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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

International Championship. The story so far

We may only be three days in but the inaugural staging of the International Championship has already provided plenty of thrills and spills as well as a few shocks.

Firstly lets get the old chestnut of the Wildcard round out of the way.Much has been written about this over the years and on the face of it it does seem grossly unfair that professionals having come through the qualifiers have to go play an extra match to get to tournament proper,but rightly or wrongly thats the way it is.As the old saying goes the man who pays the piper calls the tune and as long as those promoting these tournaments remain insistent on this it is the way things will stay.

As always these rounds do claim some main tour pro's and here was no exception.Ken Doherty fell 6-5 to Zhao Xintong, and Michael White went down by the same scoreline to the young sensation Lu Haotian who had the added bonus of going straight into the last 16 following Ronnie's withdrawl and will face Dominic Dale,Cao Yupeng, Aditya Mehta,Fergal O Brien and Jamie Burnett did manage to make it through some tricky ties to make last 32 but the shock results didn't end there.

The first upset in the last 32 was the exit of John Higgins who fell at the first hurdle as he attempted to make it back to back ranking victories follow his recent Shanghai Masters win.He started well in his match with Cao Yupeng but his form dipped completely after a game changing fourth frame and although he did rally late on he went down 6-3. Cao's reward is a Last 16 clash against the impressive Mark Allen who put his travel problems behind him to beat Robert Milkins 6-2.

Another man who experienced travel problems was Neil Robertson .but he produced a solid display against Ryan Day beating him 6-3.He will play Matthew Stevens next.

Ding Junhui has not always produced his best in his homeland but can be happy with his display in beating his fellow countryman Zhou Yuelong 6-1 to set up a clash with Shaun Murphy who also eased his way through with a 6-0 crushing of Andrew Higginson.

Judd Trump started his quest to go one better then his runners up spot in last months Shanghai Masters with a decent display that hinted at better to come in his 6-3 win over Fergal O'Brien and will face India's Aditya Mehta next.Mehta in what is surely his biggest victory yet beat the man in form Stuart Bingham 6-4.He had at one stage lead 4-0 and managed to hold his nerve to hold off  the Bingham comeback.He will no doubt be relishing the chance to play Trump tomorrow.

In other matches World No.1 Mark Selby negotiated a tricky last 32 encounter with Ali Carter to progress 6-3 and will play Ricky Walden who came through a long gruelling battle with Lu Ning 6-4.Stephen Maguire beat Jamie Burnett 6-3 to set up a rematch with his China Open conqueror Peter Ebdon and Marco Fu scraped through in a decider with Martin Gould.He will face Mark Davis who beat an obviously under the weather Mark Williams 6-4.

Tomorrow will see all eight last 16 matches taking place so by this time tomorrow we will know who the Quarter finalists will be.By then I may even get off the fence and try predict a winner!

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