The Championship League has been running since Monday as snooker becomes one of the first sports to return in the UK following the coronavirus lockdown.
Liang Wenbo comfortably booked his place in the next stage of the Championship League with a 100% record from Group 5 on Thursday.
The former English Open champion is one of only two Chinese competitors in the field, as most overseas players either chose not to enter or couldn’t because of the ongoing worldwide travel restrictions.
Liang won his opening round-robin match with a 3-1 victory over Joe O’Connor and subsequently didn’t drop a frame for the remainder of the fourth day at the Marshall Arena.
Consecutive 3-0 triumphs, first against Lee Walker followed by another whitewash against former world number one Mark Selby, helped him through.
Selby could have usurped Liang with a victory from their late-night clash, bu the three-time world champion could only muster 21 points.
The last 16 next week will also feature Gary Wilson after he similarly dominated Group 14 in Milton Keynes.
Last year’s World Championship semi-finalist also dropped just a single frame as he coasted through at the expense of Gerard Greene, Mitchell Mann, and John Astley.
Wilson will feature in the same group as Luca Brecel and Mark Joyce when he participates in phase two of the competition on Wednesday.
🗣️ “I definitely need practice!”
— Championship League (@CLSnooker) June 4, 2020
Once again, all eight players tested negative for the coronavirus before being able to participate.
Accommodation at the Marshall Arena means that players can adhere to the strict isolation measures that are being enforced for this tournament in order for it to run smoothly.
There will be two more groups on Friday with one of the pre-tournament favourites Ronnie O’Sullivan set to participate.
The winner of each group progresses to phase two where four further groups will produce the Tournament Finals group of four on June 11th.
A champion’s cheque worth £30,000 is on offer as the snooker players return to some form of normality, albeit under rather unique circumstances.
Live coverage of CLS is provided worldwide as the sport attempts to capitalise on what is currently a rather barren sporting calender.
ITV4 will provide blanket coverage in the UK and Ireland, Eurosport has earned the rights for the European continent, while new streaming service Matchroom.Live will bring the tournament to fans across Africa, the Americas, and parts of Asia.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)
Featured photo credit: CLSnooker