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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

International Championship Day Three

One of the things we are constantly lead to believe is that all these tournaments with short frame formats are a lottery and that to really see the top players at their best we need longer frame formats.If that is indeed the case then what we have seen this week is further proof that the gap between those at the top and the rest is narrower then ever.

On a day of big stories the biggest of all of course was the defeat of the World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan who went down 6-4 to Liang Wenbo.This had looked unlikely when Ronnie raced in to a 3-0 and he still looked a heavy favourite a 4-1,but a combination of perhaps Ronnie losing a little focus and Wenbo's growing confidence turned things around and he won five frames in a row to record the win.This was the first time he has beaten Ronnie and just how much it meant to him was obvious by the way he celebrated potting the match ball.His opponent in the last 16 will be Mark Davis who beat Stuart Carrington 6-3.

Of Course the man in form coming into this event,is home favourite Ding Junhui who this week is looking to complete that rarest of hat tricks,winning three ranking events on the bounce.Having survived a right tussle with fellow Chinese Cao Yupeng yesterday which he edged 6-5 Ding had to again here pull out all the stops to get past James Wattana,eventually sealing the win 6-3 in what was a highly entertaining match.He will now face Matthew Stevens who comfortably beat a badly out of sorts John Higgins 6-2.

The other story of recent weeks has been the astonishing break building form of Neil Robertson who racked up a further three centuries,including a high break equaling 143, in his 6 -1 win over Un-Nooh.That took his century total for the season to a remarkable 38 and if he keeps this up he will surely smash the current record which stands at 61.Robertson will face Peter Ebdon in the next round after the veteran edged past Mark Joyce 6-5.

With all this going on is easy to look past perhaps the most extraordinary performance this week which has been that of wildcard Zhao Xintong. Firstly the Chinese beat the recently crowned world senior champion Steve Davis 6-1 in the wildcard round,he followed that up with a 6-2 win over Craig Steadman and then today he beat last years Crucible runner up Barry Hawkins again by a scoreline of 6-1.Next up for him will be Australian Open winner Marco Fu who today beat Xiao Goudong 6-4.

In other matches Alan McManus couldn't repeat the performance which saw him eliminate the defending champion Judd Trump yesterday as he went down 6-4 to Ryan Day.Day will now face Fergal O'Brien after the Irishman came through,a match which was very much played at its own pace,beating Rod Lawler 6-4.

Mark Allen is also through after a hard fought victory over Dave Harold,the score 6-4 and he will face Joe Perry who beat David Gilbert 6-3.With all that has been going on former World no.1 Mark Selby has slipped in under the radar this week,but he is still very much alive in this tournament after beating Peter Lines today 6-4 and he will now face  Stuart Bingham who beat Martin Gould also 6-4

Finally rounding of a bad day for the golden generation Mark Williams went down 6-2 to Kurt Maflin who will now face Graeme Dott after the Scot beat Kyren Wilson 6-1.

Tomorrow see's the last 16 matches taking place which are bound to produce more stories in what already been a great week.

Last 16 draw
Ryan Day v Fergal O'Brien
Mark Allen  v Joe Perry
Zhao Xintong v Marco Fu
Stuart Bingham v Mark Selby
Neil Robertson v Peter Ebdon
Matthew Stevens v Ding Junhui
Grame Dott v Kurt Maflin
Mark Davis v Liang Wenbo

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