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Doherty Dethrones King to Reach Shanghai

Ken Doherty has qualified for the Shanghai Masters after a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Mark King in Barnsley.

Former world no.2 Ken Doherty - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Former world no.2 Ken Doherty – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The bout was largely a scrappy occasion but Doherty was able to get the better of his English opponent in each frame with the aid of decent breaks of 74, 56 and 47.

It marks an important step for the Irishman in curtailing his rapid decline down the rankings which has seen him fall outside the world’s top 32.

The 1997 world champion endured an atrocious year last season and will be forced to pull out positive results more frequently if he is to prevent a further demise.

Three victories this week will boost his confidence, though, especially considering he made a match-winning clearance in the deciding frame of his opening tie with Jak Jones to prevail 5-4 on Wednesday.

The wins became progressively easier thereafter with a 5-2 defeat of John Astley preceding today’s mauling.

That said, it will surely get a lot trickier when the 44 year-old lands in China as he has been drawn to play world champion Mark Selby in the last 32.

Joining him on that trip will be fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien after the former Masters runner-up overcame Jamie Cope at the Metrodome.

Elsewhere, two-time world champion Mark Williams had a 90 break en route to a 5-3 success over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh but his Welsh compatriot Matthew Stevens went down by the same scoreline to 23 year-old Jack Lisowski.

There were a couple of standout performances of the day.

Another Welshman in Dominic Dale fired in three tons in four frames – 123, 111 and 120 – in a dramatic comeback deciding frame victory over Michael Wasley while Matthew Selt equally impressed in his 5-2 win against Mark Davis.

Selt compiled runs of 69, 85 and a wonderful 140 as the 29 year-old reached the Shanghai Masters for the first time since 2009.

Scot Alan McManus continued his incredible return to form over the last year or so by knocking Jamie Jones out while another veteran Joe Swail emerged through all four rounds to book his spot in the Far East after a 5-1 drubbing of Peter Ebdon.

Martin Gould and Andrew Higginson needed all nine frames in order to get past Mike Dunn and Tom Ford respectively but Chinese duo Liang Wenbo and Li Hang had an easier time of it, inflicting a pair of 5-2 losses on Alex Davies and Mark Joyce.

Finally, Michael Holt, Jimmy Robertson and Ryan Day both progressed – the latter with a 5-3 success over Belgian Bullet Luca Brecel.

The draw for the Shanghai Masters can be viewed by clicking here.

Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.