There was a mixed bag of results today in the International Championship as the first round came to a close in Chengdu.
Eight matches were contested on Tuesday and the balance between expected victories and unlikely outcomes was rather even.
The biggest shock of the day saw Mark Williams, so often a force in overseas events, crash early at the hands of the ever dangerous Mark Davis.
The 6-4 success for ‘Mavis’ was deserved and included a spectacular 138 century that is the highest break of the tournament so far.
Davis has been just one of a gaggle of players who have benefited from the influx of new events over the course of the last few seasons.
The Englishman has bagged himself a brace of world titles in the 6-reds format while he has also made inroads in the regular format – highlighted by making the semi-finals of both the Wuxi Classic and the Australian Open earlier in the campaign.
This has once again brought the 40 year-old to the brink of a top 16 place, one the had eluded him for the entirety of his career so far, but another triumph this week could bring him to the cusp of finally accomplishing a major goal.
His next opponent will be Marco Fu, who withstood the stern challenge of Martin Gould to prevail 6-5.
Hong Kong’s Fu has been up and down in the last number of years but showed signs of a resurgence at UK PTC 3 in Gloucester at the start of last month when he went all the way to the final.
Fu has had a very good career by any professional’s standards – winning the old Grand Prix, the Premier League and reaching the finals of both the UK Championship and Masters – but many consider him to have fallen short of the expectations he shouldered in his early days on tour.
There is still time for him to achieve more in the game and when his scoring is at hand he remains a very dangerous opponent.
The second big upset of the day came in the other half of the draw where India’s Aditya Mehta edged out Stuart Bingham 6-4.
Mehta’s countryman Pankaj Advani had also qualified for the International Championship but chose to compete in the World Billiards Championship instead – a tournament he went on to win on Sunday.
But 26 year-old Mehta was not going to waste the opportunity of his first qualification for a full ranking tournament and has now bettered his previous best result by two rounds.
Having raced into a 4-0 lead, it looked like Bingham, who had such an incredible Premier League night last week when he won £16,000, may have regained control when he squared the match at 4-4 but Mehta, becoming notorious for his coolness personified approach, took the final two frames for a memorable victory.
He will play Judd Trump for a place in the quarter-finals after the Bristol basher outlasted Fergal O’Brien 6-3 while fellow favourites Mark Allen and Stephen Maguire also enjoyed relatively comfortable triumphs.
Home favourite Ding Junhui managed to earn a rare first round victory on Chinese soil outside of Beijing with a comprehensive 6-1 hammering of teenager Zhou Yuelong but Lu Ning could not join him in the last 16, going down 6-4 to Ricky Walden in a tight affair.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.