While the news of Joe Jogia’s suspension has taken some of the attention away from this week’s Shanghai Masters qualifiers, the action continued at the EIS today with victories for a number of up and coming players, while legends Steve Davis and Jimmy White also progressed…
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If you had told Thai youngster Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon a week ago that he would be through to the final round of this week’s Shanghai Masters qualifiers having won ten frames from ten played, he probably wouldn’t have believed you, but having added wins against Dechawat Poomjaeng and now Mike Dunn to his round one bye against Hossein Vafaei, that is exactly what has happened.
Having reached the venue stages of the German Masters, as well as having become the youngster ever player to have made a competitive maximum break during his début season in 2010/11, there have been promising signs from Thanawat already during his career and he now faces Jamie Cope tomorrow for a place in Shanghai.
While Thanawat cruised into the final round, at the time of writing, six of today’s other winners required a ninth and deciding frame to come through and advance to tomorrow’s final round. Amongst them, Rod Lawler survived a brave fightback from Liang Wenbo, who from 4-2 down won the eighth frame by a single point with a clearance of 43 to force a decider. Lawler however responded in fine style, winning the decider in one visit to set up a clash with Fergal O’Brien tomorrow.
There was an even narrower escape for Ireland’s Ken Doherty, who having also surrendered a 4-2 lead, looked for a moment that he might fall victim to a clearance on the colours from Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. Fortunately for the 1997 world champion however, Un-Nooh missed the final pink to right-centre, which was soon doubled in by Ken to secure a 5-4 win and a match with Marcus Campbell in the last 48.
Earlier in the day, the improving Aditya Mehta continued his bid for a maiden venue with a narrow victory against Matt Selt, while Scotland’s Anthony McGill came through a decider with veteran Andy Hicks to reach the last 48 stage of his second consecutive ranking event. Robert Milkins also came through a decider against Liam Highfield, though despite his defeat Liam seemed happier with his performances this week judging by his comments on Twitter.
It was not all about the youngsters however, as Steve Davis and Jimmy White were both able to move into the last 48, 5-1 winners against Alfie Burden and Michael White respectively. Dave Harold too was able to gain a measure of revenge for his World Championship qualifying defeat to Cao Yupeng, defeating the Chinese prospect 5-3 to progress.
At the time of writing (midnight), Mark Joyce and Rory McLeod have just started their deciding frame of what has been a long match, which Rory has never headed. Could he steal it at the death?