THERE must be something in the air in China which brings out the best in Robert Milkins.
Day four of the Wuxi Classic saw Milkins pull off a superb 5-3 win over Judd Trump – regarded as one of the favourites for the title – and now the world-number-36 is one win away from equalling his semi-final run at the Haikou World Open back in March.
Milkins looked in big trouble when he trailed 3-1 to the Bristol potter but the in-form Gloucester man went on to win the next four frames to pull off a great win and seal a quarter-final place.
Milkins will face Ricky Walden in the last eight who had to work much harder than he would have liked in his win over Joe Perry. Walden looked set for his second whitewash win in as many days when he led 4-0 and 64-0 in the fifth frame.
But Perry made a stunning comeback winning the fifth and then claiming the next three frames to level at 4-4 and force the match into a tense decider.
Both players felt the tension missing crucial pots they would otherwise pot in a less pressurising situation. Down to the final black, Perry missed a match winning pot which let a huge relieved Walden in to claim a thrilling 5-4 win.
Another epic encounter today saw Stuart Bingham play his second final frame decider in as many days. Less than 24 hours after beating Peter Ebdon 5-4 in the first round, Bingham was at it again today beating 1997 world champion Ken Doherty by the same nerve-wracking scoreline.
Doherty took the opening frame before Bingham levelled with the tournament’s highest break so far of 143. Another century break from Bingham put him 2-1 up. Doherty, who beat Shaun Murphy yesterday, came back though and at 4-3 ahead was one frame away from pulling off another stunning win.
But Asian PTC 1 winner Bingham had other ideas levelling the contest at 4-4 with a 78 break and then taking a scrappy decider to continue his winning run. Next up for Bingham is world-number-one Mark Selby who beat Jamie Cope 5-0 in his second round match.
Mark Williams beat Mark Allen 5-3 after recovering from 2-0 down to make it through to the quarter-finals. The Welshman will play Scotland’s Marcus Campbell who beat Fergal O’Brien to reach his first ever quarter-final in a major ranking event.
Another shock looked to be on the cards when Rod Lawler, who knocked out Stephen Maguire in the first round, took a 4-3 lead against former world champion Graeme Dott. But Dott showed his fighting qualities and a class break of 85 in the decider sealed his place in the last eight.
Dott will take on Mark Davis for a place in the semi-finals who came through his last 16 battle against Jamie Burnett winning 5-3.