Chris Wakelin trailed Michael Holt three times in the qualifying round of the BetVictor English Open, but eventually won 4-3 thanks to a century break in the deciding frame.
Wakelin was 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 down but each time fought back to square the tie, then his superb 106 in the last frame booked his place in the final stages in Milton Keynes, which will run from November 1-7.
Ricky Walden made a 126, the highest break of the tournament so far, in a 4-0 thrashing of Michael Judge. Liang Wenbo, who won this title in 2016, won’t be at the televised phase this time as he lost 4-2 to Rory McLeod.
Former World Champion Graeme Dott beat Farak Ajaib 4-2 with a top break of 86, while Mark Davis top scored with 95 in a 4-1 defeat of Lukas Kleckers. Cypriot Michael Georgiou scored an impressive 4-1 win over Elliot Slessor.
It was a good win for Chris Wakelin indeed. Chris has really struggled over the last years but now seems to be in a good place. I’m also pleased to see Ricky Walden playing well again after being plagued by back and neck pain for years.
Liang Wenbo, on the other hand, seems to have lost his way completely.
The match between Dotty and Farakh Ajaib was an entertaining affair. It was attacking snooker from start to finish and played at a good pace too. Really, this match is one to watch by all those who are stuck with the “Graeme Dott is slow and boring” line. They probably never watched Graeme except, maybe, in the last session of the 2006 World Final, a tense session played by two exhausted men until ungodly hours.Also, Ajaib showed huge ability but if wants to make the most of it, he will need to learn that – sometimes – a safety is the best option.
Michael Georgiou played well. This is actually the best I’ve seen him play for a long time. Maybe not having the pressure of the ranking system is helping him to produce his best.