Welsh Open 2013: Trump Through, Will Return To Number One

The last 16 line-up is now taking shape at the Welsh Open and the big story today is that Mark Selby’s surprise whitewash at the hands of Joe Perry, combined with a comeback victory for Judd Trump, means that the latter will return to the top of the world rankings after this event. Click below for a round-up of the action from Newport so far…

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Trailing 3-1 against Dominic Dale this afternoon, it looked as though Judd Trump’s recent run of early exits would continue, the Welshman having hit a top break of 114 to leave himself needing just one more frame to progress. As he has done against Dale before however, Judd was to have the last laugh, winning three frames in a row with runs of 55 and 50 to secure a 4-3 victory.

Not only does his victory earn the International Champion a last 16 tie against Andrew Higginson (a 4-2 winner against Michael Wasley today), but the result also ensures that Trump will regain the world number one ranking following this tournament.

This is because current world number one Mark Selby was to suffer a shock 4-0 reverse at the hands of Joe Perry this afternoon, Joe restricting Mark to just 54 points as he hit top breaks of 111 and 74. With 3,200 points coming off his tally after this event following his semi-final run in 2011, compared to just 575 for Judd, who back then was of course still a qualifier (as hard to believe as it is!), means that regardless of how far Trump can progress, he will reclaim top spot.

As well as Mark, other top players who have already exited the tournament include former world champions John Higgins, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy.

For Higgins, his defeat came at the hands of old friend and rival Ken Doherty, as the 43-year-old Irishman reminded everyone of his enduring class to win 4-1 in their 1998 World Championship final rematch. It has been a strange season for John, who having looked almost back to his best in winning the Shanghai Masters earlier in the campaign, has failed to make an impression on tournaments since.

Shaun Murphy meanwhile was sent home by India’s Pankaj Advani, who came through 4-3 in what proved to be a fascinating encounter yesterday evening. A player unfamiliar to many and on paper something of a rookie at this stage, the eight-time world billiards champion Advani looked anything but a newcomer as he shut out his illustrious opponent in the decider, having earlier constructed an excellent break of 121.

Somewhat ridiculously, there were apparently rumours on Twitter that Shaun had lost the match on purpose, but anyone who knows anything about snooker will know that could not be further from the truth.

The third of those world champions exiting was Mark Williams today, who fell victim to Robert Milkins, the Gloucester man having played very well to secure a 4-1 win. In mitigation for Mark however is the fact that his wife is apparently close to giving birth to their third child, taking Mark’s attention from the snooker to some degree perhaps. Take nothing away from Milkins though, he looked excellent in all departments and continues his quiet rise up the rankings, with a clash against Sam Baird now awaiting him.

Elsewhere, defending champion Ding Junhui is through to the last 16, a 4-0 winner against Mark King today, while there was a fine win for Tom Ford against Wuxi Classic winner Ricky Walden. It is also good to see Alan McManus through to the last 16 of an event for the first time in a couple of years, after the Scot defeated Barry Hawkins yesterday evening.

The tournament continues tomorrow…