The second Asian Tour event of the season is taking place this week in China, known as the Haining Open.
Already down to the last 32 stage, Jimmy White has continued his promising form of late as a brace of victories has sent him into the third round.
The ‘Whirlwind’, who had struggled for victories earlier in the campaign despite some decent performances in close encounters, has managed to turn his fortunes around recently after first sealing qualification for next week’s lucrative International Championship a month ago.
The 52 year-old followed that up with a run to the last 16 of the Bulgarian Open before narrowly missing out on semi-final spot in last week’s General Cup – an invitation event.
However, keen to maintain his place on the Main Tour on his own merit – and not by requiring a wildcard ticket – White has prolonged his winning habit with a pair of comprehensive victories over amateur Wang Pengfei and Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng.
Indeed, White is evidently hitting the ball okay as the 10-time ranking event champion has lost only one frame in his opening two ties and fired in breaks of 136, 78, 73, 70 and 53 along the way.
While he has only just secured a meagre prize total of £600 for his efforts in the minor ranking event so far, it could prove vital to the Londoner’s eventual pro status survival.
Elsewhere, there’s a distinctly more serious feel to this Asian Tour tournament with an increased number of professionals entering, presumably attempting to seize their opportunity for some silverware and perhaps an invitation to the Players Championship Grand Finals at the tail end of the season, as well as some much needed practice ahead of next week’s ranker in Chengdu.
While it has been regular to see plenty of amateur faces at this stage in the past, only seven of the remaining 32 players fail to boast a Main Tour membership card.
Top Seeds Ding Junhui and Ryan Day are in the hunt for glory – the latter having not yet conceded a frame – while the likes of Stuart Bingham, Joe Perry, Mark Davis and former world champions Peter Ebdon and Graeme Dott are also in contention.
Another ex-Crucible champ, two-time winner Mark Williams, would have perhaps felt confident of going far but was surprisingly whitewashed by England’s Mike Dunn in the second round earlier today.
Meanwhile, the draw is still littered with Chinese competitors hopeful of seeking success on home soil with Cao Yupeng in particular grabbing an eye-catching whitewash win over Ricky Walden.
The tournament runs for only two more days as the action comes thick and fast tomorrow, with the last four places behind decided before Friday’s finale.