Rules Revision

Jan Verhaas has just been on twitter announcing that the new rule book is ready and will come in operation at the China Championship Qualifier on August 15, 2019. This is a project on which himself and other experienced referees,  have been working hard for three years. Here is the announcement.

New WPBSA Rulebook Published

  • 12th August 2019

The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) is today pleased to announce the launch of a new version of the Official Rules of Snooker and English Billiards.

The new edition represents the most significant rules update in our sport in many years and will take effect on the World Snooker Tour from the start of the China Championship qualifiers on 15 August 2019.

Background

Overseen by the WPBSA Rules Committee chaired by Jan Verhaas, in consultation with experienced referees around the world, the update adds clarity and consistency of wording to the existing rules, as well as making a small number of key changes.

With snooker and billiards now played in more countries than ever before, the revised rules have also been written to be easier to translate into other languages.

Jan Verhaas, WPBSA Director and Senior Referee said: “Today is a proud day for everybody involved in this monumental project of revising the rules. Players and former players, professional and amateur referees from all over the world as well as referee examiners and tutors have worked relentlessly over the past two years to produce a revised Rulebook for the games of Snooker and English Billiards and we are confident that we have created a Rulebook to suit the need of our ever developing worldwide sport.”

Application

The first event on the World Snooker Tour to be played under the new rules will be the China Championship qualifiers on 15 August 2019.

This date has been selected out of respect for both the professional calendar and the international amateur calendar, as the first opportunity to introduce the new rules outside of the staging of ongoing amateur competitions or between the qualification and venue stages of a professional event.

Guidance

All referees who will be officiating at the China Championships qualifiers will be invited to participate in a full seminar by Jan Verhaas on 14 August, who will also be on site during the event for the sole purpose of answering any queries that players may have.

Learn more about the Rules Committee and access the full rules here.

I browsed through the explanatory document – quickly – and through section 4 of the rules. There is one change that I find interesting: deliberate slow play and time wasting are no more seen as “unsporting conduct”, it’s a separate issue and the way they are tackled is different. If I understood correctly, in case of unsporting conduct – including early concession – the rule stays the same as before. In case of repeated offence: first a warning, next awarding a frame to the offending player’s opponent, next, awarding the match. In case of time wasting though, the offending player will be warned first, then if they persist, their opponent will be awarded a frame, and if they still persist their opponent will be awarded another frame … etc. This without further warning.

I think it’s an interesting change because it may help referees to take the decision to indeed act in case they suspect time wasting. It’s a bit less “radical” than the previous situation where after “docking” the offending player a frame, the only options were either to just ignore the situation or to terminate the match, which of course is very harsh and definitive. Referees are always a bit uneasy with the “time wasting” issue as so many factors can come into play that can cause a player to slow down or even, in extreme situations, to find themselves unable at actually decide/play/deliver the shot.

Judd Trump wins the International Championship 2019

Congratulations to Judd Trump, the WSIC 2019 Champion

IntChamps2019-TrumpWinner

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

First session:

World Champion Judd Trump will carry a 6-3 advantage into the evening session of the International Championship final against Shaun Murphy in Daqing.

The pair are fighting it out for a £175,000 top prize and will play the best of 19 encounter to a conclusion in this evening’s session.

Trump is making his first appearance on the circuit since winning a maiden Crucible title back in May. He’s already picked up a significant accolade this week, having secured a return to the world number one spot for the first time since March 2013, deposing Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The Ace in the Pack came flying out of the traps this afternoon. Breaks of 58, 104 and 58 helped him to assume a 5-0 lead.

However, 2005 World Champion Murphy provided strong resistance in the second half of the session to keep his chances alive. He got his first frame on the board with a break of 87. The Magician then claimed a tight seventh frame to reduce his arrears to 5-2.

A break of 74 helped Trump to regain a four-frame advantage. However, Murphy responded well with a contribution of 79 to end the session three behind at 6-3.

Second session:

World Champion Judd Trump produced a scintillating display to beat Shaun Murphy 10-3 and win the International Championship in Daqing.

