UK Championship 2009: Day Three News

Apologies for the lack of updates today, has been something of a chaotic day at work. Looking at today’s scores it looks like it has been an entertaining day so far…

On paper at least the main stories look to have come from the four last 16 matches that began today, Mark Selby in particular taking advantage of his comeback yesterday by knocking in three centuries against Stephen Hendry this afternoon. I fancied Selby to put in a performance having found his form at 8-4 down against Jamie Cope and he has certainly delivered, though Stephen is by no means out of it having taken three frames himself.

Stephen Maguire meanwhile is in command against Stuart Bingham on what must be a very emotional day for him as the funeral of his grandfather takes place at the same time. He leads 6-2, while Liang Wenbo has continued his sensational run by storming to a 7-1 lead against Mark King. Looks like yet another last 16 exit for the world number 16.

Finally of those matches, John Higgins leads Neil Robertson 5-3 in a repeat of their Grand Prix semi-final. Could well go all the way tomorrow…

Over in the four matches being played to a conclusion tonight however, Ronnie O’Sullivan holds a commanding 7-3 lead over Matthew Stevens, but the other three matches look like they could go on for quite some time.

Ali Carter and Ding Junhui are currently struggling to seize the initiative against their much lower ranked opponents Rory McLeod and Mike Dunn, while Peter Lines is only just resuming against Marco Fu. Peter does however hold what is at first glance a shock 6-2 lead over Marco, though when you consider Fu’s hectic weekend, travelling back from a tournament in the Far East, it begins to make more sense. Peter too is in excellent form right now.

Interesting note by the way, was reading today about Mark Allen’s cue woes yesterday as he had to borrow one to complete his match against Stephen Lee after his regular one broke somehow! In those circumstances he did well to run Lee as close as he did.

Back to tonight however and O’Sullivan has emerged as the winner in what was a very tactical frame 11 against Matthew Stevens. Now with and 8-3 lead it looks to be only a matter of time before he gets over the line…and he has done it the very next frame to book an intriguing last 16 tie with Peter Ebdon. Having seen nothing of Peter this week and very little of Ronnie it is hard to say too much about their form, save that both have defeated strong qualifiers to reach this stage and it will be interesting to see how O’Sullivan deals with Ebdon’s style mentally…

Peter Lines too marches on, now 8-2 up…

And the man from Leeds has completed a tremendous 9-3 victory to book his place in the last 16 of an event for the first time this decade. Celebrating his 40th birthday on Friday, this is some early birthday present for the world number 64 but following 11 straight round one wins since he returned to the main tour in the summer of 2008, it is nice to see him go further still in one of the big events.

Third man through tonight is Grand Prix finalist Ding Junhui who has recovered from 3-5 down to take the next six on the spin against Mike Dunn tonight. If he can start his next match with Shaun Murphy as he finished this one then we could be in for a treat.

Ali Carter and Rory McLeod therefore are the two remaining players out there, currently locked at 7-7.

And Ali has completed a 9-7 victory, a much needed boost to his confidence after a difficult run since that Welsh Open triumph back at the start of the year.