Pang Junxu and Zhao Xintong won Groups A and D respectively to progress through to the final day of the BetVictor Championship League in Leicester.
Pang faced the tricky challenge of ousting Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter, and Yuan Sijun if he was to make the third stage on Friday. Yuan began the day with an impressive 3-0 win over O’Sullivan. Pang meanwhile took the opener against Carter, who quickly levelled. However, Pang composed breaks of 69 and 50 to wrap up a 3-1 win.
Carter’s hopes of progressing were soon ended by a 2-2 draw with Yuan. The final frame was scrappy, but Yuan edged it to seal it after 40 minutes of play.
Into the evening session and O’Sullivan knew he needed start quickly with a win over Pang in his first match. Pang took the first, before embarking on a 147 attempt in the second, failing on 104 to lead 2-0. The Rocked pulled a frame back, but it was Pang who ran out a 3-1 victor.
The 2021 Rookie of the Year knew a draw would be enough to top the group in his final match against Yuan, who needed all three points to go through. Yuan made 57 in the first to lead, but Pang came back to level at 1-1. They shared the following two frames and Pang progressed.
Over on Table 2, Zhao was in no mood to hang around as he beat compatriot Chang Bingyu 3-0 in a match which included a superb 145 break. Mark Allen was on the end of a 3-0 defeat to Gary Wilson in the next match, before he recovered to beat Chang 3-1.
Zhao knew that he could put things beyond doubt with a strong showing at the top of the evening session against Wilson and he did just in a 3-0 rout. The Cyclone fired in breaks of 123, 46, and 101 to be in an unassailable position and top the group with a game to spare. He ended with a 2-2 draw against Allen.
Group G headlines Table 1 tomorrow live on FreeSports, DAZN, Viaplay, and Matchroom.Live with Shaun Murphy, Ricky Walden, Anthony Hamilton, and Elliot Slessor with Group B live on YouTube from midday with Luca Brecel, Chris Wakelin, Jamie Clarke, and Daniel Wells.
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