The blistering nature of Trump’s victory stamps home his current dominance of the sport. The 29-year-old was equally impressive in a 9-4 demolition of three-time World Champion Mark Selby in the semi-finals. Trump compiled 12 centuries in total across the week. This is the 12th ranking event victory of his career.

The Ace in the Pack had already secured a return to the world number one spot, deposing Ronnie O’Sullivan by reaching the quarter-finals. It is the first time he has topped the world rankings since March 2013. His place as world number one will now be solidified further after picking up the £175,000 top prize.

This was Trump’s first appearance on the circuit since winning a maiden world title back in May. Trump clinched the Crucible crown with a stunning 18-9 defeat of John Higgins. After his success this week he is now the first player in 11 years to win in his first outing after becoming World Champion. The last person to achieve the feat was Ronnie O’Sullivan at the 2008 Northern Ireland Trophy.

Defeat will be a difficult one for 2005 World Champion Murphy. However, he goes home with the consolation of £75,000. Murphy’s performance secured qualification for the upcoming Shanghai Masters. The top 16 in the world rankings at the end of this event get a place and Murphy’s position in that elite group had come under threat after a difficult season in 2018/19.

Trump came into this evening with a three-frame cushion, having secured a 6-3 lead in the afternoon’s first session. When they emerged for the concluding exchanges, Trump made light work of his opponent.

Breaks of 80, 63, 102 and 62 in consecutive frames helped him to take the first four of the evening and storm home to the 10-3 win.

“After the World Championship it was always going to be difficult,” said world number one Trump. “I went away and prepared as a World Champion should do. It is very easy to get a little bit carried away after wining at the Crucible and to drop off a little bit. So to get my foot back on the gas and win in the first event shows just how hard I’ve worked in the off season.

“You never know what is around the corner. I could go out early at the Shanghai Masters and go through a bad period. As long as I keep preparing how I have done, putting in the work and being mentally right out there then there is no reason why I can’t keep winning. Sooner or later everyone has a bad spell. Hopefully mine isn’t for another ten years.”

Murphy said: “It was very disappointing. I didn’t really feature in the game. Judd swamped me, that was how it felt. I was fighting against the tide the whole game. He is World Champion and world number one and today he played just like that. I made a few mistakes here or there, but we aren’t robots.

“To get to the final and be in with a shout of taking home the trophy, it has been a fabulous week. It is one that I will put into perspective and take the positives from. I’m a bit sore at the moment, but from where I have been in the last 12 months with my game it has been a great start to the new season.”

And the trophy ceremony….

2019 International Championship: trophy presentation of the Judd Trump – Shaun Murphy match

Taking away nothing from Judd’s achievement and merit this week – he played extremely well, especially in the final rounds – I still think he was helped by the fact that he didn’t face a single top 16 player until the semi finals. Of course, you can only beat who is in front of you. Yet, although Judd was scoring heavily when in the balls, in the early rounds he was giving his opponents a fair share of opportunities. Obviously he came to this tournament full of confidence and well prepared, but, not having played competitively since early May, he wasn’t match sharp. The way the draw panned out gave him the opportunity to build up.

Shaun Murphy on the other hand, arrived in Daqing low on confidence and had to beat Yan Bingtao, the last ranking event winner , Neil Robertson, Graeme Dott, two former World Champions, and Mark Allen, the defending champion to get to the final. He had it a lot harder. Getting into the final, he was probably a bit tired. Despite those wins, to his own admission, his confidence still wasn’t great (listen to yesterday’s postmatch). He needed a good start today and didn’t get it.

In my opinion, those factors explain, in part at least, why the final was so one-sided.

As for Mark Allen, the defending champion, he played very well in the early rounds, and I thought that he had a very decent chance to defend  his title. But he collapsed in the semi final and, personnaly, I believe that a lack of fitness has something to do with it. It’s extremely difficult to get back fit for someone of Mark’s size, but, surely there are people out there that would be able to help, And I’m thinking doctors working with sportpersons and certified nutritionists, not self proclaimed fitness gurus.

 

International Championship 2019 – Day 7 – Shaun Murphy joins Judd Trump in the Final

Shaun Murphy celebrated his 37th birthday with a win over his close friend Mark Allen.

