Alan McManus emerged a 10-6 victor after a hard fought clash with women’s World Champion Ng On Yee at Betfred World Championship qualifying in Sheffield.
On Yee pushed McManus into a late night battle, but ultimately was unable to replicate the feat of women’s circuit rival Reanne Evans – who recorded a 10-8 victory against Robin Hull at this event in 2017.
McManus, who reached the semi-finals in his most recent Crucible appearance at the 2016 World Championship, was never ahead in the match until a decisive move from 6-5 down. The Scot took five frames on the bounce to claim the win.
Hong Kong’s On Yee produced a much-improved showing on the world stage this evening, having suffered heavy losses in her previous two World Championship outings. The three-time women’s World Champion will now turn her attention to Q School, where she will attempt to earn a place on the World Snooker Tour.
Former Masters winner McManus faces Martin O’Donnell up next, as he steps up his bid for a return to snooker’s Theatre of Dreams.
“It was a bit of an unknown quantity coming into the match, as I had never really seen her play before. I know she has played a couple of times in this event and she must have improved,” said McManus. “Today’s match was a funny one. I got off to a bad start and I couldn’t help but think it would be a real body blow to lose. On Yee played really well.
“I would love to play at the Crucible again. You never know when it could be your last time. It is not the be all and end all though. I love working with the TV guys. It is great fun and I am in a very privileged position to do that.”
Afterwards On Yee said that she is starting to feel more at ease in the World Snooker Tour environment and credited compatriot Marco Fu with helping her to adjust.
On Yee said: “I am settling much better now and getting a bit more comfortable with the atmosphere. I wasn’t shaking today like I was in the last few years. I kept trying to pull away from him, but he kept coming back.
“Reanne Evans won a World Championship match in 2017 and I think that all the ladies players were very happy. She really inspired others and I hope that I can be like her and win matches in the main tournaments.
“In terms of numbers, there are much less ladies players than men, but we are getting more and more tournaments and gaining more players from different countries. I think in the future, all of the ladies players will be able to compete with men.
“Playing in the same session as Marco helped me to get rid of a bit of pressure. During my previous matches at the World Championship, I have been sat in the player’s lounge getting ready and feeling very nervous. This year Marco was sitting next to me and supporting me. He is my idol and I just felt more comfortable. There was less pressure.”
Hong Kong’s number one Fu also lost out in his match. He fell to a 10-7 defeat against 2018 WSF champion Luo Honghao.
The result means that Fu will miss out on playing at the Crucible for the first time since 2004. Tour rookie Luo now faces Robbie Williams, who came through 10-8 against Sam Baird.
Zhang Yong was a comfortable 10-2 winner against 11-time women’s World Champion Reanne Evans. He now faces former Crucible semi-finalist Joe Perry who also eased to victory, crushing Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg 10-1.
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Pictures courtesy of Andy Chubb.