Snooker News

Chinese Couple Continue Road to China

Tian Pengfei and Yu Delu both claimed back-to-back victories in the World Open qualifiers with victories over Adrian Gunnell and Andy Hicks respectively.

Staged in Hainan later this year, The World Open will be the third ranking event in the calendar that China will host which means there is extra incentive for their home players to mount a serious challenge.

Pengfei is widely regarded as one of the up-and-coming stars in the game and could fill the void that is currently evident between Ding Junhui and the next best placed Chinese star in the world rankings – Liang Wenbo in 42nd.

Still not assured of their places on the Main Tour for next season, Pengfei saw off Gunnell 5-3 in a lengthy tussle before countryman Delu joined his compatriot in the third round of qualifying with a 5-2 triumph over another Englishman, Andy Hicks.

The duo will have to win another two matches if they will be booking plane tickets home for the tournament proper at the end of February.

Elsewhere, David Morris could not repeat his courageous comeback in yesterday’s opening round and fell to Malta’s ‘Tornado’ Tony Drago 5-3 while Northern Irishman Joe Swail’s misery continued following a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Anthony McGill.

Young prospects Sams Baird and Craigie both progressed further with a pair of 5-1 victories, as did Michael White against Indian Aditya Mehta while Liam Highfield put some bad performances of late behind him with a confidence building 5-3 victory over Ben Woollaston – a PTC winner this season.

By contrast, more experienced pros Ian McCulloch and Alfie Burden got their campaigns off to a promising start with 5-2 and 5-3 victories over Peter Lines and Xiao Guodong respectively.

International cueists Kurt Maflin and Dechawat Poomjaeng enjoyed late deciding frame thriller wins while Englishmen David Gilbert, Dave Harold, Jimmy Robertson and Adam Duffy all marched on – the latter with a comprehensive 5-2 defeat of veteran James Wattana.

The full list of results and the draw can be viewed by clicking here.

Meanwhile, in Championship League Group Two, Shaun Murphy joined Judd Trump in the Winners’ Group in March after playing superbly to oust Mark Selby in the final 3-0.

World number one Selby, Mark Davis, Neil Robertson and defending champion Matthew Stevens all remain in the tournament and will have another go in Group Three next week.

However, it is the end of the road for Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham who finished in the bottom two positions in Group Two after the round robin stage and are thus eliminated from the tournament.

All the results from Group Two can be viewed by clicking here.


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