Ken Doherty Reaches China Championship
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Ken Doherty Reaches China Championship

Ken Doherty was among the final winners in the China Championship preliminary round as a week-long run of qualifiers came to a conclusion at the Preston Guild Hall on Thursday.

Ken Doherty Reaches China Championship
Doherty could play world champion Mark Williams in the first round.

The 1997 world champion had a high break of 85 in overcoming Tian Pengfei 5-3, in what represented just the second victory of the season for the veteran Irishman.

While the general theme of the qualifying stages in the China Championship, and in both the European Masters and Indian Open round of 128 matches before that, had been one of dominance for the higher ranked players, there were actually some upsets of note as the early proceedings for the three ranking events wrapped up.

Ricky Walden, who has enjoyed a decent recovery of form over the last few months after a considerable spell in the doldrums, won the opening two frames but ultimately lost 5-2 to Chinese teenager Yuan Sijun.

In what was overall a positive outing for the crop of competitors from China, Xu Si pinched the last frame on the colours to deny former German Masters champion Martin Gould in a decider and Zhao Xintong continued his impressive start to the campaign with a 5-3 triumph over Matthew Stevens.

Zhao, who has been regularly talked about in the same regard as contemporaries Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong, surprisingly dropped off the Main Tour at the end of the last term but immediately bounced back via Q School in May and has looked a completely different animal on the table since then.

Indeed, the 21 year-old has a perfect record from the five qualifying matches he has played in so far this season, which will help him to launch an immediate surge back up the rankings list.

Speaking of Zhou, who beat Zhao to claim the 2013 IBSF World Championship at the amateur level, the 20 year-old suffered a surprise 5-1 drubbing at the hands of yet another promising young talent from the region in Luo Honghao.

Meanwhile, Ali Carter matched that scoreline with a routine, albeit scrappy, defeat of Andy Lee that will ease the Captain’s recent woes in the rankings, having recently dropped out of the elite top 16.

Elsewhere, Noppon Saengkham scored heavily with breaks of 102, 70, 55, and 51 to hammer Lu Ning 5-1 while Gerard Greene managed to go one better with a whitewash win against Robbie Williams.

Ashley Carty was the remaining cueist to advance to the main stages next month following a typically gruelling triumph over the dogged Rory McLeod.

The China Championship takes place from September 24th to 30th.

Click here to view the draw.



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the British Open – won by Mark Williams.

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

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy