Shocks were in short supply on day three of the International Championship as John Higgins,Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ding Junhui and Judd Trump all secured their place in the last 16.
Defending Champion Higgins wasted no time in defeating Welshman Jak Jones. The Scot has already secured 6-0 and 6-3 wins this week and there was another comprehensive victory today. Runs of 53, 79, 60 and 68 helped Higgins into a 5-0 advantage. Jones did respond to take the following two frames, but it was too little too late as the four-time World Champion ran out a 6-2 winner.
“He gave me a few chances early on but then he looked as if he could turn the match around. It could have been a different game if he made it 5-3 but I’m pleased to get through,” said Higgins. “Some frames it is alright, but in others my concentration is terrible so I need to change that.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan had to come back from 4-3 down to see off Norway’s Kurt Maflin. The Rocket looked to be on ominous form as he cruised 2-0 in front. However, Maflin responded brilliantly with consecutive runs of 85 and 124 to level the scores. The world number 42 looked to be playing the better snooker, as he took the lead for the first time. It was at that stage that O’Sullivan upped his levels. He made contributions of 84 and 101 whilst taking the final three frames to seal a 6-4 win.
O’Sullivan said: “Kurt is a good player, very confident and when he gets going he can score big breaks. He’s a powerful player. I had to use my experience to get through.”
Local favourite Ding Junhui overcame two-time World finalist Matthew Stevens in a 6-2 victory. China’s number one displayed some impressive break building as he knocked in runs of 116, 82, 68, 73 and 102 during the win.
World Champion Mark Selby produced a strong showing as he saw off John Astley. The Jester from Leicester prevented the player from Gateshead from scoring a single point in the final two frames and came through in a comfortable 6-2 win. He faces English Open Champion Liang Wenbo in a mouth watering last 16 tie.
Judd Trump eased through with a 6-1 win against Tom Ford. The Juddernaught made two century breaks of 120 and 102 on his way to victory.
World Open Champion Ali Carter completed the comeback of the day as he clawed his way back from 5-2 down against Stephen Maguire to seal a dramatic 6-5 win. The Captain made a gutsy visit of 41 in the decider to help edge himself over the line.
For full results click here.