Peter Lines came from 5-3 behind to knock out Dubliner Ken Doherty in a nervy deciding frame thriller to book his place at the UK Championship next month.
Journeyman Lines memorably reached the quarter-finals of the event two years ago, meaning it was imperative for him to go on a good run to protect the ranking points that he earned and will now be taken off his tally under the current system.
Tonight’s gruelling triumph was his third of the week as he took advantage of a thoroughly out-of-sorts former world champion.
Despite looking nowhere near his best, Australian Open semi-finalist Doherty appeared in control at 4-1 and 5-3 before his opponent hit back.
An accomplished century from Lines in frame 9 – a rare decent break in a scrappy affair – brought the Leeds man to within one before Doherty threw away three golden opportunities in the final two frames.
In his prime, the 42 year-old would have only needed one chance but is clearly still suffering from a lack of confidence despite some good results this season.
Fair play to Lines, though, who didn’t play well himself for most of the clash but held his nerve in the end to creep over the winning line.
Doherty’s countryman Fergal O’Brien didn’t fare any better with a 6-2 defeat at the hands of up and coming teenager Li Yan of China.
The 19 year-old began the week in the first qualifying stage but won four matches to book his place at the event proper and leaps inside the top 64 in the provisional rankings.
By contrast, it was a different story for two other veterans of the baize as Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry comfortably sealed their progression to the last 32.
Between them, the duo have won 13 World Championships and 11 UK Championships and a pair of 6-2 triumphs over Ian McCulloch, for Davis, and Gerard Greene for Hendry were more than enough.
It marked the first occasion that the Scotsman had to endure the nightmare of the qualifiers in 23 years but he showed good resolve in adjustment to make certain of his place at the second major.
Hendry’s reward is a date with countryman Stephen Maguire but the tie of the round will arguably be Davis’ meeting with Ronnie O’Sullivan – a mouth-watering prospect if ever there was one.
Elsewhere, there were some shock results as Robert Milkins edged former UK champion Peter Ebdon, Joe Jogia knocked out Jamie Cope while former top 16 members Barry Hawkins and Mark King fell to Rory McLeod and Matthew Selt.
Ryan Day, though, hammered Jamie Burnett 6-0 and Tom Ford whitewashed China’s Xiao Guodong in similar fashion.
There were also important wins for Joe Jogia, Ricky Walden, Adrian Gunnell, Dominic Dale, Mark Davis before Marco Fu completed the winning group with a post-midnight 6-5 victory over Anthony Hamilton.
The full list of results can be viewed by clicking here.
Categories: Snooker News