Yesterday saw the conclusion of the 2021 English Open qualifiers.
These are the reports by WST on the last two days:
Day Denied By Battling Lu
Lu Ning came from 2-0 down to beat Ryan Day 4-3 and reach the final stages of the BetVictor English Open.
Day won the BetVictor Shoot Out in Milton Keynes last season, but he won’t be at the same venue when the BetVictor English Open world ranking event runs from November 1-7.
China’s Lu, a semi-finalist at the UK Championship last season, won three frames in a row with top breaks of 70 and 61 to go 3-2 ahead. Day took frame six and had first chance in the decider, but made only 28, and Lu took it with runs of 57 and 14.
Hossein Vafaei scored a 4-1 victory over Kurt Maflin while Martin Gould eased to a 4-0 success over Andrew Higginson.
Oliver Lines maintained his fine start to the season as he beat Zhang Anda 4-0 with top runs of 66, 59 and 71. Tian Pengfei top scored with 60 in a 4-0 defeat of Barry Pinches while Joe O’Connor saw off Pang Junxu 4-1 with a high break of 81.
Lu Ning will always battle hard up to the last ball. He proved it again in this match.
Kurt Maflin looked very rusty out there.
Stephen Hendry won his opening match in a ranking event for the third consecutive occasion as he beat Michael White 4-1 to qualify for the final stages of the BetVictor English Open.
Hendry will face Chris Wakelin in the last 64 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes in November.
Seven-time World Champion Hendry made his comeback earlier this year and has since scored wins over Jimmy White at the World Championship, Wakelin at the British Open and now two-time ranking event winner Michael White.
After taking a scrappy opening frame on the colours, 52-year-old Hendry compiled an excellent run of 60 to go 2-0 ahead. White pulled one back with a break of 95, but Hendry made a 46 in taking frame four and then got the better of a scrappy fifth to secure the result.
Fellow veteran Jimmy White was no match for Zhao Xintong as the Chinese ace ran out a 4-1 winner with breaks of 61, 73, 57, 74 and 57. Ken Doherty also misses out on the final stages as he lost 4-1 to Sunny Akani.
Iulian’s Boiko saw his 16th birthday celebrations dampened by a 4-0 defeat against Fergal O’Brien. England’s 17-year-old Jamie Wilson scored one of the best results of his pro career so far, beating Robert Milkins 4-0 with a top break of 62.
Stephen Hendry improved as the match went on. He looked vulnerable in the early frames, but Michael White couldn’t take advantage. What happened to Micheal White is hard to understand and very sad. One thing I noticed about Hendry though is that whilst playing thin on the right side of a ball (as seen on our screen) he missed it completely and that happened more than once. That’s a bit worrying as it might be a sign that his eyesight isn’t what it was. That said he knocked in quite a few good long ones.
Poor Iulian Boiko looked truly unhappy facing Fergal. The latter was his good old Ferginator self, and made it extremely hard for his young opponent. In frame three Iulian seemed to have a chance and battled really hard. The frame went to a re-spotted black (78-78) and … went the way of Fergal eventually. Tough school!
The 4-0 win by Jamie Wilson over Robert Milkins will do the young lad’s confidence a lot of good. It has to be said however that Milkins was particularly poor: he had plenty of occasions but kept missing seemingly easy balls.
As much as I like Kendo, I was happy to see Sunny get a good win. He needs it!