Kilkenny’s David Morris beat north of the border’s Gerard Greene 5-2 in the first qualifying round of the German Masters today in Sheffield.
Morris, who turns 23 on Sunday, raced into a 4-0 lead with some impressive early play before withstanding a mini-revival from his opponent to seal an important victory.
After a very poor first few months to the campaign, Morris is a long way below the top 64 players in the world rankings that will automatically maintain their tour status for next season.
It is therefore imperative for the Irishman that he begins to string some results together in the second half of this season in order to keep his professional hopes alive.
Morris, to his credit, has enjoyed an upsurge in form over the last couple of weeks with this triumph following a run to the last 16 of the Antwerp Open earlier this month.
To qualify for the main event in Berlin next February, Morris will have to beat fellow lowly ranked competitor Paul Davison tomorrow before a potential clash with Welshman Dominic Dale on Friday.
Morris’ countryman David Hogan couldn’t achieve a much-needed positive result of his own, losing 5-3 in a tight contest with Anthony Hamilton.
Hogan’s situation is even worse than his compatriot and will need a minor miracle in 2012 if he is to climb the rankings in such a dramatic fashion.
Elsewhere, China had a relatively good day with four of their players making it through the second round of qualifying.
Liang Wenbo, Xiao Guodong, Liu Chuang and Liu Song all enjoyed 5-3 wins but there were losses for Cao Yupeng and Li Yan – to Andy Hicks and Anthony McGill respectively.
Wenbo has suffered a horrible run of form in the last 18 months that has seen the former ranking event finalist plummet to the brink of dropping outside the world’s top 48.
For someone who promised so much when he burst onto the scene at the 2008 World Championship, the Chinese number two has failed to live up to all of the expectations back home so far.
In other results, Michael White continued his excellent form of late with a 5-2 victory over Michael Holt while Rory McLeod, Andrew Pagett, Adam Duffy and Alan McManus also progressed.
In an all Thai battle, James Wattana beat Passakorn Suwannawat 5-3 and there was a welcomed success for Joe Swail after a 5-1 defeat of teenager Luca Brecel.