White: I’ll Make The Crucible
Jimmy White insisted that he believes he will qualify for the Crucible this year, after his fine run at the WST Classic came to an end at the last 16 stage with a 4-1 reverse against Pang Junxu.
White, age 60, knocked out Graeme Dott and Joe Perry in the first two rounds in Leicester then scored one of his best wins in recent years earlier on Tuesday when he beat Judd Trump 4-2. But the Whirlwind missed out on a first ranking quarter-final in seven years as he lost 4-1 to China’s Pang.
“I’m really disappointed that I didn’t compete,” said White. “I won the first frame then I should have gone 2-0 up. I felt mentally drained. The buzz should get you through that, but I was tired and I was cueing poorly from the second frame onwards. Pang is one of my favourite Chinese players and I wish him all the best because he’s a hard worker. To beat the three players I have beaten this week and then not produce tonight is a disappointment.”
Crowd favourite White has enjoyed impressive results this season, reaching the last 16 of two ranking events and the last 32 of another. He’ll now look ahead to the Cazoo World Championship qualifiers which start on April 3, with the goal of reaching the final stages for the first time since 2006. “I am playing ok, I just ran out of steam,” he added. “I’ll take a couple of days off now and get back to practice on Friday. I’ll be getting to the Crucible, I am playing too well.”
Gary Wilson reached the quarter-finals by beating David Grace 4-1 with a top break of 135, and his results on Wednesday could determine whether he plays at the Duelbits Tour Championship and the Crucible in the coming weeks.
Wilson won his first ranking title at the BetVictor Scottish Open in December and is into the last eight of a ranking event for the third time this season. If he goes on to reach the final in Leicester, he will leapfrog Ding Junhui in the Race to Hull and earn a place in next week’s conclusion to the 2023 Duelbits Series, and will be sure of a top 16 seeding at the Cazoo World Championship for the first time in his career. But if Wilson falls at the quarter or semi-final stage tomorrow, then Ding will go to Hull and could also go on to earn that Crucible spot.
Wilson’s next opponent will be Germany’s Lukas Kleckers, who made a breakthrough by reaching the first ranking event quarter-final of his career. The 26-year-old from Essen beat Jackson Page 4-0 with top breaks of 88, 63 and 83.
Pang, a semi-finalist at the BetVictor Welsh Open, now meets Oliver Lines, who reached his second ranking quarter-final, and first since the Turkish Masters a year ago, with a 4-0 thrashing of Scott Donaldson.
John Higgins, winner of the recent BetVictor Championship League, is playing his best snooker of the season so far and reached his first ranking quarter-final of the campaign by making breaks of 121 and 126 in a 4-2 win over Kyren Wilson. In a clash of two four-time World Champions, Higgins now meets Mark Selby, who beat Robbie Williams 4-3 by taking the 67-minute deciding frame on the final pink.
Stuart Bingham saw off Noppon Saengkham 4-2 and now faces an Essex derby against Ali Carter, who edged out James Cahill 4-3 with a top break of 106.