IntChamps2019-Murphy37

Here is the report by Worldsnooker on the first session:

Shaun Murphy took control of his International Championship semi-final with defending champion Mark Allen by establishing a 6-2 advantage after the first session in Daqing.

They will play the best of 17 match to a conclusion in this evening’s session, with the winner going on to face Judd Trump in the final for the £175,000 top prize.

This afternoon’s opening exchanges threw the form book out the window in terms of how the players have fared this week.

2018 Masters winner Allen came in to this match having won 30 of the 38 frames he has contested in the event. By contrast 2005 World Champion Murphy has had his metal under pressure tested with two deciding frames and two 6-4 wins.

Despite that Englishman Murphy, who is celebrating his 37th birthday today, stormed out of the blocks to pull clear of his opponent. Breaks of 92, 76, 84, 54 and 88 helped him to establish a 6-0 advantage.

However, Northern Ireland’s Allen showed great resiliency in the final two frames of the session to keep his chances alive. A break of 66 saw him snatch the seventh, before a sublime run of 117 saw him take the final frame to end four behind at 6-2.

And here is the report by Worldsnooker on the second session

Shaun Murphy survived a Mark Allen fightback to win 9-6 and reach the final of the International Championship in Daqing.

2005 World Champion Murphy faces current Crucible king Judd Trump in tomorrow’s final, where the pair will do battle over the best of 19 frames for the £175,000 top prize.

It will be Murphy’s first appearance in a ranking final since losing the title match at the Scottish Open back in December against today’s opponent Allen by a 9-7 scoreline.

This week’s impressive run has been much needed for Murphy, who had been under threat of falling out of the top 16 after struggling to nine first round exits last season. His performance in Daqing has solidified his position in the world rankings and ensured qualification for the upcoming Shanghai Masters, with the cut off at the end of this week’s event.

Defending champion Allen lifted the title last year with a 10-5 defeat of Neil Robertson in the final. The Northern Irishman will have to settle for a semi-final exit this time around.

Murphy had put himself in a strong position after a fine first session display had him 6-2 up coming into this evening. However, Allen had given himself hope by claiming the final two frames of the session, having trailed 6-0.

As they got back underway, Murphy extended his lead to 7-2 by taking a tense ninth frame on the colours. From that point Allen began to ramp up the pressure. He claimed two on the bounce to close within three at 7-4.

Murphy then moved one from victory. However, a fine contribution of 94 kept Allen in the contest and made the score 8-5.

A dramatic 14th frame then came down to the pink. Murphy broke down on a run of 52 after he failed to get good position on the second last ball. A safety battle ensued and eventually Murphy left the pink at Allen’s mercy. He deposited it and the black to make it 8-6.

Murphy then finally got himself over the line thanks to a break of 66 which put the seal on his 9-6 victory.

Mark Allen had been in great shape all week, but, unfortunately for him, his form deserted him today. Form isn’t a tap the players can turn at will and today wasn’t Mark’s day. He deserves a lot of credit for the way he fought back, but victory never looked likely to me as there were far too many unexpected mistakes even in the second session.

Shaun Murphy is playing a lot better than he did for most of last season, but still looks vulnerable. When a player goes through a long lasting bad spell, it damages their confidence and rebuilding it usually takes time.

Something he confirmed in his post-match

So, this is our line-up for tomorrow:

IntChamps2019-FinalLineUp

I think that Shaun Murphy needs a really good start tomorrow. He has the game to give Judd Trump a serious challenge – he showed this in the first six frames of today’s match – but he can’t afford his opponent – who is brimming with confidence – to take a big lead in the first session. Judd Trump will be favourite but hopefully we will have a real match to enjoy, and not just a one man show.

The “man in the middle” … will be a woman. Indeed Lyu Xilin – Queenie Lyu – wil be the Final’s referee and it’s her first ranking final.

She was interviewed by Worldsnooker:

Good luck Queenie, and enjoy your moment!

 

 

International Championship 2019 – Day 6 – Judd Trump is first through to the Final

Judd Trump beat Mark Selby by 9-4 to book his place to the Final of the 2019 International Championship in Daqing.

