CHINA Open defending champion Ding Junhui got the birthday present he was hoping for after completing a comfortable victory over Mark Davis.
An enthusiastic crowd in Beijing sang happy birthday to the Chinese number one star, who was celebrating his 28th birthday, prior to his 5-1 victory against the world number 18.
Ding has endured a rather disappointing season so far suffering early exits in the UK Championship and the International Championship but early signs show he has rediscovered some of the form which saw him lift an equal record of five majors last season.
Breaks of 86, 86 and 66 helped him on his way to a fine winning display against Davis which moved him a step closer to landing his first major title of the season.
Ding next meets in-form Mark Williams for a place in the quarter-finals after the former world champion saw off Michael Leslie 5-0.
Elsewhere, world champion Mark Selby did not let a neck injury stand in his way of a place in the last 16 after he beat Elliot Slessor 5-0. Selby will face David Gilbert in the next round after beating Zhou Yuelong 5-2.
Judd Trump, winner of the China Open in 2011, cruised to a 5-1 win over Peter Ebdon with top runs of 52, 66 and 127.
Trump who recently won the World Grand prix faces a last 16 showdown with the man who beat him in the World Championship final four years ago – John Higgins. The four times world champion beat fellow Scot Graeme Dott 5-2.
Indian Open champion Michael White edged out Stuart Bingham 5-4 thanks to a break of 53 in the decider. The highly regarded Welshman next plays Robert Milkins who beat Zak Surety 5-4. The match promises to be an intriguing one with both players looking to secure an automatic top 16 spot at the Crucible.
Masters champion Shaun Murphy came back from 4-3 down to beat Anthony McGill 5-4 with breaks of 113 and 72 in the last two frames. Murphy’s next test will be a battle with Welshman Jamie Jones who beat Marco Fu via a final frame decider.
Stephen Maguire defeated Ryan Day 5-4 and will next meet Barry Hawkins who comfortably beat Dominic Dale 5-2.
Robin Hull edged a close encounter against Mark King. The 5-4 win was huge for Hull who is in desperate need of prize money to have a chance of staying on the main tour next season.
Hull will look to boost his relegation fears when he faces Kurt Maflin who beat Mike Dunn 5-3.
Gary Wilson also enjoyed a n impressive day on the baize recording a fine win against International Championship winner Ricky Walden. Wilson will play Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng who thumped Jack Lisowski 5-0 earlier in the day.
China Open – Last 16 Draw
Ding JUNHUI vs Mark WILLIAMS
John HIGGINS vs Judd TRUMP
Barry HAWKINS vs Stephen MAGUIRE
Gary WILSON vs Dechawat POOMJAENG
Robin HULL vs Kurt MAFLIN
Jamie JONES vs Shaun MURPHY
Michael WHITE vs Robert MILKINS
David GILBERT vs Mark SELBY
Categories: China Open