Chinese teenager Zhou Yuelong stunned World Champion Mark Selby 5-4 to delight the home crowd at the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.
Zhou is one of the brightest prospects on the World Snooker Tour and has already claimed World Cup glory, lifting the title in 2015 for China alongside Yan Bingtao. He reached his first ranking quarter-final at this year’s Welsh Open and he is one win away from replicating that feat this week.
Selby was making his first ranking event appearance of the season this week, having missed the start of the campaign due to a toe injury.
Zhou got off to a tremendous start, going 2-0 ahead thanks to a run of 124 in the second frame. Selby fought back to take the following two frames and head into the mid-session at 2-2.
When they returned it went 3-3 before a tense seventh frame. Both players spurned opportunities, but eventually it was Zhou who missed a straightforward final black to allow Selby to go 4-3 up. The 19-year-old then was in first as he looked to force a decider and made 72. That proved to be enough after a missed brown by Selby which could have allowed him to steal.
The deciding frame once again saw the Jester looking to steal from behind, but another miss on the brown allowed Zhou to cross the line for one of the biggest wins of his career.
Ronnie O’Sullivan overcame David Gilbert 5-3 in what proved to be an edgy encounter. The win for the Rocket sets up a potential meeting with Judd Trump in the last 16, who faces Graeme Dott later on.
Gilbert started well and established a 2-0 lead. However, the Rocket immediately propelled himself back into the tie making a sublime 130 clearance, before restoring parity at 2-2.
The second half of the match was characterised by missed opportunities from both players. However, it was O’Sullivan who was the more clinical of the pair. He made further breaks of 42 and 68 on his way to securing the win.
“It is important that you put on a good show for the fans. It was an exciting match and I think the fans enjoyed it,” said O’Sullivan. “Whether I win or lose the tournament will go on and this is a great event here in China.”
Shaun Murphy is through to the last 16 after Anthony Hamilton was forced to concede the match at 1-0 down. Hamilton suffers from chronic neck pain and was unable to continue after the opening frame.
Mark Davis recorded a surprise 5-3 victory over world number six Barry Hawkins. There were breaks of 40 and 94 for Davis, as he booked a last 16 meeting with Ali Carter.
Carter came through a thrilling clash with David Grace 5-4. The pair contested a high quality match, but it was the Captain who eventually emerged with the spoils. This was largely due to his heavier scoring in the early stages of the match. Breaks of 68, 96 and 133 allowed him to establish a 3-1 lead. Grace fought valiantly, but it was the two-time World finalist who progressed.
For full results click here.