The Chinese teams hit the ground running on day one of the Little Swan World Cup in Wuxi, with both sides recording emphatic victories.
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China’s A team of Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo put on an impressive display to defeat the Republic of Ireland’s Ken Doherty and Fergal O’Brien 5-0, as they moved ahead in group B.
Ding and Liang lifted the World Cup in 2011 and they’ve started their 2017 campaign in the best possible fashion. The pair backed up two opening wins with victory in the doubles frame. They then closed out the match in style. Liang made a break of 78 to take a 4-0 advantage, before Ding rounded off the win with a run of 71.
Hong Kong opened their World Cup bid with a 4-1 defeat of Germany. Marco Fu had one of his most successful seasons in 2016/17, winning the Scottish Open and reaching a Crucible quarter-final. He is sure to be key to Hong Kong’s hopes this week and he showed his prowess, winning both of his singles frames and compiling a run of 103 to win the doubles.
Meanwhile Belgium kept themselves in contention to progress from the group with a comfortable 4-1 win over Egypt.
China’s B team of Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong won the 2015 World Cup and they have opened their defence by beating Finland 4-1 in group A. There were breaks of 55 and 112 along the way for the talented teenagers.
The Welsh duo of two-time World Champion Mark Williams and Ryan Day proved to be too strong for Norway as they eased to a 5-0 victory. That was only good enough to tie at the top of group A, with Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo and Itaro Santos also whitewashing Malaysia 5-0.
Thailand recorded the shock of the day after they defeated one of the pre-tournament favourites Scotland 3-2 in group D.
It was a first event of the season for last year’s World Championship runner-up John Higgins, but he and his partner Anthony McGill couldn’t secure an opening win. The Wizard of Wishaw made a break of 130, the highest of the event so far, in the final frame. However, it was the team of Thepchaiya Un Nooh and Noppon Saengkham who narrowly came out on top.
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen and Joe Swail lead the group. They defeated Cyprus 4-1 in their opening match.
England top group C after securing a 5-0 whitewash of Switzerland. World number three Judd Trump lines up alongside world number six Barry Hawkins in the best combined ranking of the event.
Iran narrowly overcame Pakistan 3-2 to remain in contention. The Iranian side consists of current and former amateur world champions Soheil Vahedi and Hossein Vafaei.