Three days into the 2014 International Championship in Chengdu and with the big names continuing to drop like flies the question is,as we enter the last 16,can anyone stop Ronnie O'Sullivan from claiming the title here come Sunday.
Lets start though with the shocks and they don't come much bigger than the 6-5 victory of Joe Swail over Neil Robertson. All this seemed a million miles away when Robertson went into an early 3-0 lead before Swail closed to 3-2..Robertson again asserted to move within one of victory at 5-3,but showing the fighting qualities that have marked his whole career Swail dug in to make it 5-5 before winning the decider for a famous win.
He will next play Ricky Walden who also had to dig deep to edge past Zhao Yeulong,winning the last two frames to record a 6-5 win.
That result came after Robert Milkins turned the recent form book on its head earlier,beating Shaun Murphy 6-1 to set up a last 16 clash with Xiao Goudong,who scrapped past Noppon Saengkham 6-5,but the shocks did not finish there, as Jamie Burnett fought back to win the last two frames to beat 2012 champ Judd Trump 6-5.
Trump had seemed to weather the storm,despite not playing his best,,when he turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead,but when he let a chance to close the match slip in the next it allowed Burnett to make a gritty clearance to level it, before sealing his win in the decider.He will now face Peter Ebdon who earlier had impressively beat Joe Perry 6-1
As all this carnage was happening around him O'Sullivan looks to be in ominously good form as he put a sluggish start against Ben Woollaston in the first round behind him,to cruise to a 6-1 victory over Anthony McGill in round two. He will next play Li Hang who started the shock results rolling here on Sunday with a 6-1 win over John Higgins and followed it today with another 6-1 win this time over Zhao Xintong
In other results Michael White continued his good start to the season beating Mitchell Mann 6-4 & will next meet Ian Burns who defeated Craig Steadman 6-3.
Mark Williams showed signs of returning to something near his best with a 6-2 defeat of Barry Hawkins and will next face Sam Baird who beat Mark Davis 6-5.
Marco Fu continued his quest to go one better here than last year,beating David Gilbert 6-5 and will next play Rod Lawler who ended the hopes of Fergal O'Brien with a comprehensive 6-1 win.and the remaining last 16 clash will see a rematch of last monthes Shanghai Masters final with Stuart Bingham facing Mark Allen after Bingham beat Day 6-3 & Allen edged Gould 6-4 in a high quality clash.
Last 16 Draw
Michael White v Ian Burns
Stuart Bingham v Mark Allen
Mark Williams v Sam Baird
Li Hang v Ronnie O'Sullivan
Joe Swail v Ricky Walden
Peter Ebdon v Jamie Burnett
Robetr Milkins v Xiao Guodong
Marco Fu v Rod lawler