China Open Qualifiers 2012: Day One Wrap

Day one from Sheffield as the 2012 China Open qualifiers got underway and it was a good day for the Chinese players as all three of their competing players advanced to the last 80…

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In a night that saw three whitewashes, China’s Tian Pengfei completed the first with a 5-0 victory against Sam Baird who after losing out to Mark Selby in agonising circumstances last week at the Welsh Open, could not reproduce his Newport form in Sheffield.

With a top break of 95, which would have been more but for an in-off on the blue, Tian won to keep his faint hopes of moving up into the top 64 by the end of the season alive and set up a tie with Leicester’s Ben Woollaston tomorrow.

Soon to join him in tomorrow’s second round was Yu Delu, who inflicted the tenth whitewash of what has been a tough debut season for Polish youngster Kacper Filipiak, highlighted by a top run of 129 prior to the mid-session interval. Consolidating his position inside the top 64 of the provisional seedings, it is fair to say that at this stage of the season Yu has been the most impressive newcomer on the main tour so far this season and will next play Mark Joyce for a place in the third round.

The third Chinese talent to progress this evening was Cao Yupeng, though he had it far harder than those already mentioned before coming through against Kurt Maflin in a tight decider. Locked at 49-49 on the yellow in the decider, the match could have gone either way but eventually it was Cao who emerged successful to book a date with Tony Drago tomorrow, an important match for the Malta man as he looks to gain precious ranking points to aid his bid to stay on the main tour for next season.

Elsewhere today, there were impressive wins for Adam Duffy and David Grace as the Yorkshire duo came comfortably against Lucky Vatnani and Daniel Wells respectively. Now up to 66th on the latest projected list, there is every chance that if he can maintain his recent form, Adam could crack the top 64 by the end of the season, while for David his fate is currently out of his own hands.

One man who look destined to slip off the tour this season is Belgian prodigy Luca Brecel, but it has not been a season without highlights for the youngster and he produced another today by winning the last two frames of his match with Andrew Pagett with breaks of 81 and 115 in the decider.

Another deciding frame victory was to go the way of India’s Aditya Mehta who prevailed against Thailand’s Passakorn Suwannawat to book a second round match with Scotland’s Anthony McGill tomorrow. While he might be ranked as low as 87th, a quick look at Aditya’s draws during the PTC events this season shows that perhaps to a degree he is in a false position as he has come up against a number of relatively high-ranked players. Indeed his defeats this season in the PTC events came to Gerard Greene, Barry Hawkins, Joe Jogia, Neil Robertson, Cao Yupeng, Ronnie O’Sullivan (twice), Martin Gould, Michael Holt, Liang Wenbo and Michael White.

Anyway, tomorrow sees an extra session as into the second round there will be a full schedule of 16 matches, the first six to come from 10am GMT…