International Championship 2013 – Day 3 Report

Liang Wenbo. Picture by Monique Limbos

Liang Wenbo. Picture by Monique Limbos

MAN-IN-FORM Liang Wenbo secured a place in the last 16 of the International Championship after pulling off a superb comeback victory to knock out world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The ‘Rocket’ looked set for a place in the third round after top breaks of 120 and 121 helped him on his way to a 4-1 lead.

But Wenbo, who last week won his first career ranking title by claiming the Zhengzhou Open, came storming back and won five frames on the bounce to earn a memorable win.

After potting the final balls in the decisive tenth frame Wenbo punched the air in delight as it was his first victory over the reigning Crucible champion.

The third day of the Chengdu based competition, the sport’s biggest outside the UK, saw 16-year-old Chinese sensation Zhao Xintong continue his best week in snooker after he gained a brilliant 6-1 win over Barry Hawkins.

Zhao, who previously beat Steve Davis and Craig Steadman, added the World Championship finalist to his beaten list as he stormed into a surprise 5-0 lead before winning the seventh frame to seal a place in the last 16.

Another surprise came earlier in the day when Kurt Maflin booked his place in the next round after a 6-2 win over two-times world champion Mark Williams.

The Norwegian potter, who made the semi-finals of the PTC Grand finals earlier this year, made top breaks of 74, 76 and 106 and will next face former world champion Graeme Dott who beat Kyren Wilson 6-1.

Ding Junhui’s bid to win three consecutive major tournaments remained possible after he beat Thailand’s James Wattana 6-3.

The Shanghai Masters and Indian Open winner will next face Matthew Stevens who beat four-times world champion John Higgins 6-2.

The world’s number one and two ranked stars Neil Robertson and Mark Selby remained in the draw after beating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Peter Lines respectively.

Elsewhere, Australian Open winner Marco Fu knocked out Shanghai Masters finalist Xiao Guodong with a 6-4 win and two-times World Open winner Mark Allen beat Dave Harold by the same scoreline.

Basildon star Stuart Bingham held off a fightback from Martin Gould to win 6-4 and former world champion Peter Ebdon edged an eleven-frame battle, beating Mark Joyce 6-5.

There were also wins for Mark Davis, Joe Perry and Fergal O’Brien who beat Stuart Carrington, Dave Harold and Rod Lawler respectively.

Day 4 will see the remaining 16 players battle it out to reach the quarter-finals of the International Championship.

International Championship – Last 16 draw:

Ryan DAY vs Fergal O’BRIEN
Zhao XINTONG vs Marco FU
Stuart BINGHAM vs Mark SELBY
Matthew STEVENS vs Ding JUNHUI
Graeme DOTT vs Kurt MAFLIN
Mark DAVIS vs Liang WENBO

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