Judd Trump stays on track for Northern Ireland Open hat-trick in Milton Keynes
Judd Trump remained on course to lift a third consecutive Northern Ireland Open title after beating Martin Gould to reach the quarter-finals in Milton Keynes.
The reigning champion needed a deciding frame to see off Luca Brecel earlier on Thursday. However, he enjoyed a more comfortable victory in the last 16, overcoming former German Masters champion Gould 4-1 with breaks of 103 and 76 along the way.
The world number one is joined in the quarter-finals at the Marshall Arena by the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui.
Trump – winner of this event in 2018 and 2019 – lost his previous meeting with Gould in the European Masters semi-finals in September.
But he drew first blood on the brown in a lengthy opening frame, although world number 34 Gould levelled on the colours.
Despite being forced to a re-spotted black in frame three after rattling it in the jaws of the corner pocket, Trump held his nerve to move back in front before reeling off breaks of 103 and 76 to advance.
His quarter-final opponent will be Scott Donaldson, who knocked out high-flying Mark Allen before seeing off Noppon Saengkham in the last 16.
Elsewhere, O’Sullivan overcame stomach problems to book his place in the last eight.
The Rocket appeared to be physically struggling on Thursday – notably breaking wind during his 4-2 victory over former UK champion Matthew Stevens much to the amusement of referee Ben Williams.
Locked at 2-2 with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh later on, O’Sullivan produced a nerveless 70 clearance to steal frame five on the black before a run of 52 in the next saw him over the line.
In the quarter-finals, the six-time World champion will face Ding, who dropped just a single frame all day as he swept aside Yuan SiJun and John Higgins.
Elsewhere, former UK semi-finalist David Grace produced an amazing fightback from 3-0 down to stun Michael Holt 4-3 to set up a last-eight date with China’s Yan Bingtao, who edged out compatriot Zhao Xintong by the same scoreline.
Two-time Crucible runner-up Ali Carter also advanced to the quarter-finals; making breaks of 103 and 101 in his 4-2 success over Ben Woollaston.
The Captain will face Kurt Maflin, who recorded a pair of 4-1 wins over Ryan Day and Igor Figueiredo.
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Northern Ireland Open 2020 Results
Thursday November 19
98 Andy Hicks 3-4 Martin Gould
99 Noppon Saengkham 4-0 Stephen Maguire
101 Kyren Wilson 2-4 Michael Holt
102 David Grace 4-3 Michael White
103 Barry Pinches 1-4 Yan Bingtao
105 Ben Woollaston 4-2 Liang Wenbo
110 Ding Junhui 4-0 Yuan SiJun
111 Allan Taylor 0-4 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
97 Judd Trump 4-3 Luca Brecel
100 Scott Donaldson 4-1 Mark Allen
104 Zhao Xintong 4-0 Lukas Kleckers
106 Dominic Dale 2-4 Ali Carter
107 Igor Figueiredo 4-3 Zhao Jianbo
108 Kurt Maflin 4-1 Ryan Day
109 John Higgins 4-0 Matthew Selt
112 Matthew Stevens 2-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan
113 Judd Trump 4-1 Martin Gould
114 Noppon Saengkham 2-4 Scott Donaldson
115 Michael Holt 3-4 David Grace
116 Yan Bingtao 4-3 Zhao Xintong
117 Ben Woollaston 2-4 Ali Carter
118 Igor Figueiredo 1-4 Kurt Maflin
119 John Higgins 1-4 Ding Junhui
120 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan