Perhaps the story of the week so far has been the progress of 14 year old Lu Haotian who has once again shown what a raw talent he has. Today he once again came through a final frame decider this time against the ultra experienced Dominic Dale and even at this early age has shown he has nerve to go with the ability.No doubt we will be talking about this kid for many years to come.He now faces his toughest battle to date in the quarter final where he meets Neil Robertson.Robertson has been quite impressive this week and booked his place with a 6-2 victory over Matthew Stevens.
It was of course as a 14 year old we first saw Ding Junhui when he played as a wildcard in the China Open many moons ago. He would go on to win that tournament a couple of years later but in the time since he has often struggled under the pressure of the expectant home crowds. Those fans were once again left disappointed today when he went down 6-4 to Shaun Murphy.This was a top quality game where the momentum swung both ways before Murphy showed his class winning the last two frames comfortably having earlier let a 4-1 lead slip.
Murphy will now play Marco Fu who came through following a long tense battle with Mark Davis 6-4,One has to feel sympathy for Davis who had he won would have secured a place in the top 16 for the first time in his career but now finds himself agonisingly in 17th place.
Elsewhere Mark Allen defeated Cao Yupeng in a rematch of their controversial Crucible encounter 6-2 to continue his recent run of good form and he will need to be at his best when he once again tackles Judd Trump in the next round.Trump had a straight forward victory 6-0 win over Aditya Mehta who failed to reproduce the form that saw him beat Suart Bingham yesterday.This promises to be a mouth watering clash between these two young guns and if it lives up to their clash in last years UK final the crowds in Chengdu are in for a treat.
An added incentive for Trump will be the knowledge that reaching the final this week will see him become the new World no.1.This is due to the fact that our current no.1 Mark Selby bowed out in a marathon match today with Ricky Walden going down 6-3.
Walden would want to recover quickly from that gruelling encounter as he is not likely to get any respite tomorrow when he face Peter Ebdon for a place in the semi's.Ebdon made short work today of Stephen Maguire recording a comprehensive 6-1 win..
We are really now at the push coming to shove stage of this tournament with every game from now on been played on a televised table .Each of the eight players who are left will feel they are well capable of lifting the trophy come Sunday but if I was to pressed to tip someone I would slightly favour Judd Trump.I feel the extra incentive of the no.1 spot been up for grabs will give him the drive he needs.I have of course often been wrong before!!