Chinese in the World Championship
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Record Number of Chinese in the World Championship

There will be six Chinese in the World Championship for the first time this year after the qualifiers ended on Wednesday in Sheffield.

Chinese in the World Championship
Tian also beat world number 17 Ryan Day in the qualifiers. Photo credit: World Snooker

Ding Junhui, as a member of the elite top 16, had already assured his place at the Crucible Theatre.

There were nine hopefuls who made it through their opening two tests at the English Institute of Sport, duly getting themselves into position to join China’s number one in Thursday’s draw.

When fancied trio Liang Wenbo, Yan Bingtao, and Lyu Haotian bowed out early on Judgement Day, it appeared as though it was going to transpire to be a disappointing return.



However, Zhou Yuelong got the ball rolling with his 10-6 defeat of Eden Sharav and there was more joy to come later on.

Zhao Xintong, arguably the most improved player of the entire season, booked his spot at the Crucible with a 10-4 defeat of Indian Open champion Matthew Selt.

Luo Honghao, Tian Pengfei, and Li Hang all joined their compatriot after recording respective 10-8 victories over Tom Ford, Matthew Stevens, and Ben Woollaston.

All four will be making their debut appearances and the tally of six Chinese in the World Championship surpasses last year’s previous record of five.

Lu Ning had an opportunity late on Wednesday to increase that figure but, despite a remarkable fight back from 9-4 down, lost a dramatic and somewhat controversial decider to Scott Donaldson.

In need of a snooker in the last frame, Lu blocked Donaldson’s path to the last red.

The Scot came off the side cushion to hit the object ball but also appeared to knock the adjacent blue at almost the exact same time.

The referee had a difficult decision to make but judged that no foul was made and Donaldson proceeded to win the frame and match to reach the World Championship for the first time in his career.

Among the other names to progress were the experienced trio of 2006 world champion Graeme Dott, former runner-up Ali Carter, and 2008 semi-finalist Joe Perry.

In all, there will be seven debutants in the 2009 field, the most for two decades.

Earlier on Judgement Day, James Cahill created history by becoming the first amateur competitor to seal a World Championship place.

And while Lu’s comeback fell one frame short, Anthony McGill managed to reverse a 7-2 deficit to miraculously prevail against Robert Milkins by a 10-8 margin.

The eagerly anticipated first round draw will take place on Thursday morning at 11am local time, with the World Championship itself commencing on Saturday.



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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