Ronnie O’Sullivan scored his second successive whitewash win in qualifying after a 5-0 schooling of Christopher Keogan on Friday.
The 41 year-old made it a Chinese double, reaching the main event of the Shanghai Masters after last week inflicting a heavy 6-0 defeat on Gerard Greene to similarly make the last 64 of the International Championship.
O’Sullivan didn’t manage any tons in his rout of Keogan but did construct four half centuries in a comfortable victory.
The “Rocket” hasn’t triumphed in a ranking event since early in 2016, but will still travel to China next month as one of the favourites with most snooker betting sites.
The qualifiers in Wigan came to a conclusion with the biggest shock of the week, though, as Neil Robertson suffered a surprising loss to rookie Chris Totten.
Scotland’s Totten, the European amateur champion, had failed to win any of his previous matches as a professional but stunned the Australian with a 5-2 scoreline.
Robertson, who has struggled to rediscover his form for much of the last year and a half, is in a precarious position in the world rankings, currently lying outside the top 16 in the Race to the Masters standings.
The 2012 Masters champion is still in the top eight of the official world rankings that runs over a rolling two-year period, but will soon have the huge sum for his glory in the 2015 UK Championship deducted from his tally.
For Totten, it obviously represents one of the biggest moments of his career so far and the 18 year-old will hope it acts as a springboard for sustained success on the Main Tour.
Anthony McGill was another high-profile name to crash out, with the Indian Open runner-up succumbing to a 5-1 defeat to Lee Walker.
Welshman Walker is becoming somewhat of a giant killer this season after previously emerging victorious against world number one Mark Selby in the World Open.
The remaining top players in action all progressed with relative ease.
Judd Trump, who defended his European Masters crown last week, pulled away from a potentially tricky tie against Joe Swail after the interval to win 5-2, while Mark Williams enjoyed the same margin of victory over Niu Zhuang.
Former world champion Stuart Bingham went one better with a 5-1 success against German Lukas Kleckers.
There were tighter affairs for English duo Joe Perry and David Gilbert, but each managed to prevail in close encounters against Liam Highfield and Alex Borg respectively.
Perry compiled a 142 century break in the first frame of his 5-3 win against Highfield, which was the highest break of the week at Robin Park.
Elsewhere, Alan McManus won the last two frames to deny Hammad Miah on the final black in a scrappy but dramatic affair.
By contrast, Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien showed plenty of form as he reeled off runs of 82, 74, 52, and 101 in ousting Duane Jones 5-1.
Among the other competitors to advance were Chinese pair Zhou Yuelong and Cao Yupeng, both semi-finalists in Belgium last week, and English veteran Mark Davis.
The Shanghai Masters takes places from November 13-18 at the Shanghai Indoor Stadium, with £150,000 on offer for the champion.
Categories: Snooker News