Sunny Akani
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Mark Williams Loses to Sunny Akani

Mark Williams became the biggest casualty of the International Championship so far after a surprise 6-3 defeat to Akani Songsermsawad in the last 64 on Monday in Daqing.

Sunny Akani
Sunny Akani has reached two ranking event quarter-finals in his career.

The world champion led the affable Thai player, known as Sunny Akani, 3-2 but was mostly powerless as his opponent went on a four-frame surge of power scoring to move into the next round.

The 23 year-old barely missed a ball as he reeled off runs of 108, 101, and 62 to confidently dispatch of the Welshman, who by the end appeared pretty exhausted and ready for the exit.

Several of the other marquee names safely progressed to the last 32, though, with Mark Selby looking particularly impressive in his 6-0 thrashing of Ireland’s Ken Doherty.

Doherty rolled back the years by triumphing in the UK Seniors Championship last week but there wasn’t much he could do about the world number one, who compiled a hat-trick of century breaks and two additional runs above 50 in recording the whitewash win.

Selby is the two-time defending champion of the International Championship so was already among the favourites this week but, after the tragedy in his home city that involved the death of the owner of his beloved Leicester City from a terrible helicopter crash, the 35 year-old might just be that bit more motivated to emerge victorious at this difficult time in tribute.

Meanwhile, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson enjoyed routine successes over Alan McManus and Matthew Selt respectively – each adding to the tons tally that is likely going to look a tad ridiculous come the end of the competition.

In just two days that has covered only the held-over preliminary round fixtures and the first round proper, there have already been just shy of 50 centuries made in China, with many players already commenting on the table conditions and the size of the pockets.

It was highlighted again in Mark Allen’s superb comeback against Liam Highfield in which the Northern Irishman overturned a 4-0 and 5-2 deficit with breaks of 127, 125, and 120 to prevail in a decider.

Tom Ford and Jimmy Robertson traded four centuries in succession between them before the former dumped out the recent European Masters champion with a 6-3 victory.

Elsewhere, home favourite Ding Junhui won the last two frames to hold off compatriot Zhang Anda in a tense contest by a couple of frames but China’s number two Liang Wenbo crashed out by the same margin to Ian Burns.

There were contrasting victories for Zhao Xintong and Zhou Yuelong then with the latter comprehensively beating amateur wildcard He Guoqiang 6-1, in contrast to Zhao’s 6-5 thriller against veteran James Wattana.

Boasting an average shot clock of just over 16 seconds, Zhao was another to get in on the big break action as he recorded a trio of tons of his own, including a timely 116 in the final frame.

Hong Kong’s Marco Fu also needed all eleven frames to make it into the next stage, scoring a brace of centuries in denying Andrew Higginson.

Among the others to advance were Michael Holt, David Gilbert, Robert Milkins, David Lilley, and Hossein Vafaei – who knocked out former world champion Graeme Dott.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the British Open – won by Mark Williams.

1. Mark Selby
2. Judd Trump
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. Shaun Murphy
7. John Higgins
8. Mark Williams
9. Stephen Maguire
10. Ding Junhui
11. Mark Allen
12. Barry Hawkins
13. Stuart Bingham
14. Jack Lisowski
15. Yan Bingtao
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy