Wuxi Classic 2014: Down To 16


Three days in to the Wuxi Classic and we are down to the last 16 stage, with world champion Mark Selby the most notable casualty so far, not withstanding Ding’s qualifying exit last month in Gloucester.

Click below for a round-up of the main stories so far, as well as a reminder of all of the useful links to follow…

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Mark Selby had made a strong start to his reign as world champion in the Wuxi Classic by dropping just one frame in each of his first two matches, but his run was to come to an end today at the hands of Chinese number three Liang Wenbo, who recorded a 5-3 win to reach the last 16.

It was a high quality match with both players recording century breaks along the way, but from 2-2 at the mid-session interval it was Liang who claimed three of the next four to move into the next round. Next up for Liang will be Joe Perry, who himself has dropped just one frame in his three matches so far, today cruising past fellow On Q player Robert Milkins with a top break of 84.

Another man carrying on his strong form from last season was Scotland’s Alan McManus, who today repeated his Crucible victory against countryman John Higgins with a deciding frame victory. It was in fact the four-time world champion Higgins who led 3-1 at the interval, before McManus responded with breaks of 78, 54 and the all-important blue, pink and black in the final frame to complete a 5-4 win.

Perry (2)

Awaiting Alan in the next round will be Barry Hawkins, who survived a real scare from 14-year-old wildcard Yan Bingtao to also get through a deciding frame today. It was the wildcard who took a 2-0 lead early on, having already sent Yu Delu and Barry Pinches home from the tournament, but failing to compile a 50 break today, perhaps it was Barry’s scoring that proved to be the difference.

On the subject of scoring, last season’s century break history maker Neil Robertson took his tally for the new season so far today to two during a 5-3 victory against new professional Michael Georgiou. Having failed to win a match during his first spell on tour six years ago, Michael has already enjoyed a better time of it this time around by making it through to the last 32 stage in Wuxi and started strongly to lead 2-0, before Robertson was able to turn the match around.

Next up for the defending champion will be a match against Michael Holt, who hit a century break of his own in defeating Sam Baird today.

One man who has caught the eye this week is the very highly rated wildcard Zhao Xintong, who defeated Andrew Norman, Chris Melling and now Jack Lisowski to reach the last 16 stage in Wuxi. Given the reputation enjoyed by the 17-yearo-old, who last year finished as runner-up in the IBSF World Championship, his run comes as little surprise and it will be very interesting to see how he measures up against a former world champion in Shaun Murphy tomorrow.


Also impressing has been Robin Hull, who has followed up his Crucible qualification at the end of last season with a run to the last 16 stage here, today defeating Graeme Dott 5-3 to progress. Impressively, Robin opened the match with breaks of 139 and 134 to establish an early lead, before eventually rounding off victory with a run of 72.

Robin is a player who looking at the rankings, is a prime example of how the new prize-money list can helps players who enjoy deeper runs, in fewer tournaments, relative to those entering every tournament with more limited success. No doubt that is a subject for another day, but more immediately he will now meet Cao Yupeng tomorrow for a place in the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, Stephen Maguire and Judd Trump are perhaps players looking to rebound after tricky seasons last year and will meet tomorrow for a chance to progress, while the resurgent Ryan Day continued his improved form of late with a good win against countryman Mark Williams.

Stuart Bingham too got a strong win under his belt against Anthony Hamilton, coming back from 4-2 down (resuming after being taken off at that point), to win 5-4 and book a match with 7th seed Marco Fu tomorrow.

The action continues…