Jones whitewashes Wenbo to reach Crucible
Jamie Jones has produced an incredible 10-0 demolition of 2016 English Open champion Liang Wenbo to storm to a Crucible place at Betfred World Championship Qualifying in Sheffield.
In the previous round the Welshman held another substantial advantage at 9-1 against Yu Delu. However, he almost let that lead slip when Yu pulled within just two frames, before Jones edged through 10-7. On this occasion Jones showed no signs of nerves at the finish line as he relentlessly surged to victory.
The dramatic gulf between the players came as a big shock, with Liang arguably playing the best snooker of the event in the lead up to Judgement Day. The Firecracker made a 147 in his opening match against Rod Lawler and amazingly missed the final black for a second maximum in the last frame.
Following today’s win Jones was full of confidence and ambitiously admitted that he was hoping to get five-time Crucible king Ronnie O’Sullivan in tomorrow morning’s draw.
“I wouldn’t mind playing Ronnie. It is a bit of a strange one, but I have never faced him. I’m playing well,” said Jones. “I don’t think I have ever played better than I did in the first session. I just put him under so much pressure and I knew at 9-0 up that I could just fall over the line really.”
Jack Lisowski put on a superb display to clinch his place at snooker’s biggest event, thrashing 1994 Masters champion Alan McManus 10-3.
The 26-year-old is enjoying a fine season, having gained a new level of consistency. He reached his maiden ranking event semi-final at the Shanghai Masters and has also embarked on runs to the last eight stage at the English Open and the China Open.
His first and only appearance at the Crucible to date came in 2013, when he suffered a disappointing 10-3 defeat against Barry Hawkins. Lisowski is hoping that experience will stand him in good stead when he steps out amid the unique atmosphere of the Theatre of Dreams for the second time.
Lisowski said: “It was a good experience the first time out. Playing at the Crucible is something that you have to go through to get used to. This time I know what to expect, but until you have won a match there you can never really be that confident.
“My all-round game has come on a lot. I’m not as patchy as I was and I am a lot more consistent. Hopefully this time round I can handle it better.”
Ryan Day will finish off the best season of his career so far by competing on the sport’s grandest stage after defeating 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon 10-6.
The world number 17 was pipped to the final automatic qualifying spot by Mark Allen, despite winning three events this season – including his maiden ranking title at the season opening Riga Masters. However, he has now come through and will perform at the Crucible for a 13thtime.
“It has without doubt been my best season in every aspect. I have been playing with a lot of confidence,” said the 38-year-old. “I’m just relieved to have got through this week of qualifying as if I hadn’t it would have been a bit of a sad way to end with the season I have had.”
Stephen Maguire negotiated a tough battle with Iran’s Hossein Vafaei, emerging a 10-7 winner. The Scot will now appear in the final stages of the World Championship for the 15thconsecutive year.
Lyu Haotian secured his place at the Crucible for the first time, thrashing Rory McLeod 10-2 to qualify. Xiao Guodong proved to be too strong for Sheffield’s Adam Duffy, easing to a 10-1 victory.
Liam Highfield ensured there will be four Crucible debutants this year, after securing a 10-4 defeat of Welshman Daniel Wells. While Jimmy Robertson will be looking to win his first match in the final stages. Robertson will make his fourth appearance after qualifying thanks to a 10-7 win over Welshman Michael White.
The draw for the final stages of the Betfred World Championship will be live tomorrow morning at 10am on World Snooker's Facebook page and YouTube channel.