Wuxi Classic 2013: Qualifying Wrap

Three days down in Gloucester and snooker’s first foray into the land of flat 128 draws at a full-ranking event is over, with the conclusion of the first round of the Wuxi Classic today.

The action does continue tomorrow as the Australian Goldfields Open qualifiers get underway (see draw here), a tournament that will be staged under a modified version of the old system, but in the meantime click below for a round-up of the results from the Wuxi qualifiers…

  • Click here to view all of the results from the Wuxi Classic qualifiers
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings

With the world’s top 16 players forced to qualify from round one, all eyes were on whether there would be any ‘shocks’ at the South West Snooker Academy this week and with the exits of world number one Mark Selby and former world champion Shaun Murphy, there were certainly a few of those.

Indeed, there were 15 victories for the lower seeded players, while two amateurs were able to progress, including Reanne Evans, who recorded a brilliant 5-4 win against Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh to reach her first venue.

As mentioned however, Mark Selby will not be among them, after he lost out 5-3 to Welshman Andrew Pagett on Monday afternoon. Take nothing away from Pagett, who sealed qualification in the eighth frame with a clearance on the colours, but having been involved in as many tournaments as Selby has over the past couple of seasons, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise for him to have one less overseas event on his schedule.

Like Selby, another player who rarely misses an event by choice is Shaun Murphy, but the 2010 Wuxi winner will not be involved at the venue this year, following a 5-1 defeat to returning pro Alex Davies today.

Also missing out from the top 32 will be Michael Holt, Tom Ford and Marcus Campbell, while Mark Joyce, Anthony McGill and Matt Selt were other seeded players to lose out.

While much of the attention in the press has centred around Reanne Evans’ landmark win however, for me perhaps the most impressive win from the event was that of Chinese prodigy Lu Haotian, who recorded a 5-2 victory against the experienced Rod Lawler today. With wins against the likes of Michael White, Marco Fu and Dominic Dale already on his CV, Lu would appear to be a player of huge potential and still only 15 years of age, is one to keep a close eye on over the coming months.

Other notable winners from further down the rankings include John Astley and Vinnie Calabrese, the latter joining fellow Australian Neil Robertson at the venue, while there was also a good win for Gary Wilson against the experienced James Wattana.

There was nearly an early exit for defending champion Ricky Walden, who eventually came through against the dangerous Pankaj Advani in a deciding frame, while Wuxi man Ding Junhui, without whom this tournament would not exist, also came through in a decider against a player from India, Aditya Mehta.

The venue stages of the event will take place between 17-23 June 2013 in Wuxi, China.