Lee Walker held off a valiant fightback from Reanne Evans to win 10-6 and reach the final round of Betfred World Championship Qualifying.
The Welshman is now one match away from making the Crucible for the first time since 2004. His best run in the World Championship came in 1997 when he reached the quarter-final stage.
Evans will have to wait if she is to complete her quest to become the first woman ever to play at the Crucible. However, she can reflect on a good week after securing her first ever World Championship win against Robin Hull on Wednesday.
Walker led 6-1 after the first session and went on establish a 9-4 advantage before they had to be pulled off this afternoon. When they resumed this evening, Evans battled back into the match, taking the opening two frames to reduce the deficit to 9-6.
However, the 41-year-old Welshman used his experience in the 16th frame and won a hard fought tactical battle, which lasted just under fifty minutes, to clinch victory.
“The relief when the green went in to get over the line was huge,” said Walker. “She’s a great player and it was always going to be difficult. She’s run Ken Doherty close in the past, she has beat Robin Hull. You don’t do that without being a great competitor. I’m just really pleased to get through.
“I’ve done a little bit of coaching work with NG On Yee and I have taken her to Q School, but I have never played a women before in a big competition. The way she play’s both handed and cues it well. She really is a brilliant player. I think she has done herself proud and the women’s game proud.
“I’ve come here to get to the Crucible. I have two wins now and I need one more. I will regroup and go all out tomorrow to get there.”
Mark Williams dug deep to overcome Liam Highfield in a 10-9 thriller and book his place at Judgement Day.
The two-time World Champion narrowly missed out on clinching a directly seeded place at the Crucible last week at the China Open. He needed to win the event to knock compatriot Ryan Day out of the world’s top 16, but lost out to World Champion Mark Selby in the final.
This evening he trailed 8-6, after Highfield compiled a run of 86 in the 14th frame. However, Williams showed great resolve to win two in a row, leveling at 8-8 with a break of 90. The 18-time ranking event winner was then ahead, before Highfield made a stunning contribution of 132 to force a decider. It was Williams who prevailed and he will now face Stuart Carrington for a place at the Crucible.
Iran’s only professional player Hossein Vafaei is one match away from snooker’s theatre of dreams after holding off a fightback from Matthew Selt to win 10-6.
Vafaei had charged to a 9-3 advantage, before Selt applied the pressure with three in a row. The recent China Open semi-finalist then made a run of 71 to get over the line for the win. His opponent on Judgement Day will be Tom Ford, who defeated Chris Wakelin 10-6.
Ken Doherty suffered a 10-4 defeat to Ben Woollaston, which sees the 1997 World Champion drop off the tour after a 27-year run as a professional. Doherty will now need to enter next month’s Q School if he wishes to regain a full tour card.
Luca Brecel won a late night battle with former world semi-finalist Joe Swail 10-8 to progress. The 22-year-old Belgian trailed 8-5, but took five on the spin to ensure his progress. The defeat see’s Swail join Doherty in losing his place on the World Snooker Tour.
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