Jamie Jones has survived a colossal fightback from Yu Delu to claim a 10-7 win at Betfred World Championship Qualifying in Sheffield.
The Welshman had stormed to a 9-1 advantage and looked set for an early finish, before his Chinese counterpart came charging back. With the score at 9-3, Yu required a six-point snooker, which he got when Jones hit the black on an escape. He went on to win the frame and claimed a further three to pull within two of the Welshman at 9-7.
Eventually, the relieved former World Championship quarter-finalist got himself over the line with a gutsy break of 34. He faces Liang Wenbo for a spot at the Crucible after the Firecracker beat compatriot Zhao Xintong 10-5.
“At 9-1 up I was coasting,” said Jones. “I lost a couple of dodgy frames and in the end it was just momentum against me. I was trying and trying. To be honest the game was going away from me. I made a good break in the last frame and I was pleased to hold myself together after all of that pressure.
“I’m looking forward to the next round now. I just couldn’t see a way I was going to get a chance at the end of today’s match. The pressure was building and I am just relieved to get through. I’ll try and sleep tonight, but I don’t know if I will.”
Ryan Day progressed to Judgement Day after Mitchell Mann conceded their tie due to ill health. Day, who has picked up three titles this season, had already established a 7-1 lead when Mann was forced to withdraw.
Day will face a tough test against 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon on Judgement Day. Ebdon overcame Robbie Williams 10-5.
Five-time ranking event winner Stephen Maguire defeated Hammad Miah 10-4 to book his spot in the final round. The loss for Miah sees him lose his professional status.
Maguire will face Iran’s Hossein Vafaei for a Crucible berth. Vafaei secured an impressive 10-5 win over Noppon Saengkham to reach Judgement Day and is attempting to become the first Iranian to reach the final stages of the World Championship.
Jack Lisowski put on arguably the performance of the day as he thrashed David Grace 10-3, a result which relegated the Yorkshireman from the tour.
Lisowski fired in breaks of 56, 122, 100, 111, 75, 55, 57 and 73 on his way to a dominant win.
Michael Holt progressed courtesy of a hard fought 10-7 defeat of Gateshead’s Elliot Slessor.
After a fine season in 2016/17, which saw him reach his maiden ranking final at the Riga Masters, Holt has struggled to find his top form this campaign.
In contrast Slessor has enjoyed his best season on the World Snooker Tour, securing two wins over an in-form Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Northern Ireland Open and the China Open. However, it was Holt who showed his experience to book a third round spot.
The Hitman is anticipating a difficult two days of snooker to come, as he attempts to seal his qualification for snooker’s biggest event.
Holt said: “It is very hard. Every player that has been in this last match will tell you it is a very twitchy game. Even if you get a big lead it can swing. It means so much for everyone and they want to get through to the Crucible.”
His opponent in the final round will be Robert Milkins who overcame Perth’s Scott Donaldson 10-8. Victory against Holt would see Milkins appear at the Crucible for the eighth time.
Adam Duffy has remained on course to become the first player from Sheffield to play at the Crucible. He’s defeated Matthew Selt 10-6. While Alan McManus was victorious in a late night thriller with Oliver Lines, winning 10-9.