Northern Ireland Open: Ali Carter defeats holder Mark Williams 4-3 in Belfast

Ali Carter beat Mark Williams 4-3 at the Northern Ireland Open

Ali Carter halted Mark Williams’ reign as Northern Ireland Open champion with a scrappy 4-3 victory in Belfast.

Carter recovered from 3-1 down to beat the world number two and advance to a third round match against Xiao Guodong.

A 4-2 win over Nigel Bond sent home favourite Joe Swail into the last-32 but fellow Northern Irishman Gerard Greene lost 4-1 to Matthew Stevens.

Ronnie O’Sullivan dispatched of Mei Xi Wen in the late session with comfortable a 4-1 win.

Williams’ exit now means that both of last year’s finalists are out given that Yao Bingtao was knocked-out in the opening round.

Earlier, 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon beat Lee Walker 4-3 and world number 13 Luca Brecel was a comfortable 4-0 winner against Ian Burns.

Xiao Guodong progressed to his third-round contest against Carter with a victory against Akani Songsermsawad, Eden Sharav registered a 4-2 victory against Michael White while Gary Wilson and Andrew Higginson were 4-3 winners against Daniel Wells and Yuan Sijun.

Judd Trump made light work of Stuart Carrington in one of the round’s final encounters, securing safe passage with a 4-0 victory.

China’s Li Hang impressed in his 4-2 win over Sam Craigie with two century breaks.

2010 World Champion Neil Robertson took the last four frames as he came from 3-0 down to overcome Kurt Maflin.

O’Sullivan unimpressed by Wilson/Trump rivalry

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan again progressed with little trouble, having come through the opening round in under 45 minutes.

Before his third round match, O’Sullivan rubbished suggestions from Trump that he and fellow Englishman Kyren Wilson may be involved in a rivalry at the top of the game in years to come.

“We are looking at the new generation but if you look at the people dominating the game, it is still Higgins, Selby, Robertson, Williams and myself,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

“You are trying to find out who will be the next world champion, who will take the game by the scruff of the neck?

“I don’t think either of them (Trump/Wilson) will. There is not another Higgins or Hendry out there. They are decent players but not great players as far as I am concerned. It is all just talk.”

O’Sullivan, who criticised World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn over how the sport is run earlier this week, will meet Tom Ford in the last 32.

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BBC Sport – Snooker

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