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Wakelin Seals Crucible Debut
Chris Wakelin will walk out at the Crucible Theatre for the first time in his career after completing a 10-1 demolition of Tian Pengfei at Betfred World Championship Qualifying.
The 26-year-old had already secured comfortable 10-4 victories earlier this week against Xu Si and Kurt Maflin, before his devastating final round win. Wakelin’s Crucible bow will see him earn the biggest payday of his career, having now secured a minimum of £18,000.
Prior to earning his place on the World Snooker Tour in 2013, he worked as a delivery driver in Warwickshire to fund his bid to become a professional sportsman. The world number 55 admits the journey he has been on to reach the Crucible puts today’s achievement into perspective.
“It just shows that with hard work anyone can do well in sport if they really put their mind to it,” said Wakelin. “I never got ahead of myself. I wanted to make sure I was over the line and in the draw before I started thinking about who was going to be coming along to watch and what it will be like walking down the famous stairs. It is a dream for all of the players, so I am just thrilled to finally get there.”
Matthew Stevens secured an emphatic 10-2 defeat of Ken Doherty to qualify after three years away from the Theatre of Dreams.
Today’s clash saw two Crucible legends meet. However, the 1997 World Champion Doherty was some way off the pace set by two-time finalist Stevens.
The Welshman secured a 7-2 lead during yesterday’s morning session and he hammered home his advantage today, sweeping up the three frames he required for victory without reply.
2006 World Champion Graeme Dott once again showed his prowess for the longer format. His 10-7 victory over Mike Dunn was a 12th consecutive win at the World Championship qualifiers and has seen him secure his place at the event for a fourth year in a row.
The 40-year-old will now head to the Crucible full of confidence after a season where he has reached two ranking finals at the German Masters and the Shoot Out.
“I just think longer matches suit the style of play that I have,” said the two-time ranking event winner. “I’ve had a good season. It would have been very disappointing not to finish off the at the Crucible, but no matter what happens I have had a good season.”
Ricky Walden will finish his campaign at the sport’s showpiece event, after a difficult season which has been plagued by back problems.
The three-time ranking event winner came through his Judgement Day match against Andrew Higginson thanks to a hard fought 10-6 win.
Walden said: “It means everything to qualify. It’s been a horrible year trying to recover from injury and I’ve had loads of support from my family and friends trying to get back on track. Without them, there is no way I would be playing.”
World number 22 Joe Perry held off a Mark Davis fightback to record a 10-7 victory.
The former Players Champion had led 7-2 after the first session, but consecutive century runs from Davis of 136 and 120 at the start of the session saw him burst back into contention. In the end Perry got himself over the line and ensured his qualification for a 15th time.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will make his Crucible debut after battling past Alfie Burden 10-8. The quick-fire Thai is sure to produce fireworks on snooker’s biggest stage, he has been the second fastest player on tour this season with an average shot time of just 17.12 seconds.
Robert Milkins will make his eighth appearance at the final stages of the World Championship after easing to a 10-2 defeat of Michael Holt. While Stuart Carrington has come through the qualifiers for a second consecutive season, defeating Zhang Anda 10-8.