Power outages were the order of the day in the Ally Pally this afternoon,as a blackout in the area around the venue lead to a delay over over an hour in the start of the action and then Ding Junhui seemed to suffer to suffer a power cut of his own,as he let a 4-2 slip against Shaun Murphy to allow the Englishman progress to the quarter final 6-4.
It had all started so differently for Ding, as he swept aside any fears that the delay would impact on the players concentration and raced to a 2-0 lead with breaks of 99 & 84.Murphy looked to be struggling,but a missed red from Ding in the next allowed him in and he got off the mark with a solid 71 before a run of 64 drew him level at 2-2 going to the interval.
Up to now we had witnessed snooker of the highest standard,but boy was that to change.Ding managed to take the fifth to lead again at 3-2 before also capturing an error strewn sixth to once again lead by two again at 4-2.On the face of it Ding now looked favourite,but in truth both were now relying on their "B" games as the mistakes began to mount up.
From here it was going to be about who was going to dig in the better and as time went on that increasingly became Murphy as he took the next two to level it up at 4-4.Ding was to have his chance in the next but failure to get on the final yellow allowed Murphy to clear up and take the lead for the first time at 5-4.Into the tenth frame and Murphy seemed set to seal the win only for a missed red to allow Ding one last chance to counter,This effort was to end when he failed to get the cannon he needed to stay on the penultimate red and Murphy got the pots he needed to clinch a satisfying win.
For Ding it will be a night of wondering where it all went wrong after making such a wonderful start,but for Murphy this will be a win that will fill him with confidence after what has been a,by his lofty standards,a poor first half of the season.He will now face Marco Fu in the quarter finals.
In to the evening then and a packed house which included Damien Hirst & Ronnie Wood could only mean thing,The return to The Masters of the world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan..
Hi opponent was Masters debutant Robert Milkins who Ronnie had beaten 6-0 at last months UK Championship and he must have been having serious feelings of dejavu here as Ronnie rushed into a 4-0 at the interval.That became 5-0 in the next and another whitewash loomed large for Milkins before he managed to at least avoid that indignity by winning the next.That proved to be only delaying the inevitable though and Ronnie sealed his 6-1 victory in the next.
So by tomorrow night we will know the eight players who will contest the quarter finals of the 2014 Masters.Two more places are left to be filled and they will come from the winners of the contests between Barry Hawkins & Ricky Walden tomorrow evening and the mouth watering clash tomorrow afternoon between neil Robertson & Mark Allen.