Judd Trump passed the landmark of 750 career centuries as he beat Dominic Dale 6-3 to reach the third round of the Betway UK Championship.
World number one Trump made two tons in a typically commanding performance to bring his career tally to 751. He is only the fourth player, after Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Stephen Hendry, to reach that mark.
The 31-year-old from Bristol has already won two titles this season, the English Open and Northern Ireland Open, and remains favourite for the £200,000 top prize this time.
After losing the first frame tonight, Trump took five in a row with top breaks of 109, 109, 55 and 71. Dale pulled two back and might have closed to 5-4 had he not miscued when attempting a close range red to a centre pocket on 44 in frame nine. Trump punished him with a 91 clearance to book a last 32 meeting with Liang Wenbo or Andy Hicks.
“I’m happy with my form, I didn’t do a lot wrong tonight,” said Trump, whose only UK Championship title came in 2011. “This tournament still feels special, even with no crowd it feels different to the other tournaments so far this season. It’s one that I haven’t won for a while.
“I’m trying my best to enjoy this form because it won’t last forever. It’s nice to go into games confident, not worrying about how I’m going to play or how my opponent will play.
“I’m going along nicely with the centuries. It’s good to be up there chasing the other top players. I’ve said before I want to get to 1,500 and I stand by that.”
Four of the world’s top 16 were knocked out on Saturday, as Mark Allen and David Gilbert lost this evening, joining Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao who were beaten earlier today.
World number eight Allen went down 6-5 against China’s Chang Bingyu, ranked 70 places lower. Allen made breaks of 85, 72, 79 and 51 and led 5-4, but Chang took frame ten with a 93 then dominated the decider with 31 and 39.
“I didn’t deserve to get five frames, I really struggled today and he could have beaten me more easily,” said Allen, who won the Champion of Champions earlier this month. “I was hanging in and giving it everything but it wasn’t the performance I wanted. In the last frame I had a half chance but the balls were sitting badly. He played well in the last two frames.
“My performances in ranking events this season have been reasonable without going deep. I’m disappointed to go out early in such a big tournament. I prepared properly and practised hard but it wasn’t meant to be. I just have to stay patient and the results will come.”
Robert Milkins top scored with 112 in a 6-4 win over world number 13 Gilbert. Barry Hawkins saw off Robbie Williams 6-1 while Hossein Vafaei made a top break of 101 as he beat Michael Holt 6-4.
John Higgins ground out a 6-3 win over Gerard Greene with a top break of 86. “I’ll need to improve, my cue ball control was all over the place,” admitted three-time UK Champion Higgins, who now plays Jak Jones. “At 5-3 I was getting negative thoughts in my mind, so I was happy to finish the match off.”
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