English Open Third Round: The day of the underdog

English Open Third Round: The day of the underdog

There are more players outside the top 20 left in the competition than those within the star positions.

Chris Lincoln

It was a day to remember in Manchester as seven of the World's top 20 players were knocked out of the English Open, including Ding Junhui, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson.

One player from outside the top 100 will be in the final eight

After a 13 game and two tournament winning streak, Ding Junhui's defeat was arguably the shock of the round as he crashed out to Jak Jones ranked 105 places below him. Jones took the opening frame, though Ding seemed to have found his form with a break of 108 in the second. Yet the Welshman battled on courageously as he won three of the next four frames to stun the world number six, despite not formualting a half-century break. With the world number 104 Anthony Hamilton blasting past Stuart Carrington, who is 46 places his superior, it ensures that one player outside the top 100 will be part of the quarter-finals after the two meet in the final 16.

If Jones' victory was the surprise of the round, Xiao Guodong managed the most memorable comeback. Nestling just inside the top 50, Guodong was on his way out of the competition after finding himself 3-0 down to Neil Robertson, who made breaks of 121 and 125. Yet the man from China showed his grit as he won four tight, long frames in a row to knock out the man ranked directly below Ding Junhui. Guodong will face another surprise winner in Chris Wakelin. The world number 69 was 2-0 down to multi-World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, before a break of 106 inspired him on his way to a 4-3 victory.

The surprises continue

91 places separate Yao Bingtao and Mark Allen, though it did not prevent the World number 99 from recovering after being 2-1 and 3-2 behind in a high scoring contest. Both players made three half century break apiece, but it was to be Bingtao's 56 in the final frame decider that helped him into a last 16 match with Ricky Walden, one of just four top ten players remaining.

Rhys Clark has been making a name for himself lately and the 22 year old added to his stock as he defeated world number 15 Kyren Wilson. The favourite began with a break of 118 and took a 2-0 lead, before the World number 77 struck back with five half century breaks in succession. He has been drawn against the highest ranked player left in the competition, Stuart Bingham.

Bingham will hope this competition will rekindle his magical form of 2014/15 (photo: Getty Images)
Bingham will hope this competition will rekindle his magical form of 2014/15 (photo: Getty Images)

The surprises did not end there as Ali Carter, ranked just above Wilson, was seen off by Ben Woollaston, who will now face Liang Wenbo in the next round.

Trump and Higgins remain

Judd Trump, who won the European Masters on Sunday, is arguably the form player left in the competition. He cruised past a potentially tricky tie with Martin Gould 4-1 despite losing the opening frame. The World number four faces Mark Williams in the last 16 after the Welshman made a 138 on his way to a similar scoreline against Ian Preece.

World number five John Higgins joins them in the fourth round after surviving a final frame decider against Fraser Patrick, ranked 101 places below him. His next opponent is Tom Ford, whilst Barry Hawkins against Ryan Day makes up the list of last 16 matches to be played later on Thursday.