Snooker News

Comebacks Galore as International Championship Commences

Ryan Day, Kyren Wilson, and Ricky Walden all produced terrific comebacks on the opening day of the International Championship on Sunday.

Ricky Walden Furth
Walden has been struggling with a back injury for more than a year. Photo credit: Monique Limbos.

The trio highlighted the beauty of the longer encounters, with the format for this lucrative ranking event in China increased to the best of eleven frames.

Riga Masters champion Day trailed Kurt Maflin 4-0 at the interval, a scoreline that would have seen the Welshman suffer an early demise in many of the other events on the calendar.

Maflin looked in imperious form as he reeled off a hat-trick of century breaks before the break but the match turned following the 15-minute respite.

Day responded with his 300th career century break, a 118 in the fifth frame to get off the mark, and duly fought back to deny the Norwegian in a decider.

Wilson and Walden also prevailed in deciding frame thrillers against Tian Pengfei and Peter Ebdon respectively.

2002 world champion Ebdon looked to be coasting to victory against the struggling Walden when he led 5-1 but barely scored another point as the three-time ranking event winner launched an impressive comeback to clinch the match 6-5.

Wilson, meanwhile, was 4-2 down to China’s Tian but also advanced courtesy of taking the final frame shoot-out.

The turnarounds ensured that there weren’t too many upsets of note to speak about on the first day of action in Daqing.

In the held over qualifying round encounters, world champion Mark Selby and former winners Ding Junhui and John Higgins each progressed with relative ease.

There were triumphs at the preliminary stage as well for Chinese foursome Liang Wenbo, Yu Delu, Yan Bingtao, and Zhao Xintong – but Zhou Yuelong succumbed to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Robin Hull.

Back in the last 64, Neil Robertson began his campaign strongly with a comprehensive 6-2 triumph against Gary Wilson.

The Australian is in need of a deep run as he attempts to force his way into the final invite spots for the prestigious Masters in January.

Judd Trump continued his fine form of late with a 6-0 demolition of Ian Burns that lasted shy of 90 minutes.

China Championship winner Luca Brecel was also in fine scoring fettle as he thrashed Li Yuan 6-1 while there were wins elsewhere for Ali Carter, Stephen Maguire, and Martin Gould.

Englishmen Joe Perry, Matthew Selt, and Martin O’Donnell recorded 6-3 successes over Sam countrymen Sam Craigie, Michael Holt, and Sanderson Lam respectively.

Among the others to reach the last 32 were Dominic Dale, Tom Ford, and Zhang Yong – the latter thanks to a 6-3 defeat of veteran Alan McManus.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)


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