Based on the way both had played in earlier rounds, I expected Mark Selby to cause Judd Trump problems. Judd had scored more centuries than anyone else in the tournament, but he had also been guilty a countless unexpected errors, especially when the frames became scrappy. Scrappy frames are precisely Mark Selby’s forte. He doesn’t mind playing them and is usually very strong at winning them. This is why I thought that Mark started slightly favourite in this one. I was very wrong.

If anything though, the first mini-session only confirmed me in my opinion. Judd started with a century, but found himself 3-1 down at MSI, as Mark was able to control the frames as soon as his opponent failed to finish them off in one visit.

I’m not sure what kind of “tea” Judd had at MSI but he came back another player. The first frame after the MSI proved to be the turning point of the match. Mark looked set to go 4-1 ahead, but Judd fought hard and managed to take it on the final black. This boosted his confidence whilst it clearly depleted Mark’s confidence. From there Judd applied more and more pressure on his opponent and finished the session 5-3 up.

2019 International Championship: Judd Trump steal – Mark Selby

Here is Worldsnooker report on the first session

Judd Trump came from behind to wrest control of his International Championship semi-final from Mark Selby and lead 5-3 after the first session in Daqing.

World Champion Trump is currently riding the crest of a wave, having secured a return to the world number one spot earlier in the week with his last 16 win over Joe Perry. His opponent Selby was ousted from the top of the world rankings for the first time in four years by Ronnie O’Sullivan back in March.

Following an opening frame century run of 113 from Trump, it was then world number six Selby who seized the early initiative. Three frames on the bounce saw the Leicester cueist move 3-1 ahead at the mid-session interval.

When they returned, Trump crucially claimed the fifth frame on the final black to reduce his deficit to one. Further breaks of 60 and 97 helped him on the way to taking a further three on the bounce to secure his 5-3 cushion.

The second session pretty much started the way the first had ended. Judd looked more confident with every shot, Mark looked more a beaten man with every unsuccesful long pot or failed safety. He managed to save some pride by taking the last before the MSI, but it’s as good as it got for him. On resumption Judd promptly finished the match aided by two half centuries.

This is Worldsnooker report on the second session

World Champion Judd Trump produced a dominant display to defeat Mark Selby 9-4 and reach the final of the International Championship in Daqing.

Trump, 29, now progresses to the final in his first appearance on the professional circuit since lifting a maiden World Championship title in May.

The Ace the Pack will go on to face either defending champion Mark Allen or Shaun Murphy in Sunday’s final over the best of 19 frames for the £175,000 top prize.

Trump, who won the inaugural International Championship back in 2012, has already secured a significant accolade this week having ensured his return to the world number one spot, following his last 16 defeat of Joe Perry.

Selby, a two-time winner of the International Championship, was deposed as world number one by Ronnie O’Sullivan, having held the position for four years consecutively.

The opening session saw Trump emerge with a 5-3 advantage, despite having trailed 3-1. A blistering display this evening allowed Trump to pull clear and ease to the line.

Trump produced an imperious spell of break building, firing in 440 unanswered points to leave three-time World Champion Selby trailing in his wake. That included consecutive breaks of 108, 97 and 116 this evening, as he claimed the first three frames to move 8-3 up.

Breaks of 50 and 59 helped Selby to take the match to the mid-session, but he still trailed 8-4. When they returned Trump swiftly finished off the match to run out a 9-4 victor.

If Judd plays that way, he will be hard to beat on Sunday.

He gave this very good post-match interview:

 

International Championship 2019 – Day 5 (QF)

This is Worldsnooker report on the quarter finals day 

Mark Selby and Judd Trump secured quarter-final wins at the International Championship in Daqing to book a mouth watering last four meeting against each other.

World Champion Trump earned a return to the world number one spot yesterday after his last 16 win over Joe Perry. World number six Selby was deposed at the top of the world rankings back in March, having held the position for four years.

Leicester’s Selby overcame Gary Wilson 6-5 in a pulsating quarter-final clash to seal his progression and remain in the hunt for the £175,000 top prize. The match was a repeat of their recent last 16 match at the World Championship, where Wilson came out on top with a 13-10 win. Selby exacted his revenge today.

