Home favourite Ding Junhui and World Champion Mark Selby both came through tough tests on Thursday to reach the last eight of the Bank of Communications OTO Shanghai Masters.
Defending champion Ding came from 2-0 down to beat Martin Gould 5-3, compiling breaks of 96, 60 and 67 in winning five of the last six frames. He now meets Graeme Dott for a place in the semis.
“I played ok,” said Ding. “I had chances in the first frame and could have won the second. But I managed to level the match before the interval which was great. He was in a good rhythm and cueing well, and he has a good long game.
“I tried to play better safety when I was trailing and as a result I got more easy chances, then kept scoring to retain my form. Martin was still dangerous even when I was 4-2 up because he was quite relaxed. I managed to hold myself together through to the end.
“The schedule of ranking events like the Shanghai Masters is fine for me because we don’t have to play several matches in one day like in European Tour events. One match each day gives me plenty of time to rest and practise. So I’m not feeling tired.”
Selby won the first three frames against Michael Holt with runs of 50, 76 and 65 before his opponent battled back to 3-3. World number one Selby also trailed 67-3 in the seventh frame but crucially made a 39 clearance to snatch it, then made a 50 in the next to seal a 5-3 victory.
“It was a difficult game because Michael is a great player and one of my best friends on the tour,” said Selby, who now meets Fergal O’Brien. “There’s a long way to go yet but I’d love to play Ding in the final.”
Dubliner O’Brien ended the run of Chinese wild card Zhao Xintong, winning 5-3. Zhao, who knocked out Matthew Selt and Marco Fu, led 3-2 after breaks of 80 and 69, but gritty O’Brien recovered to win the last three frames.
Alan McManus won the Glaswegian derby against Stephen Maguire 5-1 with a top run of 69 to set up a match with Stuart Bingham.
“It was just my night tonight, I kept Stephen off the table for the first three or four frames,” said McManus, who has reached at least the last 16 of every tournament so far this season. “That laid the foundations. Stephen has a problem with his leg and is not moving as well as he’d like so hopefully he’ll get that rectified soon.
“Things went my way tonight, I didn’t play great but I didn’t miss too many. I’ve been winning matches in tournaments and it would be nice to go a bit deeper, though the deeper you go the tougher it gets. I’ve been here for five days so I’m more acclimatised and feeling more comfortable. I’ll go and play my game and see where it takes me.”