It was a long list of cagey performances and results going down to the wire on Day 4 of the Northern Ireland Open.
While stars like Judd Trump and Shawn Murphy booked a spot in the next round beaming with smiles, others like Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Stuart Bingham can now kiss the tournament goodbye.
Judd Trump was one of those who secured their place in the last-8. Juddernaut had made light work of Zhang Anda in the last-32 to gain safe passage into the last-16.
Trump raced into a 2-0 lead in the opening two frames before Zhang Anda pulled one back to make the scoreline more pleasing to the eye at 2-1. Anda paved the way for an incredible comeback after Trump failed to tuck in an easy red.
The defending champion of the Northern Ireland Open placed his foot on the gas till the fifth frame when he was sure there was no possible comeback for his opponent.
Next on, he took on Yan Bingtao for size. Danny, the boy, raced to a 2-0 lead like Usain Bolt would to the finish line in a 100m sprint.
The defending champion finally sealed his place in the last-8 thumping his opponent by a 4-1 win. He was later joined by Shawn Murphy, who also booked a spot in the quarters.
Murphy was levelled with Barry Hawkins after two frames and had put a little extra effort to soldier towards a win. Hawkins started on the front foot, winning the first frame before Murphy levelled matters.
Murphy then turned the game on its head, snatching the third frame to take a 2-1 lead. It wasn’t a walk in the park for him, but he felt quite comfortable with the win as the scoreline suggests. A 4-2 win was just enough to seal his place in the last-8 alongside Judd Trump and Joe Perry.
Elsewhere, Mark Allen crashed out of the tournament, no thanks to a 4-3 loss in a thriller against Alexander Ursenbacher. After the sixth frame, both players were tied at 3-3, and it was surely down to the wire.
Unfortunately for Allen, he’s now forced to take a step backward as he got beat by Ursenbacher.
Judd Trump is strongly fancied at 2.90 to win the Northern Ireland Open, while opponent Ronnie O’Sullivan is backed at 3.10.
Written by: Roland Arum