Hitman Downs The Rocket

HoltMichael Holt has secured his third win of 2016 against Ronnie O’Sullivan with a brilliant 6-4 victory at the International Championship in Daqing.

The Hitman had already accounted for O’Sullivan at the World Grand Prix and Shanghai Masters earlier this year. He knows that if he can win the event he will move into the world’s top 16, with the cut off for the Masters looming after next month’s UK Championship.

Holt controlled the opening mini-session, making breaks of 47 and 77, as he moved 2-0 ahead. The Rocket hit back with a break of 88 in the third. However, Holt restored his two frame advantage with a double on the final black to go 3-1 up.

With Holt leading 5-3 and on a run of 47, he looked set to secure the match before missing a straightforward ball to middle. That let O’Sullivan in to counter-clear with 76. The Nottingham potter regained his composure well and made a terrific break of 70 to secure the win.

“I think the main thing about facing Ronnie is not letting him effect how you play. If you can do that then you’ve got a great chance,” said Holt. “I’ve got Stuart Bingham next who will be tough as well. It doesn’t really bother me who I’m playing. I just have to go out there and play the balls, then hopefully I’ll win.”

Ding Junhui came through an epic to progress to the last eight. His opponent Ricky Walden needed to reach the semi-finals in Daqing to hold on to his place in the world’s top 16.

The 2016 world finalist Ding moved 5-2 ahead thanks to runs of 93, 98, 71 and 88. However, Chester’s Walden mounted a terrific comeback, starting with a contribution of 130 in the eighth frame. He then snatched the next frame on the black, before a contribution of 124 in the tenth frame forced a decider. It was a frame which would go the way of the home favourite. After Walden left the brown over the middle pocket, Ding made no mistake and secured a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with defending champion John Higgins.

SelbyWorld number one Mark Selby overcame another titanic tussle against recent English Open Champion Liang Wenbo.

Liang made a strong start with breaks of 81 and 104 to go 2-1 up. However, the World Champion took three frames in a row to go 4-2 ahead. Liang then achieved the same feat, claiming three on the trot to move to the verge of victory at 5-4. The world number 12 couldn’t get over the line and a break of 69 helped Selby to claim a 6-5 win. His joy was apparent as he punched the air after depositing the match ball.

Joe Perry claimed a magnificent 6-2 win over practice partner and 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson. The Gentleman had runs of 67,80 and 73 during the win.

Judd Trump trailed Thai legend James Wattana 2-1, but eventually came through in an entertaining encounter. The Juddernaught, who is in superb form having won the European Masters and got  to the final of the English Open, made back to back centuries breaks of 137 and 133 during the 6-3 victory.

His quarter-final opponent will be Shaun Murphy who defeated world number 50 Sam Baird 6-1. The magician lost the opening frame, but claimed six in a row to book his spot in the last eight.

2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham ensured his progress as he stormed to victory in under two hours against Ali Carter. World Open Champion Carter came from 5-2 down against Stephen Maguire yesterday. However, there were no comebacks today as Bingham came through a 6-1 winner.

John Higgins is safely through after a 6-2 defeat of China’s Zhou Yuelong. The four-time World Champion has only dropped seven frames so far this week in Daqing.