There was one major surprise yesterday and, bizzarely, there is no mention of it in WST’s report. Rookie Pang Junxu, who had turned 21 on Monday, beat Ding Junhui by 4-2, despite losing the first frame. If I’m not mistaken, Pang practices in Ding’s academy (Lewis?) and that might explain why, unlike so many young Chinese players he didn’t look overawed. Other that that most matches went as expected. Given his recent struggles, Gary Wilson’s defeat is no surprise.
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan eased to a 4-0 whitewash win over 10-time ranking event winner Jimmy White at the BetVictor Welsh Open.
The Rocket now leads White 32-9 in their head-to-head record and has been victorious in their last ten meetings.
O’Sullivan, a four-time winner of the Welsh Open, is bidding to equal John Higgins’ record of five titles in the event this week.
White struggled during this afternoon’s encounter, with O’Sullivan edging a scrappy first two frames on the colours. The 37-time ranking event winner then surged to the final two frames with breaks of 70 and 65 to win 4-0.
Afterwards O’Sullivan stated the importance of remaining in the zone, despite facing his close friend White.
O’Sullivan said: “You have to programme yourself to stay in your own lane, focus on what you have to do and try not to be influenced by your opponent. That is what you have to do for your entire career. You just have to block it out no matter what happens.
“In some ways those performances are more pleasing than open and fluent games. Sometimes when you have to dig in there is a bit more pleasure, as you have to work a bit harder.”
World number one Judd Trump came through a tough tie with Chinese 18-year-old Si Jiahui 4-2 to book his place in the last 32.
Trump currently sits in pole position for the £150,000 BetVictor Series bonus, leading Mark Selby with just the BetVictor Gibraltar Open to follow after this week. The bumper payout will be awarded to the player who accumulates the most prize money over the six-event series.
Selby remains in contention this week after easing to a 4-1 win over Jamie O’Neill. He’ll face Joe O’Connor in the last 32. Trump plays Iranian Hossein Vafaei up next.
Triple Crown winner Shaun Murphy was a 4-1 victor against Stuart Carrington, while four-time World Champion John Higgins sealed a thrilling 4-3 win over Ben Woollaston.
The drama of the day was provided by John Higgins and Ben Woollaston. John lead 3-1, Ben came back to force a decider. Ahead in the decider, Ben needed the final yellow to “win” the match, he missed it but fluked it. John though got the snooker he needed, and later potted blue, pink and black for victory. Here is Eurosport report on that one.