White Wins Again in China

Jimmy White took a further step to safeguarding his place on the Main Tour after 5-3 victory over Alfie Burden in the China Open on Wednesday.

The ‘Whirlwind’ knocked in breaks of 110, 91 and 60 en route to a second win this week, and third overall having qualified for Beijing in February.

The 51 year-old has been in determined mood since the calendar year began to ensure that his slide down the rankings does not lead to him losing his place on the circuit for next season.

Should he survive, White will compete on the professional tour for an incredible 35th consecutive campaign in 2014/15.

At the start of the week, the ten-time ranking event champion was placed just inside the world’s top 64 on the provisional money list of players who guarantee their place for another year.

After his brace of triumphs, White has risen to 59th and just over £5,000 from safety.

He is not yet assured of his membership among the sport’s pro ranks but a single victory in the World Championship qualifiers next week would probably be enough for the six-time runner-up at the Crucible.

Of course, it is possible that the People’s Champion could continue his good run out east, where he has reached the last 16 of an event for the first time this season, but he faces a tough challenge for a place in the quarter-final against world no.2 Mark Selby.

Twice finalist Selby played pretty well in overcoming Nigel Bond 5-1 and his eyes will be gleaming at the prospect of reaching a third final in four years with his quarter of the draw opening up.

If he can dismantle White’s challenge, the ‘Jester’ will take on lowly ranked Mike Dunn, Craig Steadman or Martin O’Donnell in the last eight.

Still in Selby’s half of the draw, though, are the likes of Ding Junhui and John Higgins, who themselves will do battle in the next round.

Scot Higgins continued his semi resurgence in form with a speedy 5-1 drubbing of Michael White while Ding overcame Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-3 despite a patchy performance from the local hero.

Still, the 26 year-old remains on course for a record-equaling fifth ranking event crown of the season as he continues his preparation for the one he really wants to emerge successful in next month.

In the top half of the draw, defending champion Neil Robertson recorded his second successive whitewash win with a 5-4 defeat of Mark Williams.

Robertson needed a host of chances to see off the spirited challenge of the Welshman having at one point led 4-2, but eventually completed the job in the decider.

The Aussie has been struggling with a virus for a couple of weeks and has so far failed to add to his centuries tally for the season of 92 – still eight shy of the magical ton of tons.

Robertson will face China’s own Yu Delu in the last 16.

Elsewhere, two-time winner Peter Ebdon was the shock victor on day three after a 5-4 win over 2011 champion Judd Trump.

The veteran will play Ali Carter next while Shaun Murphy enjoyed a 5-0 whitewash of Dechawat Poomjaeng and will face Ricky Walden, who edged Xiao Guodong.

Finally, 19 year-old Luca Brecel is back approaching the business end of tournaments after comfortably beating Dominic Dale and his reward is a battle with yet another former China Open champ in Graeme Dott.

Click Here for the China Open draw.

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