Grand Prix 2009: Ding and Milkins complete last eight line-up

After a succession of late finishes this week, tonight we were done by 9:30pm as Ding Junhui and Robert Milkins both recorded comfortable wins to move into the quarter-finals…

Click here to see how the results have affected the provisional rankings.

Stephen Maguire 1-5 Ding Junhui

20-80(80), 16-71(38), 0-109(57,52), 39(39)-74(74), 97(93)-0, 34-91(67)

He might have come into the match with a 0-6 head to head record against home favourite Stephen Maguire tonight but that did not stop Chinese number one Ding Junhui from producing an impressive performance to book a tie with Peter Ebdon in the next round.

It was Stephen who had the first opportunity of the match but as he could make just 20 points before having to play safe, Ding soon made him pay with an excellent break of 80. This proved to set the tone for the evening as while Stephen did not play too badly and did suffer from some bad run of the ball in places, Ding was comfortably the better plater and added breaks of 37, 57, 52 and 74 to lead 4-0 at the break.

Stephen did manage to avoid the whitewash with a nice break of 93 when the action resumed after the interval but Ding soon ensured that the Scot’s poor start to the season would continue with a killing thrust of 67 in the sixth.

Following his comeback victory against Liang Wenbo at the Crucible I have been quite impressed with Ding’s attitude and I would suggest that his performances so far this week are further evidence that perhaps he has now turned a corner with his game. Now into his first quarter-final since the same tournament 12 months ago, he is for me in with a good chance of going all the way if he can remain focused…

Robert Milkins 5-1 Mark King

66(42)-0, 43-66(33), 65-41(41), 76(75)-1, 90(33,57)-5, 67(40c)-60(60)

After his heroics last night the pressure was off Mark King to some extent but his dismal run in the last 16 of events continues thanks to the performance of Robert Milkins this evening.

Robert did not score particularly heavily but his safety play was again a strong point as it was in his early match and he went 3-1 up at the interval with a break of 75, the highest of the match. Mark looked like pulling one back at 4-1 down and perhaps starting another comeback like that against Ricky Walden but it was not to be as Milkins cleared with 40, highlighted by a marvellous shot from pink to yellow when it did not look possible.

Into his first quarter-final since last year’s Bahrain Championship, Robert has already guaranteed himself a rise up the ranking and will now be looking to reach only the second ranking event semi-final of his career. Against Mark Williams, the man who defeated him 10-1 at the World Championship with a 147 back in 2005 it will be far from easy but the way Mark played today, he has to be in with a chance…