Last 16 day at the UK Championship and today we saw the games big names just start to flex their muscles but also the end of a dream run for one
Ding Junhui came into this tournament as the man of the season so far thanks to his victories in the last three full ranking events,but that amazing run came to an end today at the hands of Ricky Walden.This one ebbed and flowed each way as Walden saw his early 3-1 become 3-3 before he once again stretched ahead 5-3.Ding produced a wonderful 135 to get back within one a 5-4 before a tense 52 min frame went the way of Walden to put him through to the Quarters and a clash with Mark Allen.
Allen reached the last 8 with a 6-4 victory over Judd Trump in a match that never really reached the heights we were expecting,indeed early on,such was the poor quality of Allen's play that he was lucky to be only trailing 4-2. At this stage though the Ulsterman showed the all round player he has become as he came back to win the last four in a row and seal the win 6-4
Score prediction This is a hard match to call as both players are on their day very capable players,but I just feel Allen may have that little bit extra here and he may come through in a close finish.
Allen 6-4 Walden
I think its fair to say anyone watching snooker for the first time this week having heard of this Ronnie O'Sullivan character will have been wondering what the fuss was about as he has just done enough in his early matches to win,but that changed tonight as he visibly upped a gear to dismiss Robert Milkins 6-0 in only 68 mins.Really extraordinary stuff.
His opponent in the last 8 will be Stuart Bingham who brought the run of Ireland's David Morris to an end in convincing style with a comfortable 6-1 win.
Score Prediction This one will be a rematch of the recent Champion of Champions final which Ronnie narrowly won but I don't think this one will be as close. O'Sullivan 6-2 Bingham
When Ronnie was sweeping his way into the last 8 on one table Neil Robertson was doing the same on the other table as he produced a dominant display to beat Joe Perry 6-1.Robertson has been a scoring machine and will be hard to stop here as he aims to complete a career grand slam of our Major tournaments.
Standing in his way here will be Stephen Maguire who came through an all Scottish tussle with John Higgins.This one was close early on with the score at 2-2 as they went to their mid session interval,but it was Maguire who stepped it up when play resumed and he forged away to a 6-3 win,in the process moving to the top of the high break table with a total clearance of 142.
Score Predictions Another close match in prospect here with Maguire seemingly rediscovering his best form as the tournament goes on.That said though the Aussie is in superb form of late and I expect him to win this Robertson 6-4 Maguire
Meanwhile the defending champion Mark Selby is,after what had been a slow start to the week,just beginning to move through the gears as he reached the Quarter finals with a 6-2 win over Graeme Dott.
Selby is one of those players who gets harder to beat the further in to a tournament he gets and he will have to be at his best again in the next round when he faces Barry Hawkins who eventually edged Murphy in a late finish last night 6-5. This was a real old fashioned thriller with the scores going 2-2 & 4-4 before Hawkins won a 50 minute frame to lead 5-4.Back came Murphy to draw level.but it was Hawkins who won the decider with nerveless break of 70.
Score Predictions This is another tough match to call.That said I do expect Selby to win it but he can't afford to get off to as slow a start as he has on some occasions this season.Still though I think the Leicsterman will have enough to win this one Selby 6-3 Hawkins
All in all then a fascinating days snooker ahead,I can't wait