Defeat for Wilson ends his hopes of qualifying for the upcoming Shanghai Masters. The top 16 in the world rankings will secure a place in Shanghai, with the cut off at the end of this week’s event.

Three-time World Champion Selby had opened 3-0 and 5-2 advantages, before Wilson clawed his way back into the match.

Breaks of 79, 49 and 126 helped world number 20 Wilson to force a deciding frame at 5-5. Wilson was first in with a chance to win, but missed a red to the top right corner. Selby stepped in to produce a typically steely run of 83 to seal victory and set up a best of 17 frame semi-final meeting with Trump tomorrow.

Selby said: “Judd is the best player in the world at the moment, hence why he is world number one and World Champion. His confidence will be as high as it is ever going to be, but I’ll be looking forward to it and try my best.

“It was one of my goals as a professional to try and get to number one in the world and that is something I managed to do. To stay there as long as I did was more than I expected, especially with how high the standard is. Hopefully Judd has only got it for a little while and I can get it back. I’ve just let him borrow it for a little while!”

Trump sealed his semi-final place with a 6-3 win over Tom Ford, who has now also had his hopes of Shanghai Masters qualification ended.

The Ace in the Pack’s ascension to world number one has seen him top the rankings for a third time in his career. The most recent run ended in March 2013.

Bristol’s Trump closed out his victory with a top break of 94 in the final frame and afterwards admitted that he wasn’t going to settle with his world number one status.

“It is always good to be world number one. There is no difference though. Today I just wanted to win again. It is nice to be number one, but the main thing is you really want to win tournaments,” said 29-year-old Trump. “It is exciting to be back in the semi-final. It is a tournament that I really want to win and a good event. It will be a tough match. I think Mark lost his confidence a bit, so he will really want to win this one.”

Close friends Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen will contest the other semi-final after the pair secured victories in the evening session. The showdown will be a repeat of last season’s Scottish Open final, where Allen came through a 9-7 winner in Glasgow.

2005 World Champion Murphy earned his place in the last four with a 6-4 defeat of 2006 Crucible king Graeme Dott. The first eight frames were tightly contested and there was never more than one between the pair, as they emerged level at 4-4. Murphy moved one away from victory at 5-4. He then stormed over the line with a sublime run of 106 to secure victory.

The result means that Dott’s hopes of qualifying for the Shanghai Masters are ended and Murphy’s position is assured.

Defending champion Allen booked his place in the semis with a 6-3 defeat of China’s top star Ding Junhui.

The Pistol has been in superb form this week, having won 30 of the 38 frames he has contested. After eventually taking an epic re-spotted black in today’s opener, Allen took control of proceedings by winning the following two frames to move 3-0 up.

Ding hit back and after getting on the scoreboard he then stole the fifth frame on the final black to move within one at 3-2. However, from there Allen secured three of the following four frames to come through a 6-3 victor.

There isn’t much to add except…

There is certainly a case to state that Judd Trump is the best player in the World considering his results over the last season. However form is always fluctuating and I’m not convinced that he is the best of the four remaining on course in Daqing right now. Actually, based on what I have seen, I would even say that it’s just the opposite. His match today was an error strewn affair against Tom Ford, a player who seems to struggle badly on big occasions and on TV. Had he played that way against any of the other six players involved in the QF round, he would have lost. But of course sometimes when one player struggles it breaks the rythm of the match and affects their opponent as well; therefore maybe today’s match isn’t really an indication of Judd’s current form. Tomorrow however, against mark Selby, he will face a telling test.

Other than that, this the crucial moment in the Shaun Murphy v Graeme Dott match. It was 4-4, and Graeme lead 66-0 with 67 on. Then this happened:

2019 International Championship: Shaun Murphy steal – Graeme Dott

 

International Championship 2019 – Day 4 (L16)

The main headline yesterday was that Judd Trump will be world n°1 at the conclusion of the tournament, overcoming Ronnie who sits now at n°2. With Ronnie only playing in a few tournaments that was always going to happen. Judd was at the top of the rankings before, last time in 2013, for a very short period of time. He wants to stay there much longer this time around and as there is a huge gap between him and the n°3, he’s get every chance to succeed.

