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O’Brien Battles Through in Bulgarian Open

Fergal O’Brien is into the fourth round of the Bulgarian Open after winning his opening three bouts in Sofia on Friday.

O'Brien is 31st in the world rankings - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

O’Brien is 31st in the world rankings – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The Irish no.1 was made to work hard but in typical ‘Ferginator’ fashion emerged from a trio of tough ties to reach Sunday’s last 16.

The 43 year-old first saw off England’s Michael Georgiou 4-2 before repeating the trick against former world champion Peter Ebdon, who had earlier in the day ousted Ireland’s national amateur champion Brendan O’Donoghue.

O’Brien then needed all seven frames to dispatch of Mark King in the third round, a win that sets up a clash with Judd Trump for a place in the quarter-finals.

Trump, troubled by inconsistency this season, was back scoring heavily in amongst the balls and enjoyed victories over Gerard Greene and Andrew Higginson.

Meanwhile, world no.1 Mark Selby recorded a brace of 4-2 triumphs over Alfie Burden and Eden Sharav in support of his opening 4-0 whitewash of Syd Wilson to make it through the first day.

Eccentric Welsh potter Dominic Dale will challenge the China Open champion for a last eight berth after the two-time European Tour event winner was in superb form.

A 138 in his win over amateur Peter Devlin led to two further tons in his 4-2 triumph against Mitchell Mann, before the 43 year-old inflicted a whitewash defeat on Scot Alan McManus.

Elsewhere, Sam Baird didn’t hang about as he bagged a hat-trick of 4-0 wins – the first over recent Ruhr Open champion Rory McLeod who went from hero to zero in a matter of weeks.

Baird will play Jimmy Robertson tomorrow after the Haining Open semi-finalist continued his run of good form with victories over Allan Taylor, Michael Leslie and Rod Lawler.

Finally, Ryan Day edged Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson in a decider and the Welshman will play Mark Joyce in the fourth round.

Saturday sees the bottom half of the draw contest their first three games to complete the last 16 line-up which will fight it out for the title on Sunday.

The likes of John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Mark Williams enter the fray while world champion Stuart Bingham will be tested by promising young amateur from Ireland Josh Boileau.

Dublin’s Ken Doherty has a bye into the second round after the withdrawal of Jimmy White, who he was due to meet in the last 128.

Click here for the full draw.

Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.