China Open 2009: Fu falls as Murphy progresses

Another day, another wildcard victory against an established player as Marco became the latest seed to fall. Click below for all of the results from today…

Afternoon Session


Mark Allen 3-5 Stuart Pettman
45-64, 7-67(60), 1-87(87), 69(67)-33, 64-51(44), 20-86(53), 132(132)-0, 1-78(78)
Shaun Murphy 5-1 Cao Xinlong
76(49)-38, 76(36)-1, 30-98(60), 67(53)-0, 102(62)-2, 74(63)-45
Graeme Dott 5-3 Yu Delu
112(101)-8, 62(45)-5, 49-57, 27-71(70), 100(100)-0, 24-85(85), 75(75)-0, 85(76)-24
Marco Fu 2-5 Tian Pengfei
1-99(73), 74(74)-15, 1-105(53), 1-72(72), 0-105(105), 106(67,39)-14, 6-62

Congratulations to Tian Pengfei, who following his impressive victory over David Gray has now knocked out another 110sport player, this time Marco Fu. It appears to have been a high quality match throughout, six breaks over fifty including one century between them, but ultimately it was Tian who managed to score the more heavily and power to victory. It is a disappointing result for Fu but he is at least already well inside the top 16 for next season and will be looking to shine again at the World Championship next month. Tian now goes on to face John Higgins in the last 16.

Following Marco out of the exit door was number 16 seed Mark Allen who continued his up and down season with a 5-3 defeat to Stuart Pettman. Going 3-0 down early on it was always going to be a tough gap to recover and, despite an excellent 132 in frame seven, Stuart was able to hold on and book a tie with the form player of the tour, Ali Carter in the next round.

It was not all joy for the wildcards however as Shaun Murphy and Graeme Dott both recorded important victories to advance in the tournament. For Graeme in particular this is a hugely important result as it moves him up to 34th in the latest rankings, just one win in the World Championship (or a semi-final here), away from Anthony Hamilton in 32nd place. Next up for him will be the winner of this evening’s match between Mark Selby and Stephen Lee, while Murphy goes on to face Neil Robertson.

Evening Session


Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 Fergal O’Brien
50(49)-63(54), 89(89)-47(47), 0-69(34), 86(61)-1, 80(35)-24, 1-69(51), 68(55)-24, 82(554)-18
Mark Selby 5-1 Stephen Lee
25-81(40,33), 77(40)-15, 105(105)-0, 71(46,45)-29, 73(73)-9, 64(44)-44(33)
Stephen Hendry 5-3 Robert Milkins
51-57, 64-41, 34-59(40), 108(108)-0, 22-61, 88(76)-0, 94(94)-0, 87-24
Mark King 5-2 Mark Williams
35-77(77), 82(73)-0, 76-43(43), 70(64)-42(42), 31-70(64), 72(72)-0, 67(65)-9

Having lost the opener, Mark wasted no time in taking the next five frames to defeat Stephen Lee and move into the last 16. Stephen would have hoped for a better result than at the 2007 Masters final when he was also thrashed by Mark, but it was not to be today and he now has just the World Championship to look forward to. Well done to Mark though – having slipped down the rankings a bit recently it was an important match for him to win and next up will be Graeme Dott later in the week.

It has proved to be a good afternoon for another Mark too as world number 15 Mark King has also won to progress to the last 16, defeating 2006 China Open winner Mark Williams 5-2. Having regained his place in the top 16 for this season King has struggled to win his first round matches and to be honest I expected Williams to come through here, but fair play to King for recording what is an excellent win. While he faces an uphill struggle if he is to keep his top 16 place for another season, this can only help and next up for him is a tie with another Welshman, Ryan Day.

The third match of the afternoon session to finish was that between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Fergal O’Brien, the world number one eventually emerging as a 5-3 winner. It was a close match early on as they could not be separated at 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3, but eventually Ronnie showed his class and took the next couple of frames to progress. Fergal might not have had a great season but his slow, methodical style and strong tactical play is always going to test O’Sullivan, indeed going into the match Fergal actually led their head to head 2-1. It is a good win for Ronnie therefore and his next match against Xiao Guodong should be very interesting for the local fans.

And after two hours and 44 minutes, Stephen Hendry has seen off Robert Milkins 5-3 to win his first ranking event match since defeating Milkins back in Bahrain last November. The first three frames were slow going, Milkins pinching the first by six points before Hendry did similar in the second. Milkins then moved back into the lead before Stephen rolled back the years with century break number 727 to level things up at the interval.

Robert again went into the lead at 3-2 but breaks of 76 and 94 turned things around for Stephen and sent him into the lead for the first time at 4-3. Though he needed three or four chances in the next, Hendry got the points on the board and secured what is potentially a crucial victory.

Having lost four round one matches this season his ranking has suffered as a result, but with the 1,200 points he has gained from this win he should have done just about enough now to remain in the top 16 for next season. It is only one win but hopefully he will take some confidence from this, particularly because of his heavy scoring (breaks of 108, 94 and 76), during the match. He faces a tough opponent in Ricky Walden next though, who of course beat him in Shanghai earlier this season on the way to his maiden ranking event title…