Here is Worldsnooker report on yesterday action:

World Champion Judd Trump will move to number one in the world rankings after beating Joe Perry 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the International Championship in Daqing.

The Ace in the Pack moves ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan, who had reached the summit of the world rankings in March, ending the four-year reign of Mark Selby. However, Trump thrust himself into contention for the top spot by claiming a maiden World Championship title, and the £500,000 top prize that went with it, back in May.

This is the third time that 29-year-old Trump has assumed the world number one spot, with the most recent spell ending in March 2013. Next up Trump faces Tom Ford, who defeated Andrew Higginson 6-4 in their last 16 clash.

Defeat for Perry ends his hopes of qualifying for the Shanghai Masters. The cut off for qualification comes at the end of this week’s event, with the top 16 players in the world rankings earning a place. Ford remains in the hunt after his victory, but must win the event to stand a chance.

Trump produced a performance worthy of the world’s top player this afternoon, firing in breaks of 62, 101, 111, 74, 76 and 52 on his way to victory.

“It is always good to be on top of the world. Mark Selby held it for such a long time and it is nice to get back there,” said Trump. “Anyone that says they don’t want to be world number one is lying. It is always good to be on top of your sport so I am very happy with that achievement.

“When anyone asks you it is always nice saying you are number three or four in the world, but there is no other feeling like being world number one. I’m happy with that and I still have a job to do here, I would love to go out and win the first tournament I’ve played in this season.”

Two-time International Champion Mark Selby had to battle from 5-3 down to defeat this year’s Crucible semi-finalist David Gilbert 6-5 in a tense deciding frame.

His opponent in the quarter-finals will be Gary Wilson, who defeated Welshman Jak Jones 6-3. The victory for Wilson keeps him in the hunt for a top 16 place and Shanghai Masters qualification.

Scotland’s 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott also retains hopes of a place in Shanghai. He put on an excellent performance to defeat compatriot 30-time ranking event winner John Higgins 6-2.

Triple Crown winner Shaun Murphy will face Dott in the quarter-finals after he completed a thrilling 6-5 win over Neil Robertson. The Magician came from 5-4 down with breaks of 83 and 91 in the last two frames to progress.

Defending champion Mark Allen kept his impressive week going with a 6-2 defeat of Ali Carter. The Pistol has now won 24 out of the 29 frames he has played in the event.

Carter is left perilously in 16th position in the latest live rankings and will have to hope results go his way to earn a place in Shanghai.

Allen’s opponent in the last eight will be China’s number one Ding Junhui, who came through a deciding frame to beat compatriot Liang Wenbo 6-5.

There are a few players returning to form in this tournament and it showed again yesterday.

Maybe the most impressive is Graeme Dott, who always seems to be kept off the radars. Even as a World Champion in 2006/07 he was often sent playing on an outside table (!!!) Dotty is a massively under-rated player. People forget that he’s been a finalist at the Crucible three times, and is a former World Champion. He has a reputation of being boring and slow; he’s neither, he’s an attacking player who gained that undeserved tag because, for many in the press, the only occasion they saw him play, was the 2006 World Final, against Peter Ebdon. Both were absolutely shattered and pressure did the rest. Yesterday, he absolutely trashed John Higgins – 6-2 – in a match that featured eight breaks over 50. Greame’s AST was 21.7 sec, John’s was over 25 and nobody ever suggests that John is slow.

Here is the very interesting last frame, concluding on a re-spotted black:

2019 International Championship. John Higgins – Graeme Dott (final frame)

Shaun Murphy also is returning to his old self, no doubt mightily motivated by the prospect of losing his top 16 status unless he starts winning again. Both himself and Neil Robertson made some suprising errors in what was overall a good match and I suspect that the conditions are difficult.

Liang Wenbo is another one who is playing well again it seems. He came back from 4-1 and 5-3 down to force a decider against Ding. He was beaten 6-5 eventually. It’s never easy to play Ding in China, especially for a Chinese player.

Finally, Mark Allen, who had a poor second half of the last season, looks in great shape and very determined to defend his title.

International Championship 2019 – Day 3 (L32)

This is Worldsnooker report about yesterday in Daqing:

Defending champion Mark Allen produced a dominant display to ease past Mark Davis 6-1 in their last 32 clash at the International Championship in Daqing.

