With World Cup fever currently gripping the globe and Wimbledon starting to take over our screens in this part of world,it would be easy to miss the fact that the new snooker season has started in earnest,but start it has and eight men still remain on course to lift the seasons first full ranking title this Sunday in Wuxi.
The very reason of course for this tournament been held in Wuxi is the fact that is the homestead of Ding Junhui,so it is therefore unfortunate that he failed to negotiate the first round which was played in England at the start of June and so was missing from the line up here.The fact that he was been made travel half way around the world to play a qualifying match ,while the local wild cards all had their matches held over to the venue is a discussion for another day,but anyway,Ding seems to have put it behind him quickly as he claimed the first of the Asian Tour events last weekend,beating Michael Holt in the final.
Another notable absentee from the last 8 is our new world champion Mark Selby who went down 5-2 in the last 32 to the always dangerous Liang Wenbo.
So what of the last eight?Well considering this is only the first tournament of the new season we have remarkably strong line up still standing as we reach the weeks business end.
The obvious stand out tie,is the clash between Neil Robertson & Shaun Murphy and this one promises to be an early season classic,with both men picking up where they left off at the end of last term.Robertson it has seemed in recent times,has reached a level of performance that he just doesn't fall below and reached this stage with a comfortable 5-1 win over Michael Holt.Murphy for his part beat one of China's real rising stars ,17 yr old Zhao Xintong 5-2 to reach the quarter finals.
The winner of that one will face the winner of Marco Fu & Barry Hawkins.Both these men have fine early season records and came through today with wins over Stuart Bingham (5-4) & Alan McManus (5-2) respectively.
In the other half of the draw Martin Gould faces Stephem Maguire & Robin Hull squares up against Joe Perry
Gould is making a welcome return to the latter stages of an event for the first time in it seems quite a while and got here with a fine 5-3 victory over an in form Ryan Day.On the face of it Maguires 5-0 win over Judd Trump looks like it was a walk in the park,but scorelines can be deceptive and this scrappy match was a lot closer than the score suggests.
Hull & Perry brought the runs of two of the Chinese contingent to and end with Hull recording a 5-1 win over Cao Yupeng & Perry beating Liang Wenbo 5-2.
The last eight matches all take place tomorrow with coverage on both Eurosport channels from 7.30 GMT