Top Names Through To Haikou Last 16

Three days down at the 2013 Haikou World Open and with the last 16 line-up now complete, there is no shortage of quality remaining in the tournament, with just Mark Williams and Mark Davis of the top 16 to fall, in addition to the absent Ali Carter. Click below for a round-up of the tournament so far…

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A winner in Newport little over a week ago, Stephen Maguire maintained his strong recent form with a 5-3 victory against Alan McManus today to progress to the last 16. Having shared the opening four frames, Maguire was able to move two clear at 4-2, before sealing victory a couple of frames later with a break of 50.

Next up for Stephen will be a match with Ricky Walden, who strangely enough was able to defeat Peter Ebdon on Monday, wearing Maguire’s clothes and using his cue, his own having not arrived at the venue in time.

Another Scot joining Maguire will be John Higgins, who hit breaks of 68, 62, 61 and 51, on his way to a 5-3 victory against the in-form Alan McManus today. Awaiting Higgins in the next round will be Stuart Bingham, who made a top break of 126 on his way to a 5-2 win against wildcard (and conqueror of Andrew Higginson), Zhao Xintong.

The third Scot through to the last 16 is former world champion Graeme Dott, who hit what is to date the tournament high break of 139, in defeating Jamie Cope 5-2 yesterday. His next opponent will be Australia’s Neil Robertson, who came through yesterday against Dominic Dale by the same scoreline, despite not making a break higher than 49 during the match.

As well as the likes of Robertson and Higgins, fellow top ranked players Mark Selby and Judd Trump were also able to progress, neither losing a frame in defeating Lyu Haotian and Mark Joyce respectively. In particular, check out this positional shot from Judd, for a reminder of the talent that he possesses.

Shaun Murphy is also through, a 5-4 winner against Martin Gould, as are Ding Junhui and Matthew Stevens, the latter having recovered from 3-0 and 4-2 down to defeat David Gilbert yesterday. There was however another early exit for the struggling Welshman Mark Williams, who lost out to Marco Fu earlier today.

Generally speaking, I haven’t been able to watch a great deal of the tournament so far due to work commitments, however judging by the reaction on Twitter, the coverage of the tournament on ITV4 has been well-received, unsurprisingly given the selection of Clive Everton and Neal Foulds to head up the commentary team.

Reactions on the conditions and indeed the venue appear to be mixed, the hotel and venue generally receiving praise, certainly in comparison to that used last year, though problems with rain coming through onto one of the match tables yesterday and seemingly an unusual number of flies, have not necessarily helped.

Still, with so many top players remaining in the draw, it is hard to imagine that the standard will not improve as the tournament progresses…