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John Higgins and Kyren Wilson Beijing Bound

John Higgins won the last four frames to beat Adam Duffy 6-3 and qualify for the lucrative China Open in Barnsley on Tuesday.

Higgins won the Indian Open last summer. Photo credit: World Snooker

The Scot, who peculiarly has never won the long-running tournament in Beijing, looked in a snick of trouble when he trailed Duffy 3-2 but crucially pinched the sixth frame on the final colours before a 121 helped him towards the winning post.

English duo Kyren Wilson and Ali Carter also advanced to what will be the penultimate ranking event of the campaign, albeit in contrasting fashions.

Masters runner-up Wilson wasted little time in getting over his emotional defeat at the Alexandra Palace just over a week ago as he hammered Li Yuan with a convincing whitewash display.

Carter, on the other hand, was pushed by another Chinese opponent but eventually held off the challenge of Chen Zifan with a 6-4 success.

Both Wilson and Carter are among a group of around seven players in the top 16 of the provisional world rankings who will be looking over their shoulders between now and the end of the China Open – when the automatic qualification spots for the World Championship are determined.

Anthony McGill is another in that mix and the Glaswegian will be thanking his lucky stars after emerging from a twisty-turvy tie with Thor Chuan Leong in a decider.

Meanwhile, fellow Scot Stephen Maguire, who is one of the competitors in the chasing pack hoping to produce a strong run of form just at the right time, knocked in a 115 as he had too much for veteran James Wattana.

Irish former world champion Ken Doherty couldn’t maintain his resurgence from the second half of 2017, though, as he fell in a 6-4 reverse against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

Elsewhere, the improving Cao Yupeng wrapped up his 6-3 success against the hapless Kurt Dunham with a 121 century break, providing the China Open with its last home player to emerge from the preliminaries at the Metrodome.

The remainder of the fixtures were all determined by close outcomes as some of those further down the rankings desperately attempted to reach the £1 million event.

Kurt Maflin came from 5-3 down to deny Ashley Hugill in a decider while Sam Baird also required the allotted eleven frames to dispatch Iran’s Soheil Vahedi.

Mike Dunn defied a serious back injury to outlast Paul Davison in a scrappy affair 6-4 and Paul Davison repeated the scoreline against Dominic Dale.

The main event of the China Open takes place at the start of April.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)



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.