XIAO Guodong, the man who last year made the final of the Shanghai Masters, has failed to qualify for this season’s event after suffering a surprise defeat in the qualifying stages.
The talented Chinese potter, who lost to fellow countryman Ding Junhui in his first ranking final more than twelve months ago, lost out to world number 54 Jimmy Robertson 5-3 – meaning Guodong will not take part at the venue stage of the tournament starting on September 8.
The world number 22, who earlier this year made his first appearance in the World Championship, made the perfect start when a break of 111 gave him the opening frame before he later gained a 3-2 lead against the Englishman.
But Robertson, who earlier this week beat Lyu Haotian and Ben Woollaston to make it to the final qualifying round, then won the remaining three frames with breaks of 52, 62 and 69 to clinch an impressive victory.
The final day of qualifying at The Barnsley Metrodome also saw former Masters winner Matthew Stevens unable to qualify for the major ranking event for the first time in its eight-year history after he fell to a 5-3 defeat to Jack Lisowski after throwing away leads of 2-0 and 3-2.
Former world champions Mark Williams and Ken Doherty secured their places at the venue stage with wins against Thepchaiya Un-nooh and Mark King respectively – Doherty with a 5-0 win to his name.
But world number 18 Mark Davis was unable to produce his best form for the qualifying stages as he fell to a 5-2 defeat to Matthew Selt who qualified for the tournament for just the second time.
Dominic Dale produced a brilliant comeback to book his flight to China after storming back from 3-0 down to beat last season’s Crucible giant-killer Michael Wasley.
The Welshman hit back from a poor start with three century breaks of 123, 111 and 120 in a thrilling 5-4 in against the man who knocked out Ding in the first round of the World Championship four months ago.
Joe Swail completed a clean sweep of victories this week to seal his place in the Shanghai Masters after a 5-1 win over former world champion Peter Ebdon. The win was Swail’s fourth in a matter of days after entering the qualifying process from the first round. The Northern Irishman had previously beat Zak Surety, Jimmy White and last year’s quarter-finalist Kyren Wilson.
Elsewhere, Alan McManus could face Ronnie O’Sullivan in the opening round of the Shanghai Masters after he defeated Jamie Jones 5-3. The Scot will take on the five-times world champion should he avoid the prospect of having to play a wildcard or if he was to win the possible wildcard match.
China’s Li Hang secured his place in the tournament after recording a third straight win in as many days after beating Mark Joyce 5-2. And fellow countryman Liang Wenbo will also get to play in front of his home crowd after beating Alex Davies by the same score.
Last year’s semi-finalist Michael Holt secured another visit to Shanghai after he thwarted off a strong fightback from Stuart Carrington to earn a 5-4 win.
Other qualifiers who made it through included Michael White, Fergal O’Brien, Martin Gould, Andrew Higginson and Ryan Day
Shanghai Masters First Round Draw (Wildcards Permitting)
Ding JUNHUI vs Jack Lisowski
Joe PERRY vs Martin GOULD
Graeme DOTT vs Liang WENBO
Shaun MURPHY vs Joe SWAIL
Judd TRUMP vs Dominic DALE
Stuart BINGHAM vs Li HANG
Stephen MAGUIRE vs Jimmy ROBERTSON
Ronnie O’SULLIVAN vs Alan McMANUS
Neil ROBERTSON vs Michael WHITE
John HIGGINS vs Ryan DAY
Mark ALLEN vs Andrew HIGGINSON
Barry HAWKINS vs Mark WILLIAMS
Marco FU vs Matthew SELT
Robert MILKINS vs Fergal O’BRIEN
Ricky WALDEN vs Michael HOLT
Mark SELBY vs Ken DOHERTY