Michael White had won just one match this season before the Betway UK Championship, but he’s now into the last 32 having beaten Mark Williams 6-2.
White, nicknamed Lightning, was considered the hottest young prospect in the sport when he won the Shoot Out and Indian Open in 2015, and he also landed the Paul Hunter Classic in 2017. Since then he has suffered a brutal loss of confidence and form, dropping to 62nd in the world.
Other than a run to the final of the China Championship, Williams has had a disappointing season so far.
The 28-year-old had lost six of his seven matches this season before heading to York, but after beating Fergal O’Brien in the first round, he knocked out two-time UK Champion Williams in a Welsh derby. Breaks of 65, 75, 52, 81 and 64 helped White set up a third round match with Mark Davis.
“It was a brilliant performance. I’m excited, chuffed, and relieved,” said White. “I’m getting back to where I want to be. The first round was a bigger match for me in a way because of all the early exits I’ve had. I’ve slipped down the rankings and I need the points now.
“I’ve doubted myself and wondered whether the good days are behind me. When you do poorly in tournaments you start to worry about that. I can’t remember the last time I got to a third round – that’s how bad it’s been. Hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here. I can enjoy it a bit more, I love playing in the main arena and it was really good fun tonight.”
Wilson Joins Small Group With Century Barrage
Gary Wilson became the fourth player to make four consecutive century breaks in a professional match as he beat Chris Wakelin 6-4. Only John Higgins, Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson have previously achieved that feat. Crucible semi-finalist Wilson trailed 4-0 but hit back with 67, 97, 134, 114, 100 and 124 to win six frames in a row.
Brave Liang Beats Grace
Just a few days after the death of his mother, Liang Wenbo showed remarkable courage to not only compete in the tournament but to beat David Grace 6-3. His mother died on Tuesday at the age of 56. Liang flew to China for the funeral and then returned to York in time for the match against Grace, in which he made breaks of 64, 88, 61 and 90.
Higgins Closes In On Hendry Mark
John Higgins had a smooth passage into the third round as he beat Lu Ning 6-1. The highlight for Higgins was a break of 103 in the third frame; his 772nd career century which leaves him just three short of Stephen Hendry’s 775.
“I’m just happy to win,” said Higgins, who won this title in 1998, 2000 and 2010. “Lu started off well but after that he missed a few and I was able to capitalise. I feel as if I am hitting the ball ok. I have put a fair bit of work in for this one.”
Martin O’Donnell top scored with 130 as he beat Ricky Walden 6-2 while Stephen Maguire made a 108 in a 6-2 defeat of Jordan Brown. Joe Perry earned a 6-3 success over Sunny Akani. The Race to the Masters is heating up with Maguire, Perry, Ding Junhui and Ali Carter all into the third round.