Jimmy White returned to form on day one of the Paul Hunter Classic in Fürth. The Whirlwind produced three great performances to advance to Sunday’s last 16.
White made six breaks over fifty during 4-2 victories over first Jamie Curtis-Barrett and China’s Xiao Guodong. Rod Lawler then stood between him and a place in the final day’s action on Sunday. White reeled off the first three frames to move within one of victory. However, Lawler responded with a contribution of 87 in the fourth to keep the game alive. 54-year-old White held his composure and made a break of 45 to help take the final frame and secure the 4-1 win.
“My games been really good, I’ve been practicing well and working with a coach.” Said White. “I’m putting in a lot of time, the form is coming in patches. I’m not quite there yet but it’s not far away.”
Defending champion Ali Carter missed out on a last 16 spot after a shock 4-3 defeat at the hands of Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao. The recently crowned World Open Champion Carter made a strong start with a break of 121 in the opener. Bingtao responded brilliantly, and made four breaks over fifty as he secured a last 16 clash with Dominic Dale.
The Welshman Dale earned his place on Sunday with a 4-2 defeat of Riga Masters finalist Michael Holt. At 3-2 up, the Spaceman took out a nerveless 33 clearance to seal frame and match on the black.
World Number 8 Ricky Walden suffered a surprise exit against of Liam Highfield. Walden had led 2-1, however Highfield responded with a break of 76 in the fourth to level the scores. The pair then traded frames and the match went into a decider at 3-3. Walden looked set for the win but broke down on the final black. The world number 106 Highfield took his opportunity and sealed a last 16 spot. He faces Mark Davis next, who booked his place with a 4-2 win over Welshman Lee Walker.
Michael White put on a strong performance in his last 32 clash with Mei Xiwen. The world number 21 made four breaks over fifty as he ensured progress to Sunday with a 4-2 victory.
Sam Baird came out on top of a high quality tie with Liang Wenbo. At 3-1 down Baird claimed three frames in a row to secure a 4-2 win.
World number one Mark Selby survived a scare in a late finish against 20-year-old James Cahill. Selby rallied from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, however Cahill forced a decider. The World Champion’s experience showed in the seventh frame as he secured the win with a break of 64.