One of the real beauties of watching sport is the unpredictability that each event brings.Last year Ding Junhui came to the Crucible very much the man in form having collected five ranking titles through the season,but crashed out to Michael Wasley,This time around he comes here on the back of an awful season ,but there may just be signs that he is starting to find his game again.
In the first session of his match with Mark Davis he was all at sea early on trailing 4-0,but it had seemed he'd weathered the storm escaping from session 4-3 and so it proved today as Davis had no answer for Dings heavier scoring,with the Chinese running out a 10-7 victor.Just how much he was concentrating was apparent in frame nine when it was only after potting the thirteenth red and playing up for the blue that he realised he had actually been on for a 147.
Speaking in terms of Ding having a tough year though does pale into insignificance when you think about the health battles off the table that Ali Carter has faced since he last graced the games biggest stage.The welcome he received here from the Crucible crowd I'm sure will stay with him for a long time and once again he showed his liking for the place with a comfortable 10-5 win over the dogged Scot Alan McManusThe damage here was done early on when he extended his 5-3 overnight advantage to 7-3 and from there never looked back.
One of the seeds I had thought might be vulnerable here was Mark Allen who has fallen off the radar in recent months following an excellent first half of the campaign.Here he faced Ryan Day & it was the Welshman who took the early initiative to lead 3-1. From here though Allen found his best form to reel off nine frames on the bounce to ease through to the second round 10-3.
Elsewhere in matches that started today Ronnie holds a 7-2 lead over Craig Steadman after a bizarre session that started with a failed maximum attempt from O'Sullivan and ended with him wearing tournament director Mike Ganley's shoes!
The this evening we had the rematch of the 2000 final here between Mark Williams & Matthew Stevens,Suffice it say that this session didn't live up to the standard we saw then as both players struggled,but Stevens strgulled the better to take an overnight lead of 7-2.
So there you have it a day of failed Maximum attempts ( although its debatable if you can call it a failed attempt when the player doesn't realise its on) & shoes swapping. What can day five bring!!