Four out of the eight second round matches of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield have come to an end and there has already been one big shock – that of the exit of world number one Mark Selby.
The “Jester From Leicester” was looking to grab the Triple Crown, having won the UK Championship and Masters but was particularly sluggish in the Last 16 match against Barry Hawkins. His opponent, who has now reached the quarter-finals for the first time in eight attempts, was losing 9-6 at one point, ground out the win to set up a meeting with either Mark King or sole Chinese representative Ding Junhui.
Selby never looked at ease in the showdown and confessed afterwards to feeling “burned out”. He now plans to enter fewer tournaments in 2014 but will also have to contend with new plans to have all 128 players squaring up in the first round, with no preliminary matches.
Strong contender Judd Trump surged ahead of Hong Kong’s Marco Fu to win the final four frames and claim a place in the quarters. He realised the error of being too confident and reined it in, regaining some of the form he exhibited last year whilst world number one. Trump will now play Shaun Murphy, victor against Graeme Dott, who he believes to be one of the few people that can give him a tough match. As a side note, Dott’s exit from the competition means there are no Scots in the quarter-finals for the first time since 1988.
Also booking his place in the last eight is 21-year old Michael White, who upset the crowd to beat the entertaining Dechawat Poomjaeng. The Thai had delighted audiences with his antics, including applauding his own shots and utilising wild facial expressions, but the talent he exhibited in his opening match deserted him last time. White showed real determination and precision for a debutant and will be rewarded with a tie against Robert Milkins or 14th seed Ricky Walden.
Matches in Progress
Ronnie O’Sullivan  8-7 Ali Carter 
Ding Junhui (CHN)  6-6 Mark King
Ricky Walden  5-3 Robert Milkins
Mark Davis 4-4 Stuart Bingham