Having defeated both David Gray and Marco Fu at the same tournament 12 months ago, Tian Pengfei was the wildcard that all of the players wanted to avoid and with a 5-4 victory over the in-form Mark Davis today he has shown exactly why…
Click here to view the day’s results over at Global Snooker.
It all looked so good for Mark early on as he moved into a 2-0 lead against his Chinese opponent but he was to be denied an interval lead by Tian as he took frames three and four with excellent breaks of 95 and 69. Davis was then able to edge back into the lead at 3-2 before Tian again hit back with a couple of 50+ breaks to lead for the first time at 4-3.
Sensing the danger, Mark responded in brilliant style with a total clearance of 143, the highest break of his 19 year career and a contender for the highest break of the week. In and around the black spot in the decider it looked like he would be able to go on and take the win but on around 25 he screwed back off the black and ending tight on one of the reds to end his break and eventually his hopes in this year’s competition.
It is therefore Tian who takes another impressive win and moves forward to what will be a dream tie with world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan on Wednesday evening. Surely he will be able to make it back onto the main tour sooner rather than later?
The result is however is a disappointing one for Mark, though at least he has made it to the Crucible and is already assured of a place inside the top 32 at the end of the campaign.
Aside from Mark’s exit, other upsets were few and far between today as six of the eight professionals in action progressed to the last 32. The other loser was Rory McLeod who was handed a 5-0 whitewash by former tour player Liu Chuang in what must have been a difficult match given how he lost out to Gerard Greeene recently at the World Championship qualifiers.
Another 5-0 winner was James Wattana while Andrew Higginson also wasted little time in seeing off Li Yan to book a tie with seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry on Tuesday. Malta’s Tony Drago won his 17th match of the season against the unheralded Shi Shuamgyang, though trailing 3-2 he looked like he might be another early casualty. Also pushed hard was Bjorn Haneveer who won in a decider against Yu Delu.
To view photos from today’s action please click here to view the flickr page of krawattentraeger, @platypusman on Twitter.