World Championship qualifiers

Round-up of Shanghai Qualifiers

The second qualifying round was completed on Friday at the Shanghai Masters qualifiers in Barnsley.

In a topsy-turvy career, can Stevens rejoin the elite once again? - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
In a topsy-turvy career, can Stevens rejoin the elite once again? – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

48 players remain in the hunt to seal the 16 coveted trips to China next month.

It was a good day for the home contingent as well, with four Chinese competitors making it through to the penultimate stage of qualifying.

Lu Ning was pushed all the way but eventually saw off Kurt Maflin’s challenge in a decider while Li Hang avoided a similarly dramatic ending by ousting amateur Alex Taubman with a frame to spare.

It was much easier for Tian Pengfei and Cao Yupeng, though, with both winning by 5-1 margins and the latter compiling a lovely break of 140 en route to his success over former world no.3 James Wattana.

Elsewhere, there were 5-0 wins for both Matthew Stevens and Kyren Wilson – two players at the opposite ends of their careers but with a lot to prove this season.

Wilson’s 2014/15 campaign perhaps didn’t live up to expectation after the 23 year-old’s run to the World Championship last 32 in April of last year led many to predict the youngster’s development would continue speedily.

Stevens, meanwhile, has dropped outside the world’s top 32 and will be desperate to prove that his best days aren’t fully behind him.

Belgium’s Luca Brecel also advanced and he too is a player who will be looking to feature at the business end of tournaments more often during this season.

The 20 year-old has served his apprenticeship on the circuit now and as time passes the pressure to succeed will become more demanding – both from him personally and from those critics looking from the outside in.

Other than Dominic Dale’s hard-fought 5-4 victory over fellow Welsh veteran Lee Walker, the rest of the ties on the third day at the Metrodome were pretty one-sided.

David Gilbert and Jamie Burnett enjoyed whitewash wins over Zhang Yong and Eden Sharav respectively, while David Grace ousted Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-2.

Mark King, Gareth Allen and Rod Lawler all advanced with 5-1 scorelines.

On Saturday there are three Irishmen – Ken Doherty, David Morris and Leo Fernandez – hoping to making the final qualifying round, where Fergal O’Brien will be waiting to join in on the action.

It marks the first time since the 2010 Shanghai Masters qualifiers that four Irishmen feature in the last 64 of a ranking event.

Read into that what you please.

Click here for the full draw. 

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