Down to the quarter-finals at the 2012 International Championship and with Mark Selby heading home tonight, Judd Trump knows exactly what is required if he is to become world number one for the first time…
Last man through to the quarter-finals in Chengdu today was Ricky Walden, who required 321 minutes to defeat world number one Mark Selby by a 6-3 scoreline to progress. A match which contained 26 fouls in its first eight frames, 16 of which came within the opening two, it was not a free-flowing affair from the start and perhaps surprisingly, it was Ricky Walden who gained the upper hand by taking all four before the mid-session interval.
As you would expect, Selby did not give up and winning three of the next four with top breaks of 94 and 58, closed the gap to just two frames, before Ricky was able to get over the line and approximately 1:30am local time.
A player often overlooked, perhaps because his success has largely come away from UK shores, Ricky is a two-time ranking event winner in China and following victory against the top ranked player, will be hoping to make it a hat-trick this week in Chengdu.
Awaiting Ricky in the next round is reigning China Open champion Peter Ebdon, who today defeated Stephen Maguire 6-1 in a repeat of that Beijing final. Still in with a chance of a top 16 spot in time for the Masters if he is able to win the tournament, Peter is another who can never be discounted.
Following Selby’s exit today, the door is now open for Judd Trump to usurp the Leicester man at the top of the rankings, which he would do if he were able to make the final this week in Chengdu. Today he faced India’s Aditya Mehta and with a top break of 98, wasted little time in recording a 6-0 whitewash to end the brilliant run of a player celebrating his 27th birthday today. Credit though to Aditya, I am sure that we will be seeing him back on our screens sooner rather than later.
Next up for Judd will be Mark Allen, who gained a measure of revenge over Cao Yupeng to move into the last eight with a 6-2 victory, and subsequently commented on Twitter that never had he wanted to win a match as badly as he did that one.
Up in the top half of the draw, 14-year-old sensation Lu Haotian pulled off another upset by coming back from 3-1 down to defeat experienced Welshman Dominic Dale to reach the quarter-finals of a full-ranking event tournament for the first time. Interestingly, I have had a surge in hits for my previous article considering whether there should be a minimum age limit in professional snooker and Lu’s run certainly adds another element to that particular debate.
Awaiting him is Australia’s Neil Robertson, who saw off another Welshman in Matthew Stevens to move into the last eight. The third frame would prove crucial as Robertson stole it to lead 3-1 and in truth, never really looked back from there.
Finally, Shaun Murphy produced a strong performance to defeat local favourite Ding Junhui to progress to a quarter-final tie with Marco Fu, who recovered from 2-0 down to end the top 16 hopes of Mark Davis, who must be wondering what he has to do in order to move up into snooker’s top tier, having narrowly missed out on a number of occasions recently.