Three days down at the Shanghai Masters and with the conclusion of the last 32 round, already we have seen nine seeded players exit the tournament, including Neil Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump.
Click below for a round-up of the main stories so far…
- Click here to view all of the results so far from Shanghai
- Click here to view the updated projected seedings
Such is the level of interest in Ronnie O’Sullivan, whenever he loses a snooker match, it is always something of a story in the mainstream media and even more so when it is against an unseeded player,. It is testament then to how impressive the form of Alan McManus has been over the past 18 months or so that within the game at least, his 5-3 victory against O’Sullivan on Monday was not met with a great deal of surprise.
Still, it was a strong win for the veteran Scot, who despite trailing three times early on, was able to win the last three frames, an excellent clearance in the sixth frame proving particularly crucial to his win. To put his achievements into context, the win is his 14th of the season so far and helps him continue his climb back up the rankings from as low as 55th following the UK Championship, to 25th on the latest projected seedings list.
Next up for Alan will be a clash with compatriot Stephen Maguire, who followed up his recent Six Reds World Championship victory with a 5-1 win against Jimmy Robertson. Having slipped to his lowest ranking in several seasons following a difficult campaign last season, Maguire will be hoping to add to his total with another title this week and it would be no surprise to see him do so.
Also in this quarter are 2007 Shanghai winner Dominic Dale and Stuart Bingham, the former having defeated Judd Trump yesterday for the first time in seven meetings, also continuing his strong form from last week’s six red event. Bingham meanwhile survived an early onslaught from China’s Li Hang, who hit breaks of 141, 136, 65 and 62 to lead 3-1, before Stuart replied with 96, 91 and 78 on his way to a 5-3 victory.
As well as Trump and O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson was another early casualty today as he lost out 5-4 to Welshman Michael White, who won five of the last six frames to reach the last 16 of a full ranking event for the first time since last season’s India Open. Now ranked inside of the world’s top 32, Michael will be hoping to kick on and push further up the rankings this season and next up for him in this event will be fellow Welshman Ryan Day, who edged out the struggling John Higgins 5-4 yesterday.
For Robertson meanwhile, the result means that he will not reclaim the number one ranking this week, Mark Selby now guaranteed to retain that for the foreseeable future and with the opportunity now to build up a larger cushion, following his 5-2 victory against Ken Doherty today.
Next up for the 2011 Shanghai winner will be Michael Holt, who saw off 2008 champion Ricky Walden to move into the last 16. Having reached his maiden ranking event semi-final here in Shanghai 12 months ago, Holt will be hoping for a repeat in 2014 and it will be interesting to see how that match unfolds.
There has been talk on Twitter this evening that the Selby-Holt match will not be televised however, in favour of the match involving wildcard Zhao Xintong, who already this week has defeated Matt Selt and today Marco Fu to continue his impressive record in ranking events. Hoping to avoid becoming Zhao’s latest high profile victim will be Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien, who impressed with a 5-1 win against Robert Milkins.
Up in the top quarter of the draw meanwhile, there were victories for defending champion Ding Junhui, Graeme Dott and Shaun Murphy, but defeat for Joe Perry, who saw Martin Gould win the last four frames earlier today to progress to the last 16 stage.
Finally, Mark Williams will face Mark Allen in the last 16, after the pair came through against Barry Hawkins and Andrew Higginson respectively. On the subject of Mark Allen, keep an eye out over the coming days for my interview with the two-time Haikou World Open winner and recent Paul Hunter Classic champion.