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Judd Trump mixes brilliance with bad misses as he edges out Lu Ning at Northern Ireland Open


Judd Trump produced some dazzling snooker but was made to work hard to beat Lu Ning 4-2 to reach the last 16 of the Northern Ireland Open.

The defending champion did not concede a point in his win over Gao Yang in the previous round and showed brilliance on occasions on Wednesday evening, but paid for a couple of glaring misses and was made to dig deeper than expected by his 27-year-old opponent.

Class told in the end, but Trump will need to cut out the errors in the last 16 as he will face Jimmy Robertson whose hot form continued with a 4-0 drubbing of James Cahill.

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The world number two got in early in the first frame with a solid break before running out of position. It proved only a minor hold-up as Lu played on in search of table time after coming into the contest with no match action under his belt on account of receiving a bye in the previous round.

Trump laid a fiendish snooker in the second and it forced an error from Lu which set up the frame.

The world number two has spoken about winning fans by playing exciting snooker, and he wowed the crowd in Belfast with an outrageous double which went into the right middle at high speed.

“It sounded like a gunshot, it went in so hard,” said Neal Foulds on Eurosport commentary.

‘Sounded like a gunshot!’ – Trump sends double fizzing into pocket

Trump makes snooker look remarkably simple at times, and it comes as a surprise when he misses.

He missed a routine pink with the third frame at his mercy, and Lu stepped in to clear to get on the board.

Trump brushed off the shock of the missed pink to hit back in the fourth. A couple of excellent safety shots crafted the chance and his break of 83 was notable for how he kept the cue ball under tight control.

Just as it appeared normal service would be resumed, Trump missed a simple red into the bottom left and Lu stepped in with a confident break of 74.

Another miss from Trump and loss of a safety battle handed Lu the chance to level the match in the sixth, but he missed a tough yellow and Trump stepped in to clear to the pink to seal the win.

The bowing of the head with relief when the pink dropped suggested Trump felt he got out of jail, but his chance of a fourth win in a row in the Northern Ireland remains on.

‘That’s not going to cheer him up’ – Excellent Trump snooker ties opponent in knots

Mark Selby overcame some scrappy patches of play to beat Gary Wilson 4-1.

The world champion was a step short of his best and Wilson looked certain to make a bold bid as he had frame-ball to level the match in the fourth.

A routine red into the left middle caught the near knuckle, and Selby pounced to clear up and sealed the win with a break of 80.

Selby will meet David Gilbert next after the Angry Farmer knocked in a century break in the final frame of his 4-2 win over Louis Heathcote.

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