Xiao Guodong recorded his first win over Ryan Day and booked his place in the second round at the Crucible with a 10-4 win over the number 16 seed.
Guodong, who finished runner up to Anthony McGill in a February Shoot Out tournament, took advantage of some sloppy play from Day to take a strong early lead and grew in confidence as the game went on before closing in style with his highest break of the match.
In the morning session, Guodong raced to a 4-0 lead at the mid-session interval. The Asian U21 champion took all the chances presented to him after Day created mistakes by missing simple shots and creating chances for his opponent with poor defensive play.
Day did look composed in the first frame, building on a foul from Guodong to take control of the table before making a poor miss which allowed his opponent to take the lead with a vital break of 62.
Guodong didn’t look back. Over the next three frames, both players exchanged half-decent breaks but it was Day who could not benefit from commanding positions.
In the second frame, Day sank a crucial long pot but then missed an easy brown within seconds, leading to both launching themselves into tactical safety play, Guodong holding himself together the best to take the frame and the lead.
Guodong also snatched the third frame after surrendering 12 foul points in a row before powering back to take the frame. Great defensive play from both players took the fourth frame past the 30 minute mark, but it was Day who fouled on the black and pink, ending a poor first session for the 37 year old.
However, after the mid-session interval, the man nicknamed the ‘Dynamite’ exploded into action, taking the next three frames to close the gap to 4-3. Despite both players missing chances in the fifth frame, Day finally managed to close the gap in the next two after registering an unanswered 198 points.
He recorded the only century break of the match to take the sixth frame, hitting a powerful 72 break to close the deficit to his Chinese counterpart again.
Nevertheless, Guodong showed his class by taking the eighth frame and a tight ninth to lead 6-3 going into the evening session.
Day will have been hoping the few hours break would do him some good but it was Guodong who showed why he is nicknamed the ‘X Factor’ when the players returned for the climax. He eased to a 9-3 lead, restricting Day to just 18 points, while also managing two 50+ breaks in three frames.
Guodong seemed extremely relaxed, almost treating it like a practice session, while Day was finding issues with his usually reliable long potting.
After chess like safety shots from both players at the beginning of the 12th frame, it was Day who blinked first in one that he simply had to win to have a realistic chance of clawing the game back.
He did win the 13th frame with a very impressive break of 98 to ensure the match went into the second half of the evening session, but any hope of a miraculous comeback was short-lived as Guodong kept his opponent in his seat to wrap up victory.
His reward is a tough battle against defending champion Mark Selby on Saturday in the best of 25 frames.