German Masters Qualifiers 2012: Friday News

Trailing Sam Craigie by four frames to nil and staring defeat in the face, few would have fancied Ireland’s Ken Doherty to book his place in Berlin today but the 1997 world champion was to prove that there is life in the old dog yet by coming back to win 5-4 and progress. Not so lucky however were old rivals Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White who both exited the tournament today…

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Ken Doherty has made more than a couple of improbably comebacks during his long professional career and today he proved that there is life in the old dog yet as he put it with a five-frame burst against Sam Craigie to win 4-0.

On the evidence of what I have seen of Sam so far the north-east youngster has a maturity beyond his years and having already seen off Jack Lisowski and David Grace this week he looked favourite to claim his biggest scalp yet with a win against Doherty this morning. It was not to be however and as Ken rolled back the years with a top break of 135, the Irishman eventually won the decider with a vital clearance from the final red to the pink.

Having lost out to Peter Lines at the recent UK Championship qualifiers in such disappointing fashion it was important for Ken to bounce back today and hopefully this result will boost his confidence heading into three important PTC events prior to the next seedings revision, at which point Ken is currently projected to slip outside of the world’s top 32.

Elsewhere there was disappointment for Stephen Hendry who after taking the opening frame against James Wattana was to struggle and eventually fall to a 5-1 defeat. A great result for Wattana, wildcard permitting he will now progress to a Berlin battle with another Scot in the shape of Graeme Dott, but for Hendry it marks the first time in over a decade that he will not be at the final stages of a ranking event.

There was defeat also for Jimmy White who narrowly lost out to 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon in a deciding frame. The match proved to be a tight one throughout as Peter would go into the lead before being pegged back by his ever-popular opponent, but in the end the player known to some as ‘The Force’ was able to see it through. Next up for him will be a match with Stuart Bingham at the venue.

Two players to have struggled for consistent results this season are Marco Fu and Jamie Cope and their fortunes were not to improve today as they fell to Adrian Gunnell and Yu Delu respectively. Having slipped down the rankings in recent seasons Gunnell has really found his form in the full-ranking events this season and has now qualified for the venue stages of two consecutive events for the first time since the Northern Ireland Trophy and UK Championship back in 2007. His reward will be a clash against Stephen Lee at the venue, subject to him first coming through against a wildcard as would appear likely.

Otherwise there were good wins for Andrew Higginson, Joe Perry and Ricky Walden who all survived potentially dangerous encounters while Liu Song came through a long affair with Fergal O’Brien to move into Berlin. Mike Dunn also capped off a terrific week with a 5-3 victory against Mark King to book a well-deserved place at the venue and ensure that he can really enjoy the fact that earlier this week he was able to complete the first maximum break of his professional career against Kurt Maflin.