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Live Snooker on Thursday: China Open 2017 Day Four preview and order of play

Form horse Judd Trump looks to continue his blistering run (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The top six seeds aim to progress to the Quarter-Finals of the 2017 China Open as the tournament reaches its business end in Beijing on Thursday.

Two-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was the major casualty of the Second Round as he went down 5-4 to Mark Joyce, while the likes of Ali Carter, Ricky Walden and Martin Gould also bowed out to lower-ranked opposition.



A host of box office stars remain in the running for the season's penultimate ranking silverware and will be out to find an extra gear in a bid to reach the last eight.

Home hero Ding Junhui is out to maintain his perfect week on the table so far when he takes on giant-killer Joyce in the second session of the day.

Ding enters the clash on the back of successive whitewashes of Paul Davison and Zhou Yuelong and is now one of just two Chinese hopefuls left standing in the competition as he bids for a third China Open crown.

Joyce pulled off one of the biggest wins of his career as he defied two centuries from O'Sullivan to edge through a last-frame decider and is looking to extend his ground-breaking run in Beijing by causing another huge upset.

Reigning World Champion and 2015 China Open winner Mark Selby steps up his latest title quest when he comes up against comeback king Andrew Higginson.

Weight of expectation: Ding Junhui (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Selby has swept aside Alfie Burden and Martin O'Donnell for the loss of just one frame en route to the Last 16 and will be keen to maintain that ruthless edge with one eye on his upcoming world title defence at The Crucible.

Higginson, meanwhile, battled back from 4-1 down to defeat Ricky Walden 5-4 on Wednesday, having previously failed to surpass the First Round hurdle in Beijing. 

Man of the moment Judd Trump continues his pursuit of a fourth consecutive ranking final appearance when he meets in-form underdog Tian Pengfei in the opening session.

Trump has won ten of his eleven frames this week and has seemingly picked up from where he left off in claiming the Players Championship title in Llandudno a fortnight ago.

Tian has already put paid to the hopes of Shoot-Out winner Anthony McGill and former German Masters champion Martin Gould and now faces a formidable test against an opponent playing some of the most consistent snooker of his career. 

A mouth-watering clash of the titans sees Mark Williams and John Higgins go head-to-head in a repeat of the 2006 China Open final.

Stephen Maguire plays a shot  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Williams has lifted this prestigious trophy on three occasions, including a nail-biting 9-8 win in the final 11 years ago, though interestingly it has eluded Higgins during his illustrious career to date.

Elsewhere, two former Shanghai Masters champions collide as Stuart Bingham takes on Kyren Wilson, with both determined to make a timely return to form ahead of the sport's show-piece next month.

Stephen Maguire aims to keep his faint hopes of gatecrashing the top 16 prior to the Crucible cut-off alive by overcoming Daniel Wells - the world number 68 who dispatched fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens in Round Two.

Shaun Murphy, runner-up here in 2008, faces a tricky test against Michael White - who produced a fine display to knock out Carter in the Last 32 on Wednesday.

Two rank outsiders are presented with a golden opportunity to reach the Quarter-Finals as world number 57 Rory McLeod faces Iran's Hossein Vafaei - the world number 76 who has defeated Joe Perry and Ben Woollaston en route to this stage.

The action gets underway from 7am BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of nine frames at the Beijing University Students' Gymnasium.

China Open 2017 match schedule

Thursday March 30

Round Three

7am
Judd Trump v Tian Pengfei
Rory McLeod v Hossein Vafaei
Shaun Murphy v Michael White
Mark Williams v John Higgins

12.30pm
Stuart Bingham v Kyren Wilson
Mark Joyce v Ding Junhui
Daniel Wells v Stephen Maguire
Andrew Higginson v Mark Selby


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Live Snooker on Thursday: China Open 2017 Day Four preview and order of play

The top six seeds aim to progress to the Quarter-Finals of the 2017 China Open as the tournament reaches its business end in Beijing on Thursday.

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