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Former champions qualify for Welsh Open

Five former champions have secured their places at the venue stages of the 2023 Welsh Open.

Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire, Ali Carter, Jordan Brown, and Ken Doherty will all participate in Llandudno next month when the event proper gets under way at the Venue Cymru.

Ding, who won the tournament in 2012 and reached the final again two years later, comfortably beat Ashley Hugill in his preliminary match at the Barnsley Metrodome on Friday morning.

Later on the last day of qualifying, 2009 winner Carter failed to contribute a single half-century contribution but still managed to overcome John Astley 4-2.

Fellow former Welsh Open champions Maguire and Brown had already booked their spots on Thursday with respective wins over Michael Judge and Steven Hallworth.

It’s a decade since Maguire triumphed in what is the third longest-running ranking event on the calendar, while Brown was a shock champion two years ago in Newport.

Back on Wednesday, meanwhile, veteran Irishman Doherty held off Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in a clash that went all the way to a deciding frame.

The 1997 world champion secured the first of his six career ranking titles with victory in the 1993 Welsh Open, and he added a second to his collection eight years later.

Among the others to have already reached the last 64 are Jimmy White, Ricky Walden, Matthew Stevens, and Graeme Dott.

The latter secured a 4-3 victory against Gary Wilson, who has disappointed since winning the Scottish Open crown in December.

White’s 4-0 defeat of Craig Steadman represented his ninth win of a resurgent campaign in which he’s threatening to renew his tour card through his performances on the table, rather than by just relying on an another invitational tour card.

Walden and Stevens ousted Liam Highfield and Fan Zhengyi respectively, while Anthony McGill advanced at the expense of Lukas Kleckers in a decider.

Elsewhere, Gibraltar Open champion Robert Milkins, Scottish Open finalist Joe O’Connor, and former world number 11 Martin Gould were a few of the other familiar names to make it through.

The likes of Zhou Yuelong, Jimmy Robertson, and Tom Ford were surprise losers and will not participate further in the tournament.

All of the top 16 seeds have had their matches held over to Llandudno, including that of defending champion Joe Perry.

L128 Results

Jimmy White 4-0 Craig Steadman
Daniel Wells 4-2 Dechawat Poomjaeng
Ken Doherty 4-3 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Joe O’Connor 4-1 Muhammad Asif
Yuan Sijun 4-1 Peter Lines
Ryan Thomerson 4-2 Andrew Pagett
Dean Young 4-3 Gerard Greene
Anthony McGill 4-3 Lukas Kleckers
Mark Joyce 4-0 Himanshu Jain
Chris Wakelin 4-1 Mark Davis
Rod Lawler 4-2 Jamie Jones
Mohamed Ibrahim 4-3 Jimmy Robertson
Aaron Hill 4-1 Tom Ford
Andy Lee 4-2 Jenson Kendrick
Hammad Miah 4-3 Zak Surety
Graeme Dott 4-3 Gary Wilson

Julien Leclercq 4-0 Duane Jones
Jak Jones 4-0 Rebecca Kenna
Jordan Brown 4-1 Steven Hallworth
Pang Junxu 4-3 Xu Si
Louis Heathcote 4-1 James Cahill
Sam Craigie 4-1 Mink Nutcharut
Matthew Selt 4-2 Adam Duffy
David Lilley 4-3 Jamie Clarke
Peng Yison 4-1 Reanne Evans
Stephen Maguire 4-1 Michael Judge
Ricky Walden 4-1 Liam Highfield
Robert Milkins 4-2 Oliver Brown
Elliot Slessor 4-0 Dylan Emery
Ben Woollaston 4-0 Allan Tayor
Matthew Stevens 4-1 Fan Zhengyi
Sanderson Lam 4-2 Anthony Hamilton

Ding Junhui 4-0 Ashley Hugill
Cao Yupeng 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Si Jiahui 4-0 Xiao Guodong
Dominic Dale 4-1 Farakh Ajaib
Wu Yize 4-0 Zhou Yuelong
Mitchell Mann 4-1 Lei Peifan
Andy Hicks 4-2 Ng On Yee
Ian Martin 4-3 Andres Petrov
Martin Gould 4-2 Fergal O’Brien
Ben Mertens 4-0 Barry Pinches
Ali Carter 4-2 John Astley
Ross Muir 4-1 Anton Kazakov

Featured photo credit: WST

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