Day Four in Chengdu and what a mixed bag it produced with some dominant performances and a couple of real thrillers.
With that in mind there is really only one place to start and that is with the match between the world no.1 Neil Robertson and former world champion Peter Ebdon. Robertson has been playing some really superb snooker of late,knocking in centuries for fun and when he opened up a 3-1 lead here with his 39th century of the season he looked to be in control. Ebdon though has never been one for rolling over and he came back with a fabulous 134 of his own to make it 2-3 and he soon made it 3-3 with a fine 87 in the next.
The momentum was now well and truly with the veteran as Robertson seemed to be feeling it.Another couple of 50 plus breaks saw Ebdon move within one of victory at 5-3 and indeed in the next a run 56 looked like becoming a match winner only for him to overcut a tricky red allowing Robertson the chance to counter. That is exactly what he did,digging deep to close to 5-4.Into the next and it was Robertson who struck first here with 68 before a counter from Ebdon just fell short when he missed the final pink.A few safties followed before Robertson potted a superb long pink to level at 5-5.
Into the decider then and in a thriller,both players had their chances,but it was the veteran Ebdon who came through to win 6-5.Ebdon is a player who has always divided opinion among the snooker public but today was certainly an example of everything that has been good about the former world champion and if I'm honest,I have always found it fascinating watching him construct a break.
He will need to once again be at his best in the quarter final though as he faces the man in form and home favourite Ding Junhui,who came through his match with Matthew Stevens in a canter winning 6-1. To be fair to the Welshman the scoreline doesn't tell the whole story of this one as,after a scrappy start the score could easily have been 2-2 at the interval.From here though Ding visibly upped a gear and was at his brilliant break building best running away with the last three frames he needed to secure the 6-1 win.The hat trick dream still very much alive.
Elsewhere the Zhao Xintong's amazing week came to an end when he ran in to an in form Marco Fu losing.6-2 but on all evidence here he is still a name to watch for.Fu now meets Mark Selby who also enjoyed a 6-1 win over Stuart Bingham.As I said yesterday Selby's progress this week has gone under the radar slightly but he one of those players who,the further he gets into a tournament the harder he is to beat.This one could really be cracker.
Meanwhile Liang .Wenbo followed up his fine victory over Ronnie with a runaway 6-1 defeat of Mark Davis. Its not that many years ago that Liang was expected to become the next prolific Chinese winner after Ding, but he seemed to lose his way and fell down the pecking order a bit.Ths season however he has shown a bit of a revival and winning last weeks Asian Tour event seems to have helped reignite his confidence.He will face now face Graem Dott in the last 8 after the Scot held off a late fightback from Kurt Maflin to go through 6-5
Talking of players who at one stage seemed destined to challenge for titles only to hit a slump in form, Ryan Day showed a welcome return to something near his best in beating Fergal O'Brien 6-3. He will face Joe Perry who also scored two centuries in beating Mark Allen 6-4
Down to the last 8 we are then with Ding perhaps a strong favourite for the title,but there will be plenty of twists and turns before the trophy is lifted on Sunday.
Last 8 draw
Ryan Day v Joe Perry
Marco Fu v Mark Selby
Peter Ebdon v Ding Junhui
Graeme Dott v Liang Wenbo