ALI CARTER is through to the last 16 stage of the World Championship after he held his nerve when it mattered to see off the challenge of China talent Xiao Guodong.
The match was right in the balance when Guodong leveled the scores at 8-8 but it was two times finalist Carter who battled his way to victory winning the next two frames.
Carter, who has had a difficult season on and off table having been diagnosed with testicular cancer at the start of the campaign – a disease he is now clear from, will play the winner of Mark Selby or Michael White in the next round.
Trailing 5-4 overnight, Guodong soon reversed the scoreline by taking the opening two frames of the final session leaving him just four frames away from becoming the second qualifier to knock out a top seed following Ken Doherty’s win this morning.
But Carter finally got going in the third frame as a break of 81 saw him level matters before he win the next frame by 40 points. Talented Guodong, who reached this season’s Shanghai Masters final, replied brilliantly as a break of 70 made it 7-7.
The match yet again swung both ways as Carter edged in front at 8-7 only for Guodong to force a best-out-of-three finish when he came back from 59-0 with a break of 69 to make it 8-8.
Guodong’s persistence continued not to faze Carter as a break of 80 put him on the brink and unlike the pattern of the session the next frame saw Carter clinch a hard-fought win with valuable runs of 16, 36 and 19.
Table one saw title contender Ding Junhui finish off in strong fashion as he earned himself a 6-3 lead over Crucible debutant Michael Wasley.
Ding, winner of five major ranking titles this season, came back from 64-0 to win the first frame but Wasley impressively stuck to his guns replying with a break of 63 before taking a 2-1 lead.
China’s number one star made it 2-2 with a break of 70 but once again Wasley showed no signs of being nervous in his first crucible match as a break of 57 helped him regain the lead at 3-2.
Ding showed his battling qualities to take the sixth frame before he showed the crowd his fluent best hitting a superb 136, the highest tournament break so far to take the lead at 4-3.
And the huge break gave Ding the momentum he needed to dominate the remainder of the session as he followed it up with breaks of 65 and 40 to take a 6-3 lead. The match concludes on Monday afternoon.