Fergal O’Brien knocked out former Shanghai Masters champion Ricky Walden yesterday to reach the venue stage of the 2011 event with a 5-1 win.
The Irishman looked assured throughout and his hopes of emulating countryman Ken Doherty’s run to the semi-finals of the recent Australian Open increase.
Doherty, though, failed to build on the momentum he achieved in Bendigo and succumbed to a 5-2 defeat to Anthony Hamilton.
The encounter was a drawn out affair with neither player able to find any fluency and typified the duo’s inconsistency on the circuit over the last few seasons.
That said, Hamilton will be pleased to get to the televised stages of a ranking event again and it comes after the 40 year-old had been suffering with a neck injury in recent months.
The star of the week at the qualifiers in Sheffield this week has arguably been Jack Lisowski.
The 20 year-old has been tipped by many to be a future star in the same ilk as Judd Trump has emerged from the pack and he completed a superb 5-1 triumph over Marco Fu with a 104 century break.
The solitary frame against his name was the only one Lisowski dropped in his three qualifying rounds and, with a few more positive results, he will be on the verge of a place among the Top 32 in the world rankings very soon.
Shock Australian Open champion Stuart Bingham continued his powerful form with a 5-1 win over Tom Ford as he attempts to put to bed any queries that his victory Down Under was a fluke while there were also wins for ranking event champions Stephen Lee, Dominic Dale, Nigel Bond and James Wattana.
Thailand’s Wattana eased past Joe Perry 5-1 which completed four great rounds of qualifying for the 41 year-old, the only player to do so this week.
Former Top 16 members Liang Wenbo and Ryan Day beat Kurt Maflin and Aditya Mehta respectively 5-2 to book their ticket to China next month and they will be joined by Mark Davis, Michael Holt, Robert Milkins and Mark King – who came from 4-3 behind to edge China’s Liu Song in an important victory.