China’s world number eight Zhao Xintong won his opening tie at BetVictor German Masters qualifying in Leicester, defeating compatriot Wu Yize 5-3.
Zhao lifted his second ranking crown earlier this year in Berlin, beating close friend Yan Bingtao 9-0 in the title match in front of a capacity crowd at the iconic Tempodrom.
His first ranking title came at last season’s UK Championship, but that title defence ended at the first hurdle last week when he lost out to Sam Craigie in York. Zhao managed to avoid an early exit this time around.
Breaks of 66, 64 and 67 saw him progress this morning and earn a clash with Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif in the final qualifying round. Asif sealed his progression thanks to a 5-2 win over three-time Women’s World Champion Ng On Yee.
Tom Ford held off a Zhang Jiankang fightback to edge through with a 5-4 victory.
Englishman Ford is in fine form, having made the semi-finals the UK Championship last week. He looked to be continuing that when he built up a 4-2 advantage this morning, but Zhang hit back to earn a decider. Ford held his nerve to take it and is now one match away from a place in Berlin.
Scotland’s Anthony McGill eased through with a 5-1 win over Jamie O’Neill. McGill fired in breaks of 58, 108, 133 and 68 on his way to the win.
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