Fergal O’Brien showed grit and determination in the Paul Hunter Classic as he came from 3-1 behind to oust Chinese Sensation Ding Junhui in Furth.
The fearless Irishman had earlier in the day endured a marathon encounter with countryman Joe Delaney – eventually prevailing on the final black in the deciding frame before a 4-1 victory over Rod Lawler continued his progress.
O’Brien has enjoyed a resurgence in form this season having reached the semi-finals of PTC 2 and the former Masters finalist has also qualified for the upcoming Shanghai Masters in China next month.
Having emerged victorious from two clinchers, the 39 year-old will undoubtedly be tired but will have to do it all again tomorrow as he faces Michael White for a place in the quarter-finals.
English youngster White had been one of the star performers of the day as he followed up a memorable 4-3 triumph over two-time champion Shaun Murphy on the feature table before beating 2011 PTC Grand Finalist Martin Gould in the third round 4-1.
O’Brien’s fellow Dubliner Ken Doherty enjoyed a couple of wins and looked to have Thai opponent Passakorn Suwannawat on the edge at 2-2 in their last 32 clash but failed to capitalise and the Asian continued his good progress by taking the final two frames.
World Cup member Suwannawat had earlier dispatched of world number one Mark Williams and will meet another Welshman Jamie Jones in the next round after the 23 year-old dumped Jack Lisowski and PTC 3 champion Ben Woollaston in a series of ‘stars of the future’ matches.
2010 world champion Neil Robertson finally found some form as he got rid of Irish hopeful David Hogan and Peter Lines to reach the fourth round and will face Mark Joyce following the Englishman’s 4-3 nail-biting victory over former Top 16 member Mark King.
Finally, China’s Yu Delu ruined Steve Davis’ advance through PTC 4 with a 4-2 win in round three and will meet 2011 Crucible debutant Jimmy Robertson for a potential last 8 clash with 147 hero Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Once again, the crowds in Germany have been fantastic and long may events like this continue to be staged in the country.
The atmosphere and knowledge for the game is fantastic and it is clear that everyone cannot wait for the action to resume tomorrow.
The favourite is surely ‘The Rocket’ but the likes of Robertson, Mark Selby, Stephen Lee and, who knows, maybe even Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien could be in the mix by Sunday evening.