Liang Wenbo’s hopes of reaching the Crucible lie in tatters this evening after he lost the first NINE frames in his crucial World Championship qualifier.
The Chinese number two star and winner of last season’s English Open trails Jamie Jones 9-0 as things stand in Sheffield in a scoreline nobody will have expected.
Today marks the start of the branded ‘Judgment Day’ qualifiers with 32 players just one win away from securing their place at the Crucible to play in this year’s World Championship.
The opening session of the final qualifying round of matches has taken place with matches to conclude on Wednesday.
Wenbo, one of the highest ranked players to compete in the qualifiers, has been left with it all to do after a brilliant opening session from Welshman Jones saw him take complete control of the contest.
It means Wenbo must win all remaining ten frames tomorrow to pull off, arguably, the sport’s greatest ever win.
Meanwhile, Chris Wakelin stands just two frames away from making his Crucible debut after an incredible start saw him take a massive 8-1 lead against Chinese star Tian Pengfei who is also bidding to make his first appearance at the famous venue.
Former world champion Ken Doherty also has it all to do on Wednesday after losing the first session 7-2 against 2000 and 2005 finalist Matthew Stevens.
Scotland’s Graeme Dott who won the World Championship title 12 years ago will also have to come back from behind as he trails 5-4 against 46-year-old Mike Dunn looking to clinch his first visit to the Crucible since 2002.
Welsman Ryan Day – the top seed in the qualifying process – currently has a 5-3 lead against former world champion Peter Ebdon.
Elsewhere, Hossein Vafaei’s bid to become the first Iranian to compete at the Crucible has taken a big blow this evening after he was left trailing 6-2 to Stephen Maguire – the second highest seed in this year’s qualifiers.
Chinese star Lyu Haotian. 20, who made the semi-finals of the Northern Ireland Open this season, has made a strong start in his vital qualifier against Rory McLeod – leading 6-2.
And fellow Chinese star Xiao Guodong also made a good start winning six of the first seven frames in his Judgement Day battle against Adam Duffy.
Joe Perry, who in the last round defeated Jimmy White, stands just three frames away from booking his Crucible place after taking a 7-2 lead against Mark Davis. Robert Milkins leads Michael Holt by the same score as well.
Either Welshman Daniel Wells or England’s Liam Highfield will make their Crucible debut in the coming days and their match is a tight one with the first six frames shared.
England’s Jack Lisowski, who is enjoying his best season to date with prize money totaling nearly £140,000, has opened a strong 6-2 lead against Alan McManus who reached the World Championship semi-finals two years ago.