Ding Junhui is into the quarter-finals of the World Grand Prix after a strong 4-0 victory over Peter Ebdon on Thursday in Llandudno.
The Chinese 11-time ranking event champion has struggled for much of the last two campaigns, resulting in him plummeting down the rankings.
As a result, the 28 year-old is in danger of dropping outside the top 16 before the World Championship, which would force him to attend the dreaded qualifiers in Ponds Forge.
However, a strong week in Wales could rectify the situation, especially if he goes on to land the £100,000 top prize on Sunday.
Ding would have been happy to see the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby fall in round one and his prime rivals continued to tumbled in the last 16.
He would have been due to face Mark Allen in the last eight but the Northern Irishman let a 2-0 advantage to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh slip by losing the remaining four frames for a 4-2 defeat.
Allen bemoaned his luck on Twitter afterwards but it seems like the 30 year-old often gets himself into good positions before relinquishing his grasp of the situation.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Judd Trump is also out after a 4-2 loss to world champion Stuart Bingham.
Bingham compiled four breaks above 50 to record a morale-boosting triumph over the recent Championship League winner, a timely boost ahead of his upcoming defence in Sheffield.
The 39 year-old probably would have thought his next opponent would be John Higgins but the no.1 seed for this event – based on the top 32 money-earners in the last year – went down in a decider to home hope Ryan Day.
Day knocked in a brace of centuries to keep alive the chances of a Welsh success at the weekend.
Elsewhere, three Englishman booked their spots in the quarter-finals.
Shaun Murphy and Joe Perry enjoyed 4-1 victories over Martin Gould and Kyren Wilson respectively while Ali Carter hammered Tom Ford 4-0.
Carter took advantage of Ford’s upset of world no.1 Selby while Liang Wenbo did likewise in his 4-2 triumph over Michael Holt, who couldn’t capitalise on his surprise success against O’Sullivan on the opening day.
The quarter-finals take place on Friday but, somewhat disappointingly, remain best of seven frames.
The short format suffices for a busy schedule during the first couple of rounds but now that there are only four encounters, coupled with the fact that it is now approaching the business end of the tournament, ensures that it’s a shame that the format hasn’t been lengthened.
However, as it stands, by winning just four frames it marks as a golden opportunity for any of these remaining players to reach the semi-finals of a lucrative ranking event.
Categories: Snooker News