent with a neat clearance to take the frame. However, Robertson hit back with his third 103 break of the match in the fifth to book his berth in the second round.
"Yeah, it is nice to start with three century breaks. 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.
"I have been consistent over the last 12 months and I am playing well at the moment," said Robertson who gave up cricket to focus on snooker and is a huge fan of Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar.
Wild Card round: Rod Lawler (ENG) bt Kamal Chawla (IND) 4-1 (58-51, 79-36, 54-71, 70-40, 70-31); Jeff Cundy (ENG) bt Sandeep Gulati (IND) 4-0 (78-14, 62-57, 85-0, 89-1); Anthony McGill (SCO) bt Shivam Arora (IND) 4-3 (58-57, 78-38, 45-85, 53-67, 77-14, 24-75, 81-6); Robbie Williams (ENG) bt Manan Chandra (IND) 4-1 (69-56, 77-31, 70-1, 32-107; 65-40); Paul Davison (ENG) bt Faisal Khan (IND) 4-1 (55-34, 38-72, 81-49, 61-16, 68-5); Dharmender Lilly (IND) w/o Liam Highfield (ENG).
Main Draw (First round): Lawler w/o Allister Carter (ENG); Neil Robertson (AUS) bt Noppon Saengkham (THA) 4-1 (107-0, 104-14, 54-55, 122-1, 124-1); Mark Joyce (ENG) bt Sean O'Sullivan (ENG) 4-0 (71-44, 109-21, 92-21, 123-0); Dechawat Poomjaeng (THA) bt Ryan Day (ENG) 4-2 (108-06, 78-15, 10-73, 0-79, 90-0, 75-06).