PTC9: O’Sullivan, Robertson Book Last 16 Slots

Little over a day after the final match of the 2011 UK Championship qualifiers concluded in Gloucester, the first full day of the PTC9 event in Antwerp has been played through to the last 16 as the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Michael White (pictured), emerged victorious. Click below for more included updated projected seedings…

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Looking to become the first to take a hat-trick of PTC titles in the same season, both Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson today progressed to the last 16 of the PTC9 event in Antwerp. For Ronnie the day on paper looks to have been relatively straight-forward, just one frame dropped in seeing off Anthony Hamilton, Adam Wicheard and Andrew Norman, while making two century breaks in the process. In normal circumstances I would have expected Anthony to have run Ronnie somewhat closer but playing less than 36 hours after the final black was potted in his 6-5 defeat to Marco Fu in Gloucester, it was always going to be a big ask for him to be at his best today.

Neil Robertson meanwhile had a tougher day as after defeating Mario Wehrmann of the Netherlands early on, he was then pushed hard by Cao Yupeng before coming through a decider against the ever-dangerous Kurt Maflin in the third round having at one stage trailed 3-1. Having won the last two PTC events to have been held outside of the UK, Neil looks to be back to his best this season and has every chance of making it three.

He will not have it easy in his next match however as he comes up against Welsh youngster Michael White who fresh from his good run at the UK Championship qualifiers has maintained his form with victories against Steve Davis and Stephen Maguire, having earlier in the day received a walkover from Finland’s Robin Hull. Having been unfortunate to have missed out on the top 64 at the last seedings cut-off, I have been impressed with Michael’s response, pushing on and continuing to win matches rather than letting his head drop in any way.

Though he could not make it through to the last 16, Davis was at least able to get some important ranking points on the board with victories over Liam Highfield and Lee Page earlier in the day.

Jack Lisowski

Elsewhere, Scottish duo Graeme Dott and Alan McManus were able to win through to the Sunday’s final rounds where they will meet in a warm-up to their clash at next year’s Sky Shootout. In doing so Graeme was able to move up two places to 7th in the latest projected seedings while Alan boosted his position with wins against Tim van Goubergen, Tian Pengfei and Ben Woollaston.

Having lost his opener against this week’s surprise package Li Yan in Gloucester, Jack Lisowski bounced back in fine style with wins against Marcus Campbell, Andrew Pagett and Liu Song, the latter particularly impressive with breaks of 133 and 110 for the Grove-based youngster. He will now meet Ireland’s David Morris in a repeat of their match at PTC2, a clash that I watched in its entirety and was won in fine style by Morris.

Finally, Stephen Lee was able to progress with a test against Ronnie O’Sullivan with victory against Stephen Craigie, Stephen Craigie and Passakorn Suwannawat. Hendry had earlier in the day been able to see off Ireland’s Joe Delaney with a top run of 105 but having defeated Lee convincingly in this season’s PTC7 event, he was not able to repeat the feat in Antwerp.