Matthew Stevens is through to the final round of Cazoo UK Championship qualifying, after recording a comprehensive 6-2 win over former European Masters champion Fan Zhengyi in Sheffield.
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Stevens’ only ranking title to date came at the UK Championship back in 2003, when he clinched a famous 10-8 win over Stephen Hendry in the final. Since then, 2000 Masters champion Stevens has failed to kick on and accumulate further ranking silverware. However, the 45-year-old showed a glimpse of his best snooker in this morning’s defeat of talented Chinese 21-year-old Fan.
Welshman Stevens crafted breaks of 62, 67, 74, 96 and 109 to earn his 6-2 win. Next up he faces another Chinese prospect, 19-year-old Wu Yize, for a place in the final stages. Wu beat Jamie Jones 6-4 to secure his Judgement Day place.
Iran’s Shoot Out winner Hossein Vafaei fought from behind to edge out Pakistan’s Asjad Iqbal 6-4. World number 20 Vafaei had trailed 4-3, but breaks of 53, 69 and 93 in the last three frames saw him turn the tie on its head and emerge victorious. Vafaei will now play Robbie Williams for a place in York.
Andy Hicks progressed with a thrilling 6-5 defeat of Lu Ning. The 49-year-old, who made the quarter-finals last year, now faces Lyu Haotian for a spot in the final stages. Lyu scored a 6-3 win over Stuart Carrington.
Zhou Yuelong earned his place in Judgement Day with a 6-2 win over Michael White. Zhou made breaks of 70, 61, 101 and 100 on his way to the win.