News, Ranking, Tournaments

China Open Second Round

The last 16 of the China Open takes place today in Beijing as the field in the penultimate event of the season whittles itself down to eight.

UK and Masters champion Mark Selby produced a scintillating performance yesterday to hammer Mark King 5-1 with the aid of three centuries and two further breaks above 80.

But he will not have fond memories of the encounter after botching the final black on a 147 attempt.

Selby joins Ken Doherty, Barry Pinches and Robin Hull as the sorry posse who have all potted 15 reds and blacks, followed by five colours before missing the money ball.

In fairness to the former world no.1, Selby had orchestrated some brilliant shots to keep the break going earlier on the run but a tricky black, with the white near the side cushion, was just one tough attempt too far.

The rattled shot means that Selby lost what would have been a healthy bonus sum of 23,500 pounds but at the end of the day the win is more important.

And if he plays anything like he did again, his opponent Ricky Walden is in for a tough day at the office.

Walden knocked out Ireland’s Ken Doherty in the first round and will be hoping to build on that following a season that began well with victory in the Wuxi Classic but has since endured the trials of inconsistency.

The eye-catching tie of the round, though, is the meeting between Mark Allen and Neil Robertson.

Both players have been playing well in 2013 with Robertson reaching the finals at both the Masters and the PTC Grand Finals while Northern Ireland’s Allen defended his World Open crown.

Both players eased through their last 32 clashes and should be nicely warmed up in what could be a classic.

With so many of the top 10 players already gone by the wayside, it is a good opportunity for the duo to make another run to the business end of a tournament.

Robertson, additionally, with a strong finish to this campaign, could still have his eyes on finishing it with the top spot in the world rankings.

Realistically, for that to happen he will need to beat Allen today.

Elsewhere, two ranking event champions from this season  go head to head as Australian Open’s Barry Hawkins takes on Welsh Open winner Stephen Maguire while German Master Ali Carter challenges the out-of-sorts Mark Williams.

Welshman Williams has been very poor, to put it rather politely, in the last 18 or so months – a stretch of play that has seen him drop from world no.1 to outside the top 10.

But despite many believing that his best days are behind him, the 38 year-old is a proven champion and his fortunes could easily turn around with one or two positive results.

Remember, he has made a comeback from what was seemingly the end of his career before.

Following his impressive display over Judd Trump, Jack Lisowski’s subsequent match is against the reliable Mark Davis.

This is a very winnable game for Lisowski but Davis is a tough nut to crack. A victory here would almost be as significant as his triumph over the ‘Juddernaut’.

Finally, there are two further all-English ties with Shaun Murphy and Stuart Bingham playing Rory McLeod and Robert Milkins respectively while former world champion Graeme Dott takes on Marcus Campbell in the battle of the Scots.

View the results and draw by clicking here

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