Grand Prix 2009: Seeds continue to tumble

Only a day and a half into the tournament and already three members of the top eight are out. Click below to read how Ali Carter was sent home by world number 55 Robert Milkins…

Click here to see how the results have affected the provisional rankings.

Ali Carter 1-5 Robert Milkins

0-105(56,43), 79-59(47), 0-89(33,55), 7-63(37), 24-52(29), 52(52)-66(30)

He might not have recorded too many big breaks today but Robert Milkins is through to the last 16 following an excellent win over the last season’s semi-finalist Ali Carter.

For Ali it was one of those days where he could not find his rhythm, seemingly finding it impossible to get on a colour while Robert was putting him under pressure with some brilliant safety play. The final frame of the match summed up Ali’s day in fact as having gone 47-0 in front, he could not win it in one visit and eventually succumbed to a series of small breaks by his lower ranked opponent.

Early on last season Robert looked to be deep in trouble as the results failed to materialise but a quarter-final in the Bahrain Championship really seems to have turned things around and he is now moving nicely up the rankings again.

For Ali however his indifferent run since his Welsh Open triumph continues. I must admit that despite a few people fancying the upset today, I did think that he would come through, particularly as the Grand Prix is one of the big BBC events. Today it just wasn’t his day however and he will be hoping for better come December at the UK Championship.

Ding Junhui 5-4 Matthew Stevens

60(31)-17, 76(71)-18, 19-58(39), 11-50, 46-70(46), 38-66. 105(105)-0, 65(38)-41, 71(51)-31

Ding Junhui showed further evidence of his improving form by taking the last three frames against Matthew Stevens to edge through a 5-4 winner.

It was not the best match you will ever see but from 2-0 down, Stevens won a series of scrappy frames to leave himself just one away at 4-2. Ding however, just as against Wenbo at the World Championship in April, showed that he can come back from behind and came close to a maximum break in the next frame before eventually missing the black on 105.

Matthew had his chances in both of the next two frames to secure what would have been an important victory for his ranking, but ultimately it was Ding who managed to get over the line and book his place in the last 16.

Importantly for China’s number one player, this moves him up from 15th to 10th in the provisional rankings and along with his run in Shanghai, helps him ease the pressure on his young shoulders. I am expecting big things from him this season and it could just come here…