World Champion Judd Trump won three matches on Saturday to stay in the hunt for the £150,000 BetVictor European Series bonus, reaching the last 16 of the BetVictor Gibraltar Open.
The Ace in the Pack defeated amateur Lee Prickman and Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo, before a late night 4-1 win over world number 34 Martin O’Donnell.
Trump will face China’s Li Hang next, who defeated Mark Joyce 4-3 in the last 32. The remainder of the tournament from the last 16 onwards, will be played on Sunday with a top prize of £50,000 up for grabs.
The player who accumulates the most prize money over the four event series will secure the £150,000 bonus. World number one Trump, who won the BetVictor German Masters, needs to win the title to overtake BetVictor European Masters winner Neil Robertson in the standings.
Joe Perry’s hopes of qualifying for next week’s Coral Tour Championship were ended with a 4-3 defeat to Jimmy Robertson.
The Gentleman needed to win this week to have a chance of getting into the top eight on the one-year list and earning his place in the elite Llandudno event. Perry remains in 16thposition in the world rankings as things stand and is still in contention for automatic World Championship qualification.
Liang Wenbo beat compatriot Zhao Xintong 4-1. That earns him a last 16 tie against Ashley Hugill, who beat Shoot Out champion Michael Holt 4-1.
The report main focus is on Judd Trump, but the main talking point amongst the fans yesterday was about the fact that the tournament is now played behind closed doors, Gibraltar lockdown, its consequences and what it all means for the future.
Not only is the tournament played behind closed doors, but, with reduced staff, other than the television tables, the players were self-refereeing. There were all sorts of incidents yesterday, including Igor Figueiredo coming to the table with Elliott Slessor cue… Igor BTW played well and ran Judd close. Judd, as it stands, will not face a single top player until maybe the final.
The lockdown also means that Judd Trump might struggle to find a flight to return to the UK in time to play in Llandudno on Tuesday. If the Tour Championship is played at all that is. Barry Hearn still insists things will go ahead as planned but that becomes increasingly unlikely by the day. As it stands, the Tour Championship is likely to happen, but behind closed doors, whilst the World Championship is in danger to be called off because, even behind closed doors, the qualifiers would involve a huge number of persons, with 128 players ans all the refs ans supporting staff.
Also, as it stands, and contrary to what the above WST report says, with the points from the 2018 China Open coming off, Perry has no chance to avoid the World qualifiers – providing they happen – and Yan Bingtao is almost certain to avoid the qualifiers, should the World Champonship go ahead. The only one who could overcome Yan now is Thepchaya Un-nooh, but he needs to win the title today to get into the Tour Championship in the first place.
One last thing: in the middle of this difficult situation, Eurosport made exceptional efforts in their commentary to improve their audience experience. The Neil Foulds-David Hendon tandem in the commentary box is quality!