Judd’s Trumped

Defending champion Judd Trump was sent crashing out of the International Championship in the opening round in Chengdu.

The 24 year-old compiled two centuries but was powerless as he went down 6-5 to veteran Alan McManus.

The defeat means that Trump continues an undesirable run whereby he has failed to win a match at a ranking event venue this season – and he didn’t even qualify for India.

Such was the former UK champion’s bravado before the tournament that he boasted he was not only going to reign supreme¬†for a second time this week but he was also predicting a 147 max in the process.

From what he has produced, I think it is clear he should be focusing on getting back to winning single encounters rather than concentrating on stylishly winning events, because at the moment he is streaks behind the likes of Ding, Robertson and O’Sullivan.

All of these three men advanced into the second round unscathed, although Ding and Robbo were made to work hard for their successes.

World no.1 Robertson surged into a 5-0 lead over Alex Davies but only prevailed 6-4 after a spirited comeback while Ding, who is bidding for a hat-trick of rankers in succession, squeezed past countryman Cao Yupeng in a decider.

Both of these players, along with the ‘Rocket’ who enjoyed a more comfortable 6-2 victory over Anthony McGill, are in the bottom half of the draw.

This is clearly the more dangerous section following not only Trump’s exit in the top half, but also the demise of former world champion Shaun Murphy, who has also struggled for form of late.

The Englishman was always going to have a tough time against the talented and tricky obstacle of David Gilbert and so it proved, with the latter getting the better of the fifth seed 6-4.

Most of the other big names advanced, except for Scot Stephen Maguire after being downed 6-3 by up-and-coming youngster Kyren Wilson.

The last 32 takes place today with plenty of interesting ties to look out for.

World champion O’Sullivan takes on recent Asian Tour Event Three winner Liang Wenbo, who has enjoyed a considerable return to form of late.

Ronnie will be the clear favourite but Liang will be in keen mood, especially given the fact that he is on home soil and the Chinese have been so successful of late.

John Higgins and Matthew Stevens pits two players who have enjoyed many battled over the last two decades while Shanghai Masters runner-up Xiao Guodong and Australian Open champion Marco Fu will be closely followed by the local crowd.

Dubliner Fergal O’Brien recorded a solid victory over Ben Woollaston in the last 64 and his reward, perhaps now anybody else’s, is an encounter with Rod ‘The Plod’ Lawler.

That match is in the middle session of three but it would not be surprising to see it being pulled off prior to the evening bout of play seeing as both of these dogged competitors like to take their time and are equally difficult to beat.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here. 

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