WONDERKID Lyu Haotian showed further signs of the quality player he could become after gaining another surprise win on the opening day of the Haikou World Open.
The 15-year-old will play world number two Mark Selby on Tuesday after a 5-2 win against Simon Bedford today booked the teenager a spot in the last 32.
Those inside the game will know this is not the first time Haotian has impressed on the world circuit. In November the talented star reached the quarter finals of the first ever International Championship after upsetting the odds in beating Michael White and Dominic Dale. Haotian first hit the headlines in this season’s Shanghai Masters after pulling off a wildcard round victory against Marco Fu.
Top breaks of 80 and 61 helped Haotian, who became the youngest ever under-21 champion last year, to victory as he followed up his impressive form.
Five more wildcard matches were played on the opening day. Because of Ali Carter’s withdrawal, Nigel Bond reached the last 16 stage after a 5-3 win against Zhu Yinghui.
David Gilbert, who made the last 16 in the World Championship last season, stormed into the first round proper after a 5-0 win over Lu Ning.
Walsall’s Mark Joyce booked a first round tie against world number one Judd Trump after beating Noppon Saengkham 5-4. The match will be a repeat of the pairs last meeting in the UK Championship when Joyce came back from behind to produce one of the biggest shocks of the tournament.
Alan McManus, who reached the quarter-finals in the Welsh Open earlier this month, made sure of a place in the last 32 with a 5-3 win over Lin Shuai. Stoke-on-Trent’s Jamie Cope is also through to round one after he battled back from a bad start to scrape a win against Wang Yuchen.
As well as the wildcard games two first round matches took place. The first saw Ricky Walden, who was forced to borrow Stephen Maguire’s cue after his own had not made the same flight to the Far East, beat Peter Ebdon 5-2.
And Robert Milkins, who reached the semi-finals in this event last year, continued his recent good form with a 5-3 win over Mark Davis to set up a last 16 tie against defending champ[ion Mark Allen or Welshman Ryan Day.
Tuesday will see Allen kick off the defence of his Haikou World Open title against Day. Former world champions Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy and Graeme Dott are also in action.
But the day’s play could be somewhat overshadowed by events in the UK where reigning world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will make an announcement on his future in the game.