The last 16 round was played today in Daqing and it yielded only one really surprising result: Neil Robertson was defeated by Robbie Williams, with a 6-2 score. Robbie Williams had never before reached the QF stage of a full ranking event. This means that Neil, who didn’t qualify for the Shanghai Masters, faces a really tough battle to stay in the top 16 ahead of the Masters.
Yan Bingtao continues his good run, with a 6-4 win over Jack Lisowski. It was a high scoring match, that followed the same pattern as the previous ones for Yan: he first surged ahead, led 3-1 at the MSI, with a 98 and a 103 in the first 2 frames, lost his way a bit mid-match, was pegged back 4-4, then regrouped and won the last two frames. He will face John Higgins tomorrow.
Mark Selby played much better than he had in earlier rounds and seems to find his form right in time for the latter stages. Ali Carter and Judd Trump scored impressively today and are certainly serious contenders for the title as well. Mark Allen and Martin Gould also are playing well, judging by the scores only. I’m not so sure about John Higgins who won by 6-1 today, against Mark Joyce, a one-sided score but all frames except one seem to have been very close affairs. The only player in the top 50 that Higgins played in this comp until now is Dominic Dale who hasn’t got past round 3 of any event since the Paul Hunter Classic 2016, so I’m not sure how hard he has been tested.
Special mention for Martin O’Donnel who lost to Mark Allen in a deciding frame, despite having 3 centuries in the match. Martin had a very late night yesterday as his match against Sunny Akani was pulled off in the afternoon, resumed when a table became free in the evening … and then went to a decider. All things considered Martin did really well today.