Northern Ireland’s Allen looks to be in superb touch this week. The 33-year-old’s win today is a third successive 6-1 victory in the event.

Last year Allen put on a break building masterclass in claiming the title, with 14 centuries throughout the tournament. He displayed impressive scoring form again today, composing runs of 101, 64, 63, 54, 56 and 64 on his way to the win. The Pistol will face Ali Carter in the last 32, who came through a 6-3 winner against Kurt Maflin.

World Champion Judd Trump is just one match away from becoming world number one for the first time since March 2013 after a hard fought 6-4 win over Scott Donaldson.

The Ace in the Pack won his maiden Crucible title back in May with a stunning 18-9 demolition of John Higgins in the World Championship final.

He is now within one match win of taking Ronnie O’Sullivan’s place at the top of the world rankings, with the Rocket having not entered this week. Next up for Trump is a meeting with Joe Perry in the last 16.

2006 World Champion Graeme Dott came from 3-0 down to beat 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham 6-3.

Scotland’s Dott admits that a fist pump from Bingham when he claimed the third frame acted as a catalyst for the fightback.

Dott said: “When he won the third frame on the black, he punched the air and that gave me a gee-up that I didn’t think I was going to get. Until that moment I was kind of accepting my fate that it was going to be one of those games for me. At 3-0 up in a first to six I thought it was a little bit strange. There is nothing wrong with it. It helped me though.”

Triple Crown winner Shaun Murphy held off a spirited fightback from teenage Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao to come through a 6-4 victor.

The Magician had stormed to a 5-0 advantage, restricting his opponent to just eight points in the process. However, Yan battled back to trail by just a single frame at 5-4 before Murphy got himself over the line.

Victory for Murphy acts as a significant boost to his chances of staying in the world’s top 16 and qualifying for the Shanghai Masters, with the ranking cut off at the end of this week’s event.

Click here for the latest on the Shanghai race.

Mark Selby, twice a winner of the International Championship, produced an impressive display to see off fellow Leicester cueman Ben Woollaston 6-3. While China’s top player Ding Junhui thrashed compatriot Xiao Guodong 6-1.

Neil Robertson edged out Ricky Walden 6-5 in a thrilling contest and John Higgins defeated Elliot Slessor 6-3 to progress.

And this is the article about the race to the Shanghai Masters mentionned in the article above:

2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy defeated China’s Yan Bingtao 6-4 to reach the last 16 of the International Championship in Daqing.

The win strengthens Murphy’s bid to keep his place in the world’s top 16, with the cut off for Shanghai Masters qualification coming at the end of this week’s event.

Click here for the latest live rankings.

The elite Shanghai tournament consists of the world’s top 16 players, the next four highest ranked Chinese players, two from the CBSA China Tour and two from China’s Amateur Masters series.

Defeat for Riga Masters winner Yan ends his hopes of qualifying as part of the world’s top 16. However, he is already assured of a place in Shanghai as one of the next four highest ranked Chinese players.

Joining Yan in those four places are Xiao Guodong, Lyu Haotian and Liang Wenbo. All four are now guaranteed a place in Shanghai after Liang edged Zhou Yuelong out of the top four by beating Daniel Wells 6-4 in his last 32 tie this evening.

Ali Carter has forced himself into the top 16 of the live rankings after a 6-3 win over Kurt Maflin. While Joe Perry remains hot on his heels after securing a 6-2 victory against Stephen Maguire.

Next up for Carter is a meeting with defending champion Mark Allen. Perry faces World Champion Judd Trump in the last 16.

However, with a £175,000 top prize on offer this week a number of players can still clinch a top 16 spot. Gary Wilson, Graeme Dott and Tom Ford all remain in contention. While Liang could still upgrade his qualification to a top 16 spot by winning the event.

I didn’t have much opportunity to watch yesterday so can’t comment really. I’m pleased to see Ricky Walden and Liang Wenbo playing well again. Ricky lost but ran Neil Robertson mightily close. Liang will face Ding today, in fact he’s the third Chinese player in a row to face Ding. Strange how the draw works sometimes…