Roewe Shanghai Masters 2008: Day Three – Seeds tumble as qualifiers make their mark

Day three marks the end of the last 32 stage with seven matches to be played following Graeme Dott’s withdrawal. Click below to read all about the first four matches:

Ding Junhui 3-5 Dave Harold

In the featured match on Eurosport today, Stoke’s Dave Harold continued his rich vein of form to record a surprising, if not totally shocking victory over the out of sorts home favourite Ding Junhui.

Predictably this was the final match of the morning to finish as the match was a largely tactical affair, starting in the opening frame in which Dave Harold always remained in control. The second was similar, though Ding had a number of chances to level the match but he just couldn’t seem to get going, missing a pink on 23 before eventually gifting Harold a 2-0 lead with another error.

Dave was not firing on all cylinders himself though and was beginning to allow Ding back into it. Though Ding was still faltering, with the amount of chances that Dave was giving him it appeared to be only a matter of time before he gained a bit of form, eventually making it 2-1 with a break of 51.

The crucial frame though was probably frame four which Ding really should have won but Harold who was looking to take full advantage of his struggles managed to snatch it to lead 3-1 at the interval. At 2-2 Ding could have regrouped and started again from scratch but as it was, Harold deserved his lead and never really looked back.

They shared the two frames following the interval before Dave should really have taken the match 5-2. A wild shot on the penultimate red gave Ding a reprieve however as he pulled it back to 4-3. The let off was to be short lived though as Harold made a nice break under pressure in frame eight to get the job done.

Although not the most entertaining match I have ever seen, I doubt that Dave will care as he continues his blistering start to the new season. Next up for him is a clash of the veterans with Steve Davis in what is a repeat of their last 16 match here last season. Dave won 5-1 on that occasion and will be hoping for a similar result this year.

Ding’s malaise continues however as he remains a shadow of the player who won those three ranking events a few years ago. It is hard to believe but his position in the top 16 of the rankings appears to be genuinely under threat right now so he needs to turn things around sooner rather than later.

Williams, Bingham and Hicks progress

Bouncing back from his amazing defeat to Simon Bedford in the Grand Prix qualifiers last Thursday, double world-champion Mark Williams produced an impressive performance against Tiptree’s Ali Carter to earn a tie with Jamie Cope. Something of a specialist in the Far East having won several ranking events here in the past, Mark will have done his chances of regaining a spot in the 16 no harm at all.

World number 3 Shaun Murphy fell victim to the biggest shock of the day by comprehensively losing out to Andy Hicks this morning. Having warned that he wasn’t totally prepared for this event before his match, Murphy’s was true to his word as he slipped to a 5-1 defeat. Hicks did play well however, a break of 127 after the interval being the highlight as he moved into the last 16 of an event for the first time in a while where he will face Marco Fu or Anthony Hamilton.

Finally the 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon slipped to another first round defeat, this time to 21 ranked professional Stuart Bingham. Already with a cloud hanging over his head in the shape of an investigation into his 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Liang Wenbo in the Northern Ireland Trophy in August, Ebdon’s place in the top 16 is looking increasingly fragile these days.

Ali Carter 2-5 Mark Williams 88(35)-54(50), 25-64(32,32), 59(59)-48(47), 27-72(43), 0-105(47,58), 0-91(86), 51(51)-67(34,33)
Shaun Murphy 1-5 Andy Hicks 44(44)-79(57), 59-48, 5-71(71), 0-135(127), 29-118(47), 26-92(51)
Jamie Cope w/o Graeme Dott – Dott has broken his arm playing football and is flying home for an operation and hopes to be fit for the Grand Prix
Peter Ebdon 3-5 Stuart Bingham 1-68(60), 114(114)-7, 34(34)-91(39,520, 70(43)-36, 56(45)-12, 0-103(103), 55(51)-63, 22-76(75)
Ding Junhui 3-5 Dave Harold 17-80, 42-68(34,33), 74(58)-14, 36-67(50), 62(40)-4, 6-72(450, 69(58)-46(46), 0-75(74)