China Championship 2019 – Day 4 – Last 16

This is Worldsnooker report on what happened today in Guangzhou

Joe Perry ended World Champion Judd Trump’s 15-match win streak in ranking competition, beating him 5-2 in the last 16 of the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.

Victory for Perry puts him in line for a potential return to the world’s top 16, unless results go against him in the remainder of the tournament. Perry has now edged ahead of Ali Carter in the provisional rankings for the end of this week.

World number one Trump’s incredible winning run at ranking events comes to an end. The 15 matches extended back to April’s China Open, when he lost in the last 64 to Robbie Williams. It encompassed tournament victories at the World Championship and the International Championship.

That International Championship win included an impressive 6-2 defeat of Perry. However, it was the Gentleman who turned the tables on his opponent today.

Perry took the opener with a break of 89 and had looked set to go 2-0 up before missing a black off the spot on 59. That afforded Trump the opportunity to steal the frame. He obliged on the final black with a break of 60.

Trump then moved to the front with a sublime century run of 102, but Perry wasn’t deterred and took the fourth frame to go into the mid-session level at 2-2.

It was 45-year-old Perry who played the more composed snooker when they returned. He claimed a further three frames in a row, including a break of 92, to get himself over the line for a 5-2 win.

Perry said: “He is the man you don’t want to play at the moment. He is in tremendous form. I played him in Daqing and he absolutely wiped the floor with me and pretty much the rest of the field. I am delighted to come through.

“He is doing it in style as well. He isn’t just creeping over the line. You are going to be in for a hell of a tussle when you play him. He wasn’t at his best today, but I still knew I couldn’t afford to make to many mistakes if I was going to win.”

Next up Perry will face Iran’s Hossein Vafaei in the quarter-finals. Vafaei overcame Scotland’s Anthony McGill 5-4 to reach the last eight of a ranking event for a fifth time.

McGill had led 4-3 this afternoon, but Vafaei edged a narrow eighth frame to force a decider. He then composed a break of 81 to reach the quarters.

Norway’s Kurt Maflin produced a five-frame burst to stun four-time World Champion John Higgins and come through with a 5-3 victory.

Maflin has enjoyed a successful start to the campaign, having already reached the semi-finals at the Riga Masters.

Higgins had established  a 3-0 lead, but it was from that position that Maflin stormed to the finish line. He compiled breaks of 60, 82 and 103 on his way to the 5-3 win.

Maflin said: “I have so much respect for John. He is one of my idols and is unbelievable as a player and a person. It just felt great beating him.

“This is the best start to a season I have ever had. I am here to win the event at the end of the day. If I play my best snooker I think I have a chance of that.”

Maflin will face an in-form Shaun Murphy up next. The Magician booked his place in the last eight with a 5-3 defeat of Matthew Selt.

Three-time World Champion Mark Williams recorded a 5-1 demolition of Belgium’s Luca Brecel. He will play David Gilbert tomorrow, who beat Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 5-2.

Mark Selby and Barry Hawkins will do battle in the quarter-finals. Selby recorded a 5-2 win against Chris Wakelin. While Hawkins came through a deciding frame to beat China’s 22-year-old Zhao Xintong 5-4.

A very poor wifi signal meant that I didn’t watch much at all of the action.

Judd Trump’s defeat doesn’t come as a big surprise to me though. From the way he played in Shanghai, and in earlier rounds this week, it was clear that he wasn’t in the form that allowed him to win the 2019 World Championship and the 2019 International Championship. That’s only normal. Form comes and goes, unless the player isn’t human. Also, Joe Perry is a very experienced hard match player, typically the type that could frustrate someone like Judd, especially if he’s struggling a bit.

The above report claims that Mark Williams “demolished” Luca Brecel. The score is extremely severe indeed, but the frame scores show a slightly different picture. Of the five frames that Willo won, only one was won with a big break. In two occasions Mark managed to win after Luca had previously made a break over 50. This suggests that the match was much closer than the scoreline shows.

I’m very happy to see Kurt Maflin playing well. He’s a very high scorer and very entertaining to watch when on form. It’s not often that John Higgins loses a best of 9, after leading 3-0 with breaks of 106, 58 and 82. Actually it’s a bit baffling. I can only imagine that Kurt suddenly found his potting boots and kept John cold in his chair for long enough to completely break his rhythm.

The above report just mentions that Barry Hawkins beat Zhao Xintong in a decider.That doesnt tell the whole story. Barry was 3-0 up and and Zhao fought really hard and came back to 3-3, and 4-4. Against a hard match player like Barry this is not easy to do and shows how much Zhao has matured as a player.

Mark Selby’s 5-2 win looks comfortable, yet this match was lenghty. Both players shot times firmly on the slow side. So it was probably quite tactical. And there was a “free ball” situation that required Jan Verhaas intervention as well as an interpreter to allow proper communication with the referee… in the end, Mark was awarded the free ball, took it and missed it. Typical.