Hamza Akbar, Pakistan’s only professional player, scored a surprise 10-5 win over Jamie Jones as the Betfred World Championship qualifiers got underway in Sheffield on Wednesday.
World number 122 Akbar is playing his first season on the pro tour and had previously failed to earn any prize money in ranking events, losing eight matches in a row. But after beating a player 89 places above him in the world rankings, the 22-year-old is now guaranteed £6,600 and is just two wins away from a place at the Crucible.
Akbar built a 7-2 lead in the first session with a top break of 70, and he also won the first frame of the evening session. Welshman Jones, who reached the quarter-finals at the Crucible four years ago, briefly rallied and made a 125 in winning three of the next four frames. But Akbar won a scrappy 15th on the colours to earn a second round meeting with Ian Burns, who beat Duane Jones 10-8
Nigel Bond, runner-up at the Crucible in 1995, came from 8-6 down to beat Andrew Higginson 10-9. Chesterfield cueman Bond won the deciding frame 65-17.
World number 25 Ben Woollaston suffered a surprise 10-9 defeat against Chris Wakelin. From 9-7 down, Wakelin made breaks of 44 and 107 to level at 9-9, then took the decider 61-25.
Anthony Hamilton eased to a 10-3 win over Sydney Wilson with a top run of 104 while Mark Joyce came from 7-6 down to beat Zak Surety 10-7.
Gary Wilson top scored with 104 in a 10-4 win over Leo Fernandez while 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon saw off fellow veteran James Wattana 10-6.