Liang Wenbo expressed his wish to “help my people” in the light of the coronavirus outbreak after setting up a match with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second round of the Coral World Grand Prix.
China’s Liang scored a fine 4-2 win over Mark Allen in Cheltenham to book a last-16 clash with O’Sullivan on Wednesday night.
Before the tournament, Liang announced that he would donate his prize money this week to the Red Cross in the city of Huizhou where he grew up and learned to play snooker. The Red Cross is helping victims of the coronavirus in Wuhan and across China.
“I just want to contribute and do my bit, to help my people in need. So I decided to donate all my prize money from this week,” said Liang, who is already guaranteed £7,500. “It’s an answer to myself because it feels important to me, and I wish to deliver whatever I can. It’s not about other people’s opinions.”
Given those circumstances as well as the recent death of his mother, world number 38 Liang showed impressive focus to knock out Allen, ranked 31 places above him. From 1-0 down, Liang took three frames in a row with a top break of 105. Allen pulled one back with a 130 but Liang sealed the result in frame six with a 62.
“I managed to take my chances at crucial moments,” said 32-year-old Liang. “I wanted this win badly, so I’m happy about the result. I’ll be prepared for the next match, against my good friend O’Sullivan. There’s certainly no friendship on the table, we will both play it seriously. He has helped me a lot in recent years so hopefully we can both contribute to an excellent match.”
Two-Ton Juddernaut Hard To Stop
Judd Trump maintained the form which gave him the German Masters title last week as he made two centuries in a 4-1 defeat of Li Hang. He now meets Kyren Wilson or Jack Lisowski on Thursday afternoon.
World Champion Trump has already won four ranking titles this season – one more would see him equal the record of five in a single campaign, achieved by Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan.
China’s Li took the opening frame tonight with a 129 but scored just one point in the remainder of the match as Trump fired runs of 65, 100, 138 and 97.
“He started well and put me under pressure,” said world number one Trump. “After that I put my stamp on the game. I can still improve but it was important to keep the momentum going and keep playing well.”
Murphy And Un-Nooh Fall
Shaun Murphy let slip a 3-1 lead as he lost 4-3 to Matthew Stevens. The turning point came in frame five when world number ten Murphy ran out of position on a break of 62. Stevens ended up snatching that frame on the colours then made a 68 in the next for 3-3.
A tense 44-minute decider came down to the last red and Stevens, leading 55-34, doubled the red into a centre pocket and added the points he needed to set up a match with Gary Wilson.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is currently seventh on the one-year rankings but he went down 4-3 to Matthew Selt.
From 2-1 down, Selt had a 134 in frame four and added the fifth to lead 3-2. Un-Nooh made a 107 for 3-3 and had first chance in the decider but missed a red to a top corner on 33. Selt took control of the frame with a run of 48 and eventually sealed it on the colours.
Selt will now face Tom Ford, the first meeting between the pair since an ill-tempered Championship League match in October.
“I just want to put that to bed, there was some bad feeling but there isn’t any more,” Selt explained. “He did something and I reacted badly. We saw each other in Glasgow and both apologised, which is good because we had always got on really well before that. It will be a tough match because he’s a great player.”