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McManus Thrashes Ding As Stars Fall

Alan McManus whitewashed home favourite Ding Junhui 5-0 on a day of surprise results at the Evergrande China Championship, with the top six players in the world all knocked out.

John Higgins, Judd Trump, Marco Fu and Ding all suffered defeats in the evening session in Guangzhou, following the earlier exits of Mark Selby and Barry Hawkins.

Friday’s results leave Shaun Murphy, Ali Carter, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams as the only top-16 ranked players left in the draw, with the last 16 to be played on Saturday (click here for the match schedule).

Veteran McManus, age 46, struggled with a back injury for much of last season but played some superb snooker to knock out China’s Ding. Breaks of 48, 73 and 49 helped put him 4-0 up at the interval, and he clinched the result in frame five with a 49 clearance.

“It’s a bit of a thrill, I must admit,” said Glasgow’s McManus, who lost 17-11 to Ding in the semi-finals of the World Championship last year. “I’ve had some battles with Ding and usually I play decent against him. He was off colour tonight, I won a couple of close frames and that was the difference. He wasn’t scoring, which is unlike Ding, and I felt comfortable on the TV table.

“I am trying to prolong my career as much as I can. I have had some real problems with my sciatic nerve, I could barely walk for a while. It has almost cleared up and it’s getting gradually better, so I can stand at the table and I’m able to practise. When you have something wrong and you can’t bend down and execute the shot then you are in deep trouble. I have been through it but I hope I’m fit enough to continue now, and if I can work hard then I’ll get the odd result.

“It would be nice to go deep here. I’ve got Fergal O’Brien next and you know what you will get with him, he prepares perfectly for every event.”

Higgins had won his first five ranking event matches this season- before losing to Ford today

Defending champion Higgins went down 5-2 to Tom Ford, who made breaks of 85, 59 and 133.

Graeme Dott beat Trump 5-3 in a high quality match which featured two centuries and five more breaks over 70. Trump led 3-2 having compiled runs of 104, 128 and 85. But 2006 World Champion Dott won the sixth frame with a 74, a crucial seventh on the colours, then made an 87 in the eighth to secure victory.

“I played really well, it’s the best match I have been involved in for a while,” said Larkhall’s Dott. “It was like a game of nine-ball pool, whoever was getting in first was clearing up. I won the one close frame in the seventh and then made another good break in the last.

“I have been working a lot with (coach) Chris Henry so I am glad to have kicked on this season. I have got Ronnie O’Sullivan next so I’ll have to play the same way as today to have a chance of beating him. I enjoy playing him because he is the best. If you don’t play well he just makes you look like a silly wee boy.”

Belgium’s Luca Brecel enjoyed a 5-2 win over Fu  with a top break of 91. That was a welcome result for Brecel who lost 10-9 to Fu at the World Championship after squandering a 7-2 lead.

Matthew Stevens top scored with 81 in a 5-2 win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh while Mark Williams won a Welsh derby against Ryan Day 5-0 with a top run of 93. China’s Li Hang edged out Michael White 5-4 with top breaks of 139 and 133.