English Open semi-final
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Ryan Day and Stephen Maguire Through First Test

The opening round of the World Championship qualifiers reached its conclusion on Saturday with the likes of Ryan Day and Stephen Maguire advancing at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Stephen Maguire
Maguire has played in every World Championship since 2004. Photo credit: World Snooker

Indeed, every match on a busy day of action was won by a higher ranked player, following the trend of the first round in general over the last few days.

Day, a two-time ranking event champion from this season, put the disappointment of narrowly missing out on an automatic berth at the Crucible behind him with a comprehensive 10-2 thrashing of Igor Figueiredo.

The Welshman fired in hat-trick of century breaks along with five further runs above 50 to thoroughly dismantle any challenge from the Brazilian, who gained an invite on the back of his WSF Seniors Championship triumph last month.

Maguire, a former World Championship semi-finalist, was initially tested more by Allan Taylor but eventually pulled away in the second session for a 10-5 victory.

For a while, it looked as though a few of the amateur competitors invited to make up the numbers would join Poland’s Adam Stefanow in the penultimate stage, but all of their challenges fell short.

European amateur champion Harvey Chandler led Oliver Lines 4-2 but couldn’t sustain his pace as the latter secured an important 10-6 win in his fight for tour survival.

Former ranking event runner-up Jamie Cope was in an even better position as he established an 8-6 advantage over Hossein Vafaei, helped by breaks of 141 and 119, only to lose the last four frames to the Iranian for a painful defeat.

And it was worse still for Northern Irishman Jordan Brown, who was cruelly denied by Hammad Miah on the final colours of a tense decider.

Meanwhile, 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon looked to be in pretty good form as he ousted fellow veteran James Wattana 10-4 while Alan McManus, who has been in danger of dropping outside the top 64 in the world rankings, hammered Rhys Clark 10-2.

A huge upset looked to be on the cards when China’s Niu Zhuang led Michael White 8-6 but the Paul Hunter Classic champion won four out of the last five frames to prevail in a final frame shoot out.

Elsewhere, England’s Jack Lisowski began his quest to return to the Crucible for the first time in five years with a confident 10-4 success against Christopher Keogan while there were straightforward triumphs too for countrymen Jimmy Robertson, Tom Ford, Liam Highfield, and John Astley.

Former Crucible contenders David Grace, Sam Baird, Robbie Williams, and Mitchell Mann also advanced while Welshman Daniel Wells recorded a 10-6 victory against Kurt Dunham.

Finally, there were a couple of wins for members of the large Chinese contingent with Zhou Yuelong and Yu Delu overcoming Ian Preece and Sean O’Sullivan respectively.

The second qualifying round gets under way on Sunday with Jimmy White in action against Joe Perry, and Ken Doherty, Liang Wenbo, and Yan Bingtao among some of the others involved.

Live coverage continues on the Eurosport Player.

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.

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy