NEIL Robertson booked his ticket for the International Championship later this month – but the Australian was made to do it the hard way.
The world number four and former world champion came back from 3-1 down against amateur Kuldesh Johal to win the qualifying contest 6-3.
Robertson, who has endured a slow start to the campaign with early exits in both the Shanghai Masters and the Australian Open, suffered a nightmare start going 2-0 down at the Barnsley Metrodome Arena against his relatively unknown opponent.
Robertson won the third frame to get off the mark but 35-year-old Johal, who is based in Leeds, potted the final colours to go 3-1 up at the interval.
But the break seemed to do Robertson the world of good as breaks of 79. 69 and 90 helped him turn the match around before clinching victory in the ninth frame.
Elsewhere on the third day’s play of qualifying action, World Championship quarter-finalist Anthony McGill, who beat then defending champion Mark Selby at the Crucible earlier this year, hit a century (102) and three breaks of 50+ in his 6-3 win over James Wattana.
Former world champions Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon also enjoyed comfortable wins to reach the International Championship with wins over Andy Hicks and Zak Surety respectively.
Belgian talent Luca Brecel recored an impressive 6-1 win over David Grace knocking in two century breaks (132 and 121) in the process.
There were also emphatic 6-1 wins for Daniel Wells (against Rory McLeod), Michael Holt (against Jake Nicholson) and Tom Ford (against Michael Leslie).
Pakistan’s Hamza Akbal suffered a 6-2 loss to Mark Joyce on his World Snooker tour debut despite going 2-0 up at one stage and fellow debutant Hatem Yassen lost by the same scoreline to Fergal O’Brien.
Saturday will see the likes of John Higgins, Jimmy White and Judd Trump take to the baize in what will be the last day of qualifying action.
Craig STEADMAN 6-2 Li HANG
Dominic DALE 6-2 Sydney WILSON
Jamie BURNETT 6-2 James CAHILL
Dechawat POOMJAENG 6-4 Michael GEORGIOU