The Welshman reached the last 16 in last year’s event.
Welshman Jamie Clarke produced a remarkable comeback from 5-0 down to beat Jamie O’Neill 6-5 in the second round of World Championship qualifying on Thursday.
The 26 year-old’s tournament looked set to be over before it barely began as O’Neill took him to within the brink of an early exit.
Both players had opportunities in each of the first five frames only for the Englishman to snatch them all, including the fourth and fifth frames on the final black.
A break of 59 helped Clarke to avoid the whitewash, and after winning two close frames he was able to force a decider with runs of 98 and 82.
By this point, O’Neill was clearly rattled and although the 34 year-old got in first in the final frame it was Clarke who had the greater composure to complete the unlikely turnaround.
In August last year, Clarke fought from the second round of qualifying to reach the last 16 at the Crucible Theatre, beating Mark Allen in the first round of the venue stages.
For O’Neill, the collapse could turn out to be disastrous in his fight for tour survival with the former European under-19 champion currently third on the provisional list of eight players who will gain a fresh card from the one-year rankings.
With still a lot of snooker to be played in the next week or so, O’Neill will be left sweating to see if he did enough earlier in the campaign to secure a spot on the Main Tour for next season.
Elsewhere at the English Institute of Sport, Jimmy Robertson edged Zhao Jianbo 6-5 in an outcome that could have enormous ramifications on his future status as a professional.
The former European Masters champion was in a danger of dropping outside the world’s top 64 in the rankings but this victory consolidates his position.
Jamie Jones, Andrew Higginson, Joe O’Connor, Rod Lawler, Tian Pengfei, and Lyu Haotian were among the others to make it through in Sheffield.
For Lyu, the Chinese competitor advances straight to Judgement Day as his third-round opponent Noppon Saengkham has been forced to pull out of the tournament following a positive COVID-19 test.
Live coverage of the World Championship qualifiers is available on the Eurosport App and Matchroom.Live.
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Featured photo credit: WST