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Thursday, 27 February 2014

Welsh Open Last 16 round up.

Last 16 day at the 2014 Welsh Open saw the games current biggest names all record straight forward wins,one veteran achieve at much needed confidence booster and one new kid on the block announce himself on the snooker stage.

So lets start with the biggest shock we've had this week,as 19 year old Joel Walker edged past the defending champion Stephen Maguire 4-3.Walker,who Ronnie picked out as potential future champion in a Riley sponsored event at the age of 16,has showed some good form of late,but this is surely the biggest win of his career to date and it can only serve him well in the future to have held himself together so well in a tense decider.

His reward for this victory is a quarter final against the in form man of the season Ding Junhui,who wasted no time at all in whitewashing another young talent Scott Donaldson 4-0.

I'm not sure if Joel Walker was even born the first time Ronnie O'Sullivan faced John Higgins in a ranking event,but he will certainly have,like the rest of us,enjoyed their many battles over the last 20 yrs and we will get another chance to see these two great rivals clash tomorrow after both came through contrasting matches today.

Ronnie's progress through this tournament has been remarkably smooth and he once again made short work of Ricky Walden here,The one small consolation for Walden was that he managed to avoid another whitewash against the Rocket by taking the fourth frame,only a blip as Ronnie eased over the line in the next to win 4-1.

Higgins,for his part,had to come through a real battle with Judd Trump,eventually beating his young opponent 4-3.This will have been a particularly satisfying win for the Scot who spoke before this event about his lack of belief in his own ability to kill off the close ones these days,He managed that here courtesy of a wonderful cocked-hat double on the final red before clearing the colours,to set up that mouth watering Quarter final clash with Ronnie.

Home favourite Mark Williams couldn't quite make it three out of three for the "class of  92" as he failed to make most of some good scoring opportunities before going down 4-2 to Marco Fu. Fu will now face Barry Hawkins who beat Liang Wenbo 4-2.

Elsewhere Mark Selby continued his own comfortable passage through the tournament with a fine 4-1 win over an out of sorts Ali Carter and he will now face Joe Perry who came through a deciding frame with Stuart Bingham winning in the end 4-3.

A great day of quarter final awaits us on Friday then with the O'Sullivan v Higgins match the obvious stand out match,but the other games also hold their own fascination.The action starts on Eurosport at 12pm GMT

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