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Ding is the last Chinese player standing in Yushan (Taka G Wu/Alamy Live News)

Ding Junhui locks horns with Shaun Murphy on Thursday in the standout tie of the last 16 at the World Open in Yushan.

Just 16 players remain at the Yushan Sports Centre, with Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Neil Robertson also among those aiming to book their places in the quarter-finals.

Of all those players, Ding is the last one standing from China and will aim to delight his home crowd with victory in a battle of the former World Open champions.

The Dragon, who lifted the trophy in 2017, has made five centuries this week – while withstanding Zak Surety’s 147 in their heldover encounter – to close in on his sixth quarter-final of the season.

By contrast, it would be Murphy’s first (excluding his Championship League victory in July), though he is also in impressive scoring form having compiled three tons during his 5-3 win over Joe Perry on Wednesday.

Ironically, the pair also collided at this stage of the World Open in 2014 with the Magician, who has won each of the last five meetings, prevailing 5-4 on his way to lifting the trophy.

The winner of that match will face the victor of another tasty showdown between old rivals O’Sullivan and Hossein Vafaei.

While the Rocket looks to stay on course for his sixth title of the season, the Iranian needs a deep run here to potentially book his place at the Tour Championship and the Crucible.

Reigning champion Trump will aim to extend his dominant record over David Lilley, who he has beaten in all six of their previous encounters and won 27 of the 30 frames they have contested.

Doing so would see the Ace into the 90th ranking quarter-final of his career, while it would be just a second for the former World Seniors champion.

Meanwhile, recently crowned Championship League winner Selby is seeking his second title in as many tournaments.

Although, the Jester faces a potential banana skin against John Higgins’ conqueror in Jackson Page, who is looking to reach his maiden ranking quarter-final.

Ben Woollaston could reach his first one since the 2020 Shoot Out. However, the former Welsh Open finalist knows he must be at it from the first ball against free-scoring Kyren Wilson, who has already hit four centuries this week.

Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire go head to head eyeing a first ranking quarter-final of 2024. European Masters winner Hawkins made a break of 146 against Robbie Williams in round two, while Maguire enjoyed a commanding 5-1 victory over reigning World champion Luca Brecel.

Another win would represent Neil Robertson’s best performance of an otherwise disappointing season. The Australian is resurgent and must win this event to stand any chance of sealing automatic qualification for the World Championship.

However, he knows he will be in for a tough game against Northern Ireland Open runner-up Chris Wakelin, who hit breaks of 143, 131 and 103 in an impressive 5-1 rout of Ali Carter.

The other last-16 tie is a battle of left-handers who have already taken out Players Championship winner Mark Allen and International Championship victor Zhang Anda between them this week, in Elliot Slessor and Daniel Wells.

Play gets under way at 6.30am GMT on Thursday with all matches contested over the best of nine frames at the Yushan Sports Centre.


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World Open 2024 | Day Four Schedule

All times GMT (local time +8 hours)

Thursday March 21

Last 16

Barry Hawkins v Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson v Ben Woollaston
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Hossein Vafaei
Judd Trump v David Lilley

Elliot Slessor v Daniel Wells
Mark Selby v Jackson Page
Neil Robertson v Chris Wakelin
Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy