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Snooker: Defending Champion and China's Ding Crash Out
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Defending champion Mark Williams and China's Ding Junhui both bid farewell to the 2007 China Open snooker tournament in Beijing yesterday.

Jamie Cope rattled in quick-fire breaks 134, 68, 72, 104 and 86 to easily oust Williams with a 5-1 win.

Williams, who beat John Higgins 9-8 in last year's final, has seen his rankings slip along with his form, falling to 10th in world rankings.

Mark Williams

"That's one of the best performances I've ever seen against me. He hardly missed a ball and I didn't get much of a look-in," said the former world champion.

"That's the best game I've played for a long time, If I keep playing like that I can beat anyone, so maybe I could be the champion," said Cope.

The only cloud to cast umbrage on Cope's day of glory was his inability to secure a 147-break.

In the fourth frame, he missed a tricky red whilst on a 72 break. A less understandable mistake was his miscue on the penultimate red whilst on 104 in the fifth.

"I make a lot of 147s in practice so I always go for them when I have a chance, it's a shame I couldn't make one this time," added Cope.

Cope will face Stuart Bingham in the last 16 after Bingham beat former world champion Steve Davis 5-4 in a final-frame showdown.

Barry Hawkins stunned the Beijing crowd by ousting home favorite Ding Junhui, 5-3. Hawkins told Ding early on he was in for a fight with a beautiful 116 clearance, before blazing ahead with a series of strong breaks, totaling 134, 77, 59 and 73, in a match that ran over three hours.

Ding Junhui

"Clearly, Ding was under pressure, and he still did his best," said Hawkins. The distraught Ding made no comment although a mass of journalists accosted him.

Ding's defeat capped a black day for Chinese snooker hopes since all its cueists were eliminated after Li Hang was beaten by Ken Doherty 5-1, and team mate Mei Xiwen capitulated 5-1 to former world champion Shaun Murphy 5-1.

"I didn't score that heavily, but it was my first professional victory in China, so it meant a lot to me," said Murphy.

"Clearly, I am not in the same league as British professional players, such as Murphy. I hope next time I can do better," said Mei.

 (Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2007)

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