Murphy On Course for Ruhr Double

Some big names will be battling it out for the Ruhr Open title after the last 16 line-up was completed on Saturday in Germany.

Murphy beat Robert Milkins in the 2014 final - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Murphy beat Robert Milkins in the 2014 final – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Defending champion Shaun Murphy remains in the hunt to continue his reign in Mulheim after emerging from some tricky tests with David Grace, Sam Craigie and Gerard Greene unscathed.

The Englishman will take on Tian Pengfei for a place in the quarter-finals following an impressive outing for the Chinese competitor that saw him knock in two centuries throughout the day before ousting countryman Li Hang in the last 32.

In truth, though, the day belonged to Alan McManus – the veteran Scot who is characterised by his gritty determination both on and off the table.

The 44 year-old certainly proved that yesterday as he refused to let defeat to Barry Pinches in a 100 minute sixth frame – which broke the longest frame in professional snooker record – alter his poise as he subsequently took the decider to continue his progress in the tournament.

McManus was taken the distance in the third round too by compatriot Stephen Maguire, but he won the last three frames to deny an opponent who has been struggling to feature in the business end of competitions of late.

Dominic Dale will be McManus’ next challenge after the Welshman secured a brace of 4-2 successes over Graeme Dott and Zhang Yong.

Meanwhile, Barry Hawkins and Mark Allen will battle it out on Sunday, each also negotiating their own tight tussles on a busy day in the European Tour event.

Hawkins appeared to be coasting to victory over Jimmy White in the first round before seeing the Whirlwind fight back from 3-0 down to force a decider, only to then finally secure victory courtesy of a 61 break in the decider.

After dispensing of Irish amateur Josh Boileau and Jack Lisowksi 4-2 in his opening bouts, Allen’s even bigger test came in his next tie.

Unlike White, Allen was able to capitalise on reversing a 3-0 deficit, knocking in runs of 104, 59 and 70 to stun Joe Perry and send him packing a day early.

Elsewhere, 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon battled his way into contention for glory with three hard-fought victories and will take on David Gilbert this morning.

What started as a promising tournament with five Irishmen featuring in the first round proper ended in disappointment as only one of them was able to negotiate the initial hurdle, and none able to reach Sunday’s final day.

Still, it promises to be an interesting finale to the Ruhr Open as a large enthusiastic crowd is expected to fill the arena on Sunday to watch the 2015 champion crowned.

Click here to view the draw.

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