Former World Champion Ken Doherty continued his good form with a massive 5-4 victory over Australian Neil Robertson earlier. The Irishman will now go on to face either Barry Hawkins or Stephen Maguire in the Last 16. That wasn’t this afternoon’s only surprise result as Mark Selby crashed out to Stuart Bingham.
Peter Ebdon 1-5 Liang Wenbo
1-110(37,73), 2-126(118), 77(46)-36, 40-72, 0-79(74), 14-67(45)
Neil Robertson 4-5 Ken Doherty
81(45)-50(42), 68(62)-57, 23-60, 40(38)-73(45), 71-0, 9-66(66), 0-85(85), 69(51)-16, 16-68(30,33)
Mark Selby 3-5 Stuart Bingham
18-69, 1-117(81), 51-39, 71(60)-4, 0-101(101), 30-70(48), 107(39,60)-4, 2-61(41)
John Higgins 5-2 Matthew Selt
8-69(50), 76(42c)-44, 53-49, 35-68, 69(69)-37, 58(42)-23, 83(79)-0
Whilst I mentioned two surprise victors above, I think it is hard to see Liang Wenbo’s demolition of Peter Ebdon as a surprise. Having defeated Ebdon 5-0 in the Northern Ireland Trophy, Liang continued his dominance over the former World Champion and brushed him aside again today. Three breaks over 70 helped the home player on his way to a comfortable victory which will now see him move into the Last 16 where he plays either Ali Carter or fellow countryman Tian Pengfei.
Playing his second match of the tournament already, Ken Doherty was looking to advance past Neil Robertson and give himself some massively needed ranking points. The Darling of Dublin who is appearing to get back some of his form scraped through against the potting machine from Oz. After building up a 2-0 lead, the Australian must have thought he had the match half won. Ken being as gritty as ever dug in and brought the match all square going into the interval. Neil moved 3-2 up before Ken responded with two fantastic breaks of 66 and 85 to take the lead for the first time in the match. While Robertson managed to keep the match alive with a 51 break to force a decider, Ken experience shown through as he won the deciding frame with two runs of 30 and 33. May not have been World Championship winning Ken from the 90’s but he is certainly playing a lot better than of late which is encouraging to see.
Another match which seen the momentum totally move behind one player after the interval was that of Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham. Bingham and Selby had shared the opening four frames before they returned after the interval to see Bingham advance into the next round. Mark will no doubt have been looking to challenge for the title this week and will look back at chances he should have taken that would have given him a better chance of winning the match. Stuart will play Stephen Lee or home favourite Ding Junhui in the next round and hope he can continue his break building that seem him record a century break.
The other match played today was that of Matthew Selt the qualifier who was so impressive in yesterday’s wildcard round against the current World Champion, John Higgins. Whilst John eventually ran out a comfortable 5-2 winner, he lost the opening frame and went into the interval locked at 2-2. After the break however Higgins’ experience showed as he took control of the match with a 69, 42 and 72 break which clinched the match for the World Champion.