David Morris is through to the last 32 of the Indian Open after a convincing 4-0 win over David Gilbert on Wednesday.
Defending champion Ding Junhui is out, though, after suffering yet another early exit in a ranking event – this time at the hands of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Irishman Morris is on the cusp of breaking into the top 50 in the world rankings for the first time in his career and with every victory looks set to rise even higher as he has no points to defend in the two-year rolling ranking system.
The Kilkenny cueist returned to the Main Tour in 2013 after a year back on the Irish amateur scene and has subsequently found life much better on the circuit than that of his initial six-year stint.
The 26 year-old got the better of Gilbert in a series of tight frames to open a 3-0 cushion before a 78 break in the last sealed his place in the second round.
There, Morris will take on former world champion Graeme Dott, who overcame Finland’s Robin Hull in a tight decider.
Despite having to face such a formidable opponent, Morris will undoubtedly be hoping to seize his opportunity with so many of the bigger names absent from Mumbai this week.
Meanwhile, Ding’s torrid campaign continued as he let a 3-2 lead slip in losing 4-3 to Thailand’s Un-Nooh.
Even though the Chinese reached the world no.1 position for the first time in his career earlier in the season, the achievement was largely off the back of his stellar performances of last year.
In fact, his results have been so poor this season that he lies only just inside the top 32 in the one-year rankings list, meaning a dramatic slide down the standings could be in store next season if he can not regain his form from somewhere.
More pressingly, with the World Championship on the horizon Ding will be concerned that he will be unable to confidently compete with his main rivals at the Crucible, so often a venue that has trumped him in the past.
Elsewhere, home favourite Aditya Mehta, the last remaining Indian in the draw, withstood a firm fightback from Mark King to deny the Englishman in a decider and book a meeting with Ricky Walden in the last 32.
Mehta carries the weight of a nation on his shoulders and, for a tournament that has been beset by problems, it would perhaps be fitting if he could go someway in emulating his run to the final in 2013’s inaugural edition.
Welsh Open champion John Higgins, recent Shoot-Out winner Michael White and Belgian Luca Brecel, who overcame Dublin’s Fergal O’Brien 4-2, were other victors on day two.
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