The last 16 of the Gdynia Open has its first eight competitors after a busy day at the Gdynia Sports Arena in Poland on Friday.
The top half of the draw was whittled down to eight in the eighth and final European Tour event on the Players Tour Championship series.
This is the last opportunity for players to earn enough money to place in the top 24 in the Order of Merit standings and therefore qualify for the Grand Finals next month – due to be staged in Thailand.
It is also a crucial chance for those players in, around or outside the top 64 in the world rankings as there are Main Tour places available for those who finish outside of this criteria but who have done well in the Order of Merit.
To be honest, the permutations are so many that I will deal with them upon their conclusion, rather than mindlessly speculate over and over again right now.
If you want to know more about the rankings situation as they develop, I suggest you visit ProSnookerBlog, where rankings guru Matt constantly updates you with all you need to know.
That said, legend Steve Davis may have safeguarded his place for another season after a run to the last 32.
There, he was unfortunate not to progress further as, despite compiling a superb 137 century break, he ultimately went down 4-3 to Judd Trump.
Trump continued his recent resurgence in form with three victories to reach Sunday’s fourth round, where he will meet fellow Englishman Mark King.
After wins over Chris Norbury and Joe Perry, King also needed all seven frames in his triumph over Tom Ford – while he became the latest member of the 100 club in career centuries as well.
It was a day for the powerful players as the line-up consisted of five of the current top 16.
Scots Stephen Maguire and John Higgins set up an intriguing clash with one another after contrasting routes to the last 16.
Maguire surrendered only one frame during his three victories but Higgins was taken to two deciders, first against Elliot Slessor and then Crucible runner-up Barry Hawkins.
Shaun Murphy, looking to collect a piece of silverware for the first time in almost three years, looked in sharp form, especially against Stuart Bingham in a match he prevailed in 4-1.
The 2005 world champion’s next opponent is Jamie Jones, who is having a rare decent tournament since his run to the quarter-finals of the World Championship in 2012.
Finally, Robert Milkins and Matthew Selt will do battle for a place in the quarter-finals – with Selt in particularly good form after two whitewash wins over Allan Taylor and Anthony Hamilton.
Saturday sees the outcome of the bottom half of the draw determined.
Contrary to what I said in my preview – blinded eyes – Neil Robertson is in fact defending the crown he won last season and his first round opponent is Polish amateur Adam Stefanow.
Elsewhere, Mark Williams is involved in arguably the tie of the round with the Welshman taking on China’s Liang Wenbo.
Dubliners Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien are in action, with the latter in with a chance of qualifying for the Grand Finals if he can have a strong weekend.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.
Categories: Snooker News