Ken Doherty qualified for the second ranking event of the season at the Australian Open after a 5-0 whitewash over Michael Wild yesterday.
It continues an excellent start to the season for the former world champion after his success in qualification for the Wuxi Classic last week.
Wild, still an amateur, had been invited to play in the event following his high level of performance in Q-School and because of the number of professional withdrawals from the tournament this year.
The Englishman went on a remarkable run, winning three matches and conceding only two frames along the way but fell up short against the crafty Irishman.
Doherty’s strong showing in the last couple of weeks is a welcomed boost to Irish snooker after a particularly testing couple of months that has resulted in the country boasting a paltry two representatives on the Main Tour for this campaign.
Fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien could not join in the party, though, as he fell 5-2 at the hands of Xiao Guodong.
China’s Xiao has been one of the up-and-coming stars in the last 12 months or so and looks likely to be joining compatriot Ding Junhui in the higher realms before long.
With the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, John Higgins and Mark Williams all going to be absent Down Under, it is a superb opportunity for one of the less likely competitors to enjoy a deep run in the draw or, like Stuart Bingham in 2011, go all the way to lift the trophy.
Like Xiao, 20 year-old Jack Liswoski is widely regarded as a player destined for the top 16 at the very least, and he confirmed his return to form with a 5-2 ousting of veteran Dave Harold.
Lisowki endured a difficult second season on the Tour last time around, the honeymoon period well and truly over after his amazing rookie campaign.
However, it is likely that the Cheltenham cueist will be a form horse as the action-packed calendar really gets moving again.
All in all, it was a better outing for the Chinese than at qualification for their first home event at Wuxi with four players, including Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, all progressing.
After enjoying three 5-2 victories to reach the final round, Cao Yupeng delighted at the withdrawal of Anthony Hamilton while inconsistent Liang Wenbo bounced back to hammer Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon 5-1.
It was also a pretty good final day for the Scots with Marcus Campbell, Alan McManus and Jamie Burnett all emerging and Welshman Ryan Day putting the disappointment of losing 16 frames in a row across two encounters behind him with a 5-2 triumph over countryman Michael White.
The rest of the 16 hopefuls all reside from England with Matthew Selt condemning Jamie Jones to his second successive defeat following his heroics at the Crucible in April while Rory McLeod, Jamie Cope and Nigel Bond completed the line-up.