Today sees the final qualifying round for the 2012 China Open come to a conclusion and already we have seen victories for the likes of Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White, while Barry Hawkins maintained his recent strong form with a whitewash…
Having failed to qualify for the season’s opening three full-ranking events, Barry Hawkins has since made it to four venues from four, the latest being the China Open as he recorded a 5-0 victory against Liu Chuang today. With his victories in the Snooker Shoot Out and Group 5 of the Championship League also behind him in 2012, Barry looks to be playing with as much confidence as he has for a few seasons and could be a dark horse at a venue where he has previously reached the semi-finals.
Another man enjoying a strong run in the qualifiers at the moment is Stephen Hendry who having slipped out of the top 16 at the season’s first seedings revision, has now won four of his following five qualifying matches to date. His latest win today came against China’s Yu Delu who having impressed during the earlier rounds, was able to take just one frame against the seven world champion. Next up for Hendry will be a match with Martin Gould in a repeat of their Australian Goldfields Open encounter earlier in the season.
Joining Hendry in Beijing will be old rival Jimmy White who followed up his victory over Liam Highfield yesterday with a 5-3 success against Andrew Higginson today. Consolidating his position inside the top 48, wildcard permitting, Jimmy will now begin with a clash against defending champion Judd Trump in China.
Elsewhere, PTC3 winner Ben Woollaston was able to qualify for the last 32 of a full-ranking event for the first time since the 2007 Welsh Open, with a 5-4 win against Welshman Ryan Day, who following defeat slips out of the top 32 provisionally. If he can make it through a wildcard match, Ben will meet home favourite Ding Junhui at the venue.
Following his midnight success against Rod Lawler last night, it was always going to be a tough ask for Steve Davis today as he lost out 5-1 to Rory McLeod in the morning session which started just ten hours following his previous match. Nevertheless, it was an important win for Rory who had not previously won a match in 2012 and has slipped outside of the world’s top 32 as a result.
Another SightRight player through to the last 32 was the ever-improving Tom Ford, though not without a real scare against Leeds’ David Grace who led 4-2 before losing out in a decider. Tom now goes on to a match with Stephen Lee at the venue, while for David the result still marks his best qualifying campaign at a full-ranking event. Similarly, Sam Craigie’s impressive run was ended today by former Shanghai Masters champion Ricky Walden who will now meet Mark Allen at the venue in a repeat of their UK Championship semi-final earlier this season.
Also through today were Mark King and Joe Perry who secured important wins, while Michael Holt edged out Mark Davis in a tight final match from the afternoon session to boost his chances of a return to the top 32.