Shanghai Masters Qualifiers 2010: Final Round News

Final qualifying round time at the Academy for the 2010 Shanghai Masters qualifiers and it has so far been a good day for the seeds as all bar two have managed to come through, although not without a fight as 1997 world champion Ken Doherty will testify…

When Irish duo Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien met last year at this stage of the 2009 Shanghai Masters it was Ken who managed to come through following a gruelling nine frame clash at Pontin’s Prestatyn. This year the venue might have changed but the result was exactly the same, Ken again winning a dramatic deciding frame by just ten points to book his place at the venue.

It was a tight match throughout as the pair were never separated by more than one frame and both managed to compile big breaks, 92 and 86 for Fergal and 78 and 71 for Doherty as the scoreline moved on to 4-4. The final frame however was to prove a far scrappier affair but it was the former world champion who managed to win and in doing so book his flight to Shanghai. Following his much-improved 2009/10 campaign, Ken will be pleased to have also started this season well and keep his bid to regain a place inside the top 16 alive. He faces a tough challenge at the venue stage however if he is to go any further as he is set to play Graeme Dott, the man who has already defeated him twice this year in ranking events.

Another former world champion to advance to the group stage is Peter Ebdon who despite his protestations that he would be able to play to the best of his ability during this match has come through with ease against Welsh youngster Michael White by a 5-1 scoreline. Despite Ebdon’s lack of practice recently it was always likely to be an uphill battle for Michael against an opponent so experienced but having reached this stage he has at least guaranteed a strong haul of ranking points. Peter meanwhile will head to China and a clash with world champion Neil Robertson, who of course Ebdon has already defeated in China this year at the China Open.

It was not such a good day for the other player to fall out of the top 16 at the end of last season however as Joe Perry slipped to a 5-1 defeat against the in-form Robert Milkins. Whether playing at the Academy proved to be something of a culture shock for Joe I am not sure, I would doubt it given that he has played a number of pro-am events at Pontin’s before, but it was not his day and Robert now moves on to a clash with Ding Junhui on his home turf.

Other landslide victories saw both Steve Davis and Mike Dunn come through against Rod Lawler and Andy Hicks respectively without the loss of a frame, while Jamie Burnett defeated Michael Holt 5-1 to set up a tie with Ronnie O’Sullivan in Shanghai. Judd Trump also managed to win by that scoreline against the man who defeated him so easily at the World Championship qualifiers, Tom Ford.

Both Mark Davis and Andrew Higginson however will be hugely relieved to have come through deciding frames against round one qualifiers Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon and Alfie Burden respectively. Awaiting Mark in Shanghai is Marco Fu while Andrew Higginson will be fancying his chances against the out of form Ryan Day, although the Welshman does have a strong record over in China.

For the results in full from today, please visit Global Snooker.