Australian Goldfields Open 2012: Burnett Shocks Selby, Ding Through

Day three in Australia saw a real shock as world number one Mark Selby exited the tournament at the hands of Scotland’s Jamie Burnett, a result that sees Jamie through to the last 16 stage of a second successive ranking event…

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Having already defeated former world champion Neil Robertson at the same stage of the recent Wuxi Classic, Jamie Burnett today proved that result was no fluke, with a 5-3 success against Mark Selby.

While the world number one was not at his best throughout the match, it was perhaps the fourth frame that proved to be the most significant as having got himself back into contention, Mark then missed an attempted pot to left-centre, before Burnett then not only escaped from what was a difficult snooker following a number of misses, but in doing so fluked the yellow to set up a frame-winning break.

Though Selby was to continue to fight, Burnett remained the stronger player of the two and eventually ran out a deserved 5-3 winner to book his place in the second round. Remarkably, by my reckoning this represents the first time in at least 15 years that Jamie has made it as far as the last 16 in consecutive rankings events and his reward is a rise to 36th in the latest projected seedings list, within range of a place in the top 32, albeit with his points from making the final of the 2010 Shanghai Masters soon to be removed.

Of more immediate concern however will be his next match in Bendigo when he will face Hong Kong’s Marco Fu for a place in his first quarter-final since that Shanghai run.

Elsewhere today, Martin Gould came through a bout of recent food poisoning to end his terrible run of results during the past six months, with a 5-3 win against 2011 Australian Goldfields Open semi-finalist Ken Doherty. Whether this result will herald a transformation in fortunes for the Pinner Potter remains to be seen, but Martin is too good a player to keep losing and with the lower ranked Cao Yupeng awaiting in the next round, he will be targeting a place in his first quarter-final since the 2011 PTC Grand Finals.

The morning session saw comfortable victories for Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins, against Alan McManus and Xiao Guodong respectively. Reading his post-match press conference, I found it particularly interesting to hear Ding talking about the perception that he performs better outside of China, something that I must say I have never particularly bought into given his results in Beijing in particular.

Ding told World Snooker:

“I don’t think it’s true that I prefer to play outside of China. Sometimes the weather there is not so good for snooker, so on the tables the balls play very heavy. I don’t play like Judd Trump, if he runs out of position he can still pot. I think that we play in a different way, I like to control the white. But when the weather’s no good, very humid, the white is difficult to control. I think I play well in the China Open every time, it is easier in north China.”

“When I’m playing well there’s always less pressure, but when I’m playing badly everywhere is the same.”

For Barry meanwhile, his win against Xiao is a solid result and having flagged up the possibility of him reaching his first quarter-final since 2008 in my tournament preview, he will be hoping to do so with a win against Matthew Stevens in the second round.

Speaking of the second round, Shaun Murphy produced a much-improved performance from his narrow victory in the opening round to sweep aside Tom Ford 5-1 today, while Stephen Lee reached his sixth ranking event quarter-final of 2012 with a comfortable win against Jamie Cope.