Ding survives first hurdle in Crucible qualifying

Ding Junhui.
Ding Junhui.
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Ding Junhui is two matches away from qualifying this month’s Betfred World Championship.

The former UK and Masters champion has been forced into three rounds of qualifiers just to compete at the Crucible after slipping out of the top 16 players.

He had no trouble in beating amateur Greg Casey 10-4 in his opening qualifier, and returned to Ponds Forge in Sheffield this morning to play Ross Muir.

China’s Ding - who has lived in Sheffield for over a decade - is competing in the qualifers for the first time since 2007.

The 29-year-old has won every major prize in the sport - apart from the World Championship - but has struggled this season, including a shock first-round exit at the China Open.

He had no trouble beating Casey with top breaks of 51, 89, 74, 99, 68, 98 and 56.

Sheffield’s Adam Duffy fell at the first hurdle, losing 10-7 to Mark Davis, but Leeds potter Oliver Lines reached the second round after a 10-5 win over Lu Ning, with a top break of 104.

The 20-year-old now faces Dominic Dale this morning, the player who ended Doncaster’s Ian Glover’s Crucible hopes with a 10-6 triumph.

Oliver’s father Peter Lines lost 10-7 to Nottingham’s Michael Holt as their game headed for a late-night finish.

Pickering’s Paul S Davison leads Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-4, in their best-of-19 match which concludes this afternoon.

This morning, Leeds’s David Grace plays his second-round qualifier against Mark King.

Six-time World Champion Steve Davis won’t be playing at the Crucible this time as he lost 10-4 to Fergal O’Brien, whose top break was 82.

Liang Wenbo showed his quality in a 10-2 win over Joe O’Connor, firing runs of 71, 101, 52, 54, 76, 138 and 52.

Two-time Crucible finalist Ali Carter impressed in a 10-2 win over Mateusz Baranowski, with breaks of 70, 111, and 130.

There are three rounds of qualifying, with 16 qualifiers joining the world’s top 16 at the Crucible on Saturday.