Hendry Crashes To Milkins

Stephen Hendry (Photo courtesy of top147.com)

Stephen Hendry suffered a 5-1 defeat against Robert Milkins at the Bank of Communication Shanghai Masters, and now looks set to drop out of the world's top 16.

The seven-times World Champion is currently ranked 16th, but his first round exit in Shanghai is likely to see him fall out of the elite for the first time since 1988.

If he can't regain his place in time for the seeding cut-off point in early October - which looks improbable as he has not entered one of the two PTC events - he will have to qualify for December's UK Championship and rely on a wild card for the Masters in January. Last year there were no wild cards at the Masters and this year a decision is yet to be made on whether to make any available.

Asked how much of a blow it would be if he did miss either of those two major events, Hendry replied: "Of course it would be disappointing. But the way I'm playing at the moment I'd lose in the first round anyway. I'm just playing very badly and I've got very little confidence."

Gloucester's Milkins, who knocked in two breaks of 73 in setting up a last 16 meeting with Mark Williams, said: "I played well from the first frame. Even though Stephen's not on form, you still have to play well to beat him."

It was a bad night for the home fans as Chinese duo Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo were both knocked out. Ding squandered a 3-0 lead against Martin Gould, losing 5-3. The last frame went down to the colours and Gould nicked it with a cracking pot on the final black along the side cushion.

"Even at 3-0 down I knew I was cueing well," said Gould, who boosted his own chances of a top 16 place for the first time. "I managed to win the fourth frame, then at the interval I was able to regroup.

"When I was faced with the black in the last frame I didn't fancy it at all and thought about playing safe. But I decided to go for it and it was lovely to see it drop."

Liang suffered a 5-1 reverse against 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson, who compiled breaks of 72, 63 and 59.

Stuart Bingham insisted he can win back to back ranking events after a 5-1 victory over Judd Trump.

Bingham's biggest career landmark came at the Australian Goldfields Open in July when he won his first ranking title. Full of confidence, the Essex cueman reproduced that form today with a resounding win over Crucible finalist Trump which featured breaks of 129 and 112.

"Once I got on the match table I felt the same as I did in Australia and managed to show that form again," said Bingham. "There's no reason why I can't win this. If I play as well as I did in Australia I can do it. I've been playing well for 18 months now and I just want to keep it going."

Trump said: "I'm really disappointed to go out early in this one, especially having won the China Open in Beijing last season. If Stuart keeps playing like that he'll be hard to beat."

Bingham now faces World Champion John Higgins, who recorded a 5-2 win over Mark Davis with a top break of 112.

"I've only ever won one ranking tournament in Asia, and that was here in Shanghai in 1999. So it's been a long time and I'd love to win another one," said Higgins.

World No 1 Mark Williams wasted little effort in beating Andrew Higginson 5-0. The Welshman made a 77 in the first frame and a 54 in the last.

Day three results (all last 32 matches)

John Higgins 5-2 Mark Davis
Mark Williams 5-0 Andrew Higginson
Judd Trump 1-5 Stuart Bingham
Graeme Dott 2-5 Michael Holt
Ding Junhui 3-5 Martin Gould
Neil Robertson 5-1 Liang Wenbo
Stephen Hendry 1-5 Robert Milkins
Matthew Stevens 5-2 Stephen Lee