Five Chinese players made it through the second round of qualifying on Wednesday for their home event, the China Open.
Of course, there will soon be five “home” events for China’s finest but that doesn’t make it any less special or important for them to make their mark in front of their allegiance of fans.
Snooker is so popular in China that thousands will attend each tournament and millions will watch on the television set from the comfort of their own sofa.
It is important for their players to do well in these events as it helps with the marketing and sponsorship, while it also maintains the feel good factor surrounding the sport in Asia at the moment.
Liu Chuang, Cao Yupeng, Yu Delu and Xiao Guodong all came through their respective encounters relatively comfortably, in stark contrast to countryman Li Yan who battled for more than five hours to see off Ian McCulloch 5-4 in a turgid affair.
Each will have to come through two further tests to reach Beijing next month but China will be guaranteed at least one of their players in the final qualifying stage as Guodong meets Liang Wenbo on Thursday.
Liang, as said on countless occasions before, has suffered in the last couple of years with confidence, leading him to endure a dramatic drop down the world rankings.
By contrast, his 23 year-old opponent is on the rise and could be set to become China’s second highest ranked player behind talisman Ding Junhui.
It is only a matter of time before the conveyor belt of players coming out of the nation into the pro circuit develops into a conveyor belt of Chinese players entering the Top 32 and higher – Guodong being the most likely imminent candidate.
Elsewhere, there were excellent victories for teenagers Luca Brecel and Sam Craigie while Liam Highfield beat James Wattana 5-2 to set up an intriguing clash with another veteran in Jimmy White.
Another youngster tipped for great fortune is namesake Michael White and the Welshman overcame David Gilbert 5-0 with the aid of two century breaks.
David Grace, Adrian Gunnell, Rod Lawler, Dave Harold and Peter Lines all made it through to round three – the latter with a 5-1 drubbing of Ireland’s Davy Morris.
Finally, a pair of 5-3 victories were enough for Ben Woollaston and Aditya Mehta over Tian Pengfei and Anthony McGill respectively.
The full draw and list of results can be viewed by clicking here.
Categories: Snooker News