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Liang Wenbo in Whitewash Win

Liang Wenbo moved a step closer to returning to the Crucible for the upcoming World Championship after a 10-0 defeat of Basem Eltahhan in the qualifiers on Thursday.

Liang
Liang constructed a hat-trick of tons in an easy romp. Photo credit: World Snooker

It represented a stark contrast from the last time the Chinese competitor was competing in the World qualifiers at the English Institute of Sport.

In the final round twelve months ago, Liang was humiliated 10-0 by Jamie Jones in a surprisingly one-sided affair.

But the former English Open champion turned the table in his favour on this occasion, utilising his greater experience against the struggling Egyptian.



Liang, who has endured a disappointing campaign to date and has fallen outside the world’s top 32 in the rankings, has reached the venue stages in Sheffield six times.

The 32 year-old will face David Grace in the penultimate round after the amateur held off Rory McLeod in a gruelling battle 10-8.

Grace will be returning to the Main Tour next season as a professional again after graduating from the Challenge Tour this year.

But the 33 year-old, a former UK Championship semi-finalist, could still become the first amateur to qualify for the World Championship.

Grace wasn’t the only invited top-up to upset the order on the second day of action.

James Cahill, who compiled four centuries en route to an 8-2 lead before proceeding to lose seven frames in a row, edged the last couple of frames in a thrilling 10-9 beating of Andrew Higginson.

Meanwhile, several former ranking event winners enjoyed early successes that provide them with a foothold in the competition.

Ricky Walden and Anthony McGill recorded hard-fought triumphs over Alfie Burden and Ashley Hugill respectively.

Martin Gould enjoyed a much easier time of it as he thumped Mostafa Dorgham in the day’s other whitewash scoreline.

Recent Indian Open winner Matthew Selt beat rising Welsh star Dylan Emery 10-3 but the latter’s countryman Dominic Dale had contrasting fortunes after overcoming Chris Totten.

Dale’s success could be vital in the tour survival race as he moves into the top 64 in the provisional world rankings.

Anthony Hamilton, a four-time World Championship quarter-finalist, edged James Wattana in a marathon affair that lasted the distance.

Among the others to advance were Thai duo Akani Songsermsawad and Noppon Saengkham, who compiled a rare 146 total clearance in hammering Adam Stefanow.

Chinese pair Zhou Yuelong and Zhao Xintong progressed to the second stage alongside Hossein Vafaei of Iran.

Elsewhere, Gerard Greene avoided a potential banana skin as he fought back from behind to deny European under-18 champion Aaron Hill 10-7.

Gary Wilson, Robert Milkins, Liam Highfield, Eden Sharav, and Daniel Wells managed to make it through as well.

On Friday, the first qualifying round continues with the likes of Jimmy White and Reanne Evans entering the fray.

Live coverage is 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
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