International Championship – Day 2 Report

THE DRAMA in the all new International Championship continued into its second day as former world champions John Higgins and Graeme Dott crashed to surprise early exits.

Higgins, who rediscovered his best form last month to win the Shanghai Masters, failed to repeat his golden touch in Chengdu when he fell to a 6-3 loss against China’s Cao Yupeng.

As seen in this year’s World Championship in Sheffield, Yupeng is a dangerous player and is more than capable of springing a surprise. At the Crucible he beat Mark Allen in the opening round and Higgins was put under the sword today.

Higgins appeared to be on his way to a comfortable win as breaks of 71 and 73 put him 2-0 ahead. But Yupeng fought back winning the next two frames to square the match at 2-2.

A confident Yupeng then took the next three frames to be on target for a famous win. A break of 80 in the eighth frame gave Higgins a slimmer of hope but there was no stopping the Chinese player who won a scrappy ninth frame to seal victory.

And Yupeng will play Allen once again in the last 16 if the Ulsterman wins his first round match against Robert Milkins who do battle on Tuesday.

Dott, who lifted the world title in 2006, fell to a 6-3 loss to Dominic Dale who fought back from 2-1 down to book a place in the last 16 where he will face talented 14-year-old Lu Haotian.

World-number one Mark Selby booked his place into the next round with a solid 6-3 win over Ali Carter and Matthew Stevens scrambled his way into the next frame in a 6-5 win over Zhaou Xintong who beat Ken Doherty in the wildcard round on Sunday.

The one remaining wildcard match saw Lu Ning knock out Barry Pinches in an eleven frame and five-hour thriller. Pinches fought back from 5-2 down to force the match into a deciding frame but the wildcard entrant held his nerve to make it to the first round.

As well as Allen vs Milkins, day three also sees world-number 2 Judd Trump meet Fergal O’Brien and a packed crowd will be in to see China superstar Ding Junhui in action when he takes on Zhou Yuelong.

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