McGill Whitewashes Wicheard

Adam Wicheard suffered the humiliation of joining an elite batch of players that have been whitewashed in best of 19 matches as Anthony McGill hammered him in the World Championship qualifiers.

Now at the fifth qualifying stage, all the players involved in the round of the last 80 realise that only three more wins are required to fulfil their dream of reaching the Crucible Theatre in less than a fortnight.

Wicheard, though, will be elsewhere after losing 10-0 to Scotsman McGill in a thoroughly one-sided affair.

Wicheard has suffered a difficult time in his second year on the circuit despite reaching the last 32 of the Welsh Open in February.

The Englishman came through Q-School to make the Tour this season and will have to go back and try again in May if he wants another crack.

For McGill, it is an important victory that ensures he expelled the least amount of energy possible, which is of the utmost importance for players attempting to qualify through multiple rounds.

Indeed, McGill will have to oust Anthony Hamilton and Ken Doherty if he is to compete at the World Championship for the first time – two men that will not bow down as easily as Wicheard it is fair to be said.

There was an array of comfortable triumphs today as not a single encounter went even close to the full distance.

Former semi-finalist James Wattana beat China’s Li Yan 10-6 in an odd contest in which the Thai star won the opening four frames, lost the next six before reeling off six of his own to confidently advance and, in doing so, help protect his own Tour status for the upcoming campaign.

Two other Chinese players fared better than Li with Xiao Guodong producing a stellar display to knock out India’s Aditya Mehta 10-4 – both players trading 140 century breaks in a high-quality match – while Yu Delu demolished Michael White 10-2 in a surprisingly easy scoreline.

Elsewhere, Englishmen Ben Woollaston and Andy Hicks beat Daniel Wells 10-4 and Liam Highfield 10-3 respectively.

The afternoon’s play saw the opening session of four other matches with a big shock of the cards as amateur Justin Astley holds a 7-2 advantage over Tony Drago.

Astley has already won three matches to get this far and outplayed his more experienced Maltese opponent to build a menacing lead.

If Drago fails to turn things around tomorrow, he’ll be outside of the world’s Top 64 in the rankings which will mean Q-School for the ‘Tornado’.

Another veteran on the cusp is Norwich’s Barry Pinches, who trails by a similar score to Belgian teenager Luca Brecel.

The 17 year-old has been tipped for a number of years as a potential star and is living up to the billing this week after following up his 10-2 rout of Ian McCulloch with another accomplished performance to lead Pinches.

In two closer bouts, charismatic Brazilian Igor Figuieredo leads Liu Song 5-4, as does Dave Harold against Cao Yupeng.

Tomorrow, these matches will come to a conclusion and the likes of Ireland’s David Morris and England’s David Gilbert continue their quest.

The full draw and list of results can be viewed here

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