This morning saw the new season get underway with the start of the 2012 Wuxi Classic qualifiers from the Academy in Sheffield. It was to be a mixed day for India as Aditya Mehta progressed, but Pankaj Advani fell to Chinese youngster Chen Zhe, while veterans Rod Lawler and Adrian Gunnell were among the other winners…
- Click here to view the updated drawsheet
- Click here to view the projected seedings (to be updated at the conclusion of play tonight)
- Click here to view the latest results at snooker.org
First man through to the second round this morning (aside from Fraser Patrick that is, who received a bye against Iran’s Hossein Vafaei Ayouri), was Maltese veteran Tony Drago, a 5-1 winner against Sean O’Sullivan. Having made a fast start with breaks of 89 and 72, Drago added the next to lead 3-0, before his young opponent took the fourth to gain a foothold in the match.
Perhaps the decisive frame however would be the fifth, as after a long battle on the colours, O’Sullivan having potted the final pink to level the frame scores, then misjudged his safety on the black, leaving it for a grateful Drago to cut-back to secure a 4-1 lead. From there the writing looked to be on the wall and Tony duly wrapped up the match in the next frame to move on to a clash with Sheffield’s Adam Duffy tomorrow.
Joining Tony in the next round on the other streamed table was Belgium’s Luca Brecel, who also won 5-1 against Welsh Q School qualifier Daniel Wells. It is a shame that having performed heroics to reach the Crucible at the end of last season, Luca is to some extent unrewarded for his run, in terms of ranking points at least as he starts on zero, however if he can maintain that form then I’m sure he will continue to be a threat at tournaments this season, albeit beginning in the opening round.
Coming through a closer contest this morning was Chen Zhe, who recovered from 2-0 down against Pankaj Advani to lead 4-2, before his opponent took the next two frames to force a decider. Though Pankaj could not progress, his compatriot Aditya Mehta was able to come through the morning’s longest match, a 5-3 winner against the methodical Sam Baird.
In the afternoon session there were victories for experienced duo Rod Lawler and Adrian Gunnell, against Zhang Anda and Ben Judge respectively, Gunnell of course competing as an amateur, though a vastly experienced one at that.
Of the other débutantes involved, Ian Burns was to go down to Thai youngster Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon, while Martin O’Donnell came through a 5-2 winner against David Grace, despite a break of 131 from David in the sixth frame.
The view the updated drawsheet for the tournament, please click here.