2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy defeated China’s Yan Bingtao 6-4 to reach the last 16 of the International Championship in Daqing.
The win strengthens Murphy’s bid to keep his place in the world’s top 16, with the cut off for Shanghai Masters qualification coming at the end of this week’s event.
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The elite Shanghai tournament consists of the world’s top 16 players, the next four highest ranked Chinese players, two from the CBSA China Tour and two from China’s Amateur Masters series.
Defeat for Riga Masters winner Yan ends his hopes of qualifying as part of the world’s top 16. However, he is already assured of a place in Shanghai as one of the next four highest ranked Chinese players.
Joining Yan in those four places are Xiao Guodong, Lyu Haotian and Liang Wenbo. All four are now guaranteed a place in Shanghai after Liang edged Zhou Yuelong out of the top four by beating Daniel Wells 6-4 in his last 32 tie this evening.
Ali Carter has forced himself into the top 16 of the live rankings after a 6-3 win over Kurt Maflin. While Joe Perry remains hot on his heels after securing a 6-2 victory against Stephen Maguire.
Next up for Carter is a meeting with defending champion Mark Allen. Perry faces World Champion Judd Trump in the last 16.
However, with a £175,000 top prize on offer this week a number of players can still clinch a top 16 spot. Gary Wilson, Graeme Dott and Tom Ford all remain in contention. While Liang could still upgrade his qualification to a top 16 spot by winning the event.
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