Chinese Struggle to Reach Beijing

Several of the Chinese players were dumped out of the China Open before even returning to their homeland on the opening day of qualifiers in Gloucester.

The first round is taking place at The Capital Venue before the final 64 players compete in Beijing at the start of April.

Seven of the strong Chinese contingent were in action on Sunday but only two were able to ensure their flight back east.

Shanghai Masters runner-up Xiao Guodong will be hoping for a similar run in a home event after coming through the test of Andrew Pagett unscathed while Yu Delu easily overcame young compatriot Lu Haotian 5-0.

Elsewhere, China’s no.2 Liang Wenbo – another former finalist in Shanghai – succumbed to a shock 5-4 defeat to David Grace, losing three of the last four frames, while Zhang Anda also lost a tight decider with English veteran Dave Harold.

India’s Pankaj Advani helped to safeguard his chances of finishing inside the world’s top 64 at the end of the season with a 5-3 victory over Chen Zhe while world no.1 Neil Robertson recorded a similar scoreline over Li Yan.

Li actually looked on course for a potential major upset when he led the Australian 3-2 but the UK champion bounced back to ensure his defence of the China Open continued.

Unusually for Robertson, he was unable to add to his incredible tally of 86 centuries for the campaign but it is still expected that he will reach the magical ton of tons at some point before the climax of the campaign.

Meanwhile, three of the higher seeds went out early as Robert Milkins, Joe Perry and Matthew Stevens suffered early exits.

Despite playing on home turf, Milkins’ 5-3 defeat to Gary Wilson was not all that big of a surprise given how well the latter has been playing on his return to the circuit this season.

Perry’s 5-2 loss to amateur Duane Jones, however, was a notable scalp for the young Welshman while his countryman Matthew Stevens went down inĀ an oddly one-sided whitewash to James Wattana.

That said, the Thai three-time ranking event winner did seem to be in good form as he knocked in breaks of 66, 54, 65, 61 and 52 to race to a 5-0 victory.

World no.2 Mark Selby had no such problems as he dispatched of Ryan Clark 5-0 while Jamie Cope and Anthony McGill enjoyed similar triumphs over Gareth Green and Michael Leslie respectively.

Mark Williams and Ali Carter enjoyed 5-1 wins but it was much closer for Jack Lisowski, Rory McLeod and Hammad Miah, who needed all nine frames to reach the first round proper.

There were wins also for Ricky Walden, Ryan Day, Jamie Jones, Jimmy Robertson, Mark Joyce and Dechawat Poomjaeng but the ‘Nugget’ Steve Davis never recovered from losing the first four frames in his encounter with Michael Wasley – eventually going down 5-3.

The qualifiers continue on Monday.

For the full draw click here.


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