Mark Williams and Jimmy White Beijing Bound

Three-time champion Mark Williams came from behind to beat Zhao Xintong 5-3 and qualify for the China Open on Wednesday.

Mark Williams Masters
Williams last won the China Open in 2010. Photo credit: Monique Limbos

The Welshman won the opening frame with a run of 75 but looked to be in trouble when teenager Zhao reeled off the following three frames.

It looked like it could get worse for Williams in the fifth frame only for a 72 clearance to stop the rot, before the 41 year-old gained control in a succession of scrappier exchanges to ensure his flight to Beijing.

John Higgins enjoyed a much more comfortable passage as he routed Darryl Hill 5-0, the same scoreline that Mark Davis and Yu Delu managed to inflict on Yan Bingtao and Hammad Miah respectively.

By contrast, several encounters on day two in Preston went the distance with Jimmy White among the group of 5-4 winners.

The 54 year-old didn’t boast a single break above 50 and was never in front until the conclusion of the decider against Sam Baird, which he won to guarantee a potentially valuable £4,000.

White looks set to finish outside the top 64 in the world rankings, the cut-off point in which tour safety is guaranteed.

But that money keeps the ‘Whirlwind’ well inside the top eight of a separate list of the highest money-earners from this season who will be provided a fresh two-year card if they finish outside the top 64.

Michael Holt similarly left it until late in the day to pip Liam Highfield on the final colours while Thai duo Kritsanut Lersattayatthorn and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh were denied by Michael White and Martin O’Donnell respectively.

Former champion Graeme Dott recorded a 5-3 victory over Jak Jones but one of the upsets of the day involved two-time winner Peter Ebdon, who was downed 5-2 by talented young Scot Rhys Clark.

2015 runner-up Gary Wilson eased back to his familiar stomping ground with a 5-2 success, while Stuart Carrington, Rory McLeod, Ian Burns, and China’s Zhang Anda advanced as well.

On Thursday, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Bingham, and Marco Fu are among those in action.

Click here to view the draw.

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