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Chris Wakelin and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh secure dream World Snooker Championship debuts

Jamie Shaw in Qualifiers 18 Apr 2018
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh marks his 33rd birthday in style

Chris Wakelin and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will make their debuts in the 2018 World Championship after coming through the qualifying rounds at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Wednesday afternoon.

The in-form duo were among the first eight players to book their place in the sport's show-piece from April 21 to May 7 alongside the world's top 16 ranked players.

Wakelin, 26, emphatically clinched his Crucible ticket with a 10-1 rout of Tian Pengfei - who had knocked out the well-fancied Yan Bingtao in the previous round.

Having produced breaks of 72, 58, 74, 77, and 125 on the way to an 8-1 lead on Tuesday, Wakelin wasted little time in completing the job as he dominated frame ten before sealing the deal with a break of 89.

"I'm just thrilled to get over the line," said Wakelin. "It's every player's dream so I'm thrilled to get there. 

"I've always believed in myself, I've got an amazing team around me and there's so many people I could thank." 

Un-Nooh will become the fifth player from Thailand to compete at the Crucible Theatre after he edged out Alfie Burden 10-8 in a pulsating contest.

Un-Nooh, who was celebrating his 33rd birthday, held a slender 5-4 lead heading in to the final session and produced breaks of 88, 84, 105, 90 and 78 to deny Burden his first Crucible appearance for 20 years.

Graeme Dott, the 2006 World Champion, dug deep to win four of the last five frames and overcome Redcar's Mike Dunn 10-7 to reach his 19th World Championship.

Graeme Dott smiles (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images,)
"I managed to keep winning frames when I wasn't playing well," admitted Dott. "Longer matches suit the style of play that I've got. 

"I've had a good season and it would have been very disappointing not to have made The Crucible," he added.

Two-time world finalist Matthew Stevens secured his return to Sheffield courtesy of a 10-2 demolition of 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty.

Stevens led 7-2 overnight and pressed home that advantage by reeling off three in a row with a high break of 63 to end a three-year absence from the Crucible.

"The way I felt all week and the work I put in, I knew I was playing too well," said Stevens. 

"I knew it was in my hands and I'd get chances and I took them. I felt a bit emotional there, it feels great to be back."

World number 22 Joe Perry fended off a gallant revival from Mark Davis to seal a 10-7 victory.

Perry had opened up a commanding 7-2 lead following the first session but Davis began the second day with consecutive breaks of 136 and 120 to close the gap.

Perry then moved to the verge of victory at 9-5, and after Davis rallied again with back-to-back frames, the Cambridge cueist got over the line thanks to a break of 66.

"That's probably as tense as I've felt in a snooker match in a lot of years because I had such a big lead and I was playing a great friend," revealed Perry. 

"I'm not writing myself off but I'm 44 and you don't know when the last time is going to be so you've just got to enjoy it."

Gloucester's Robert Milkins enjoyed a one-sided 10-3 win over Michael Holt to reach the main stages of the World Championship for the eighth time.

Milkins led 7-2 at the halfway stage and quashed any hopes of a Holt fightback by claiming three of the next four for victory.

Ricky Walden, semi-finalist in 2013, closed out a high quality 10-6 victory over Andrew Higginson with four centuries to his name.

Walden held a slender 5-4 advantage overnight and fired in breaks of 103, 125 - missing the brown on the way to a possible maximum - and 100 to secure his Crucible return.

"I'm just so pleased to be back," said Walden. "It's been a horrible year for me with the injuries and it didn't look like it was going my way this week either with the illness so I'm really pleased to battle my way through."

Grimsby's Stuart Carrington advanced to his third World Championship following a 10-8 victory over China's Zhang Anda.

Carrington led 5-4 at the close of play on Tuesday, and after falling 8-7 behind, fired in consecutive breaks of 54, 141 and 68 to to wrap up victory.

World Championship Qualifiers 2018 Results


Wednesday April 18

Third Round

Afternoon Session
Stuart Carrington 10-8 Zhang Anda
Graeme Dott 10-7 Mike Dunn
Michael Holt 3-10 Robert Milkins
Matthew Stevens 10-2 Ken Doherty
Andrew Higginson 6-10 Ricky Walden
Mark Davis 7-10 Joe Perry
Tian Pengfei 1-10 Chris Wakelin
Alfie Burden 8-10 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh


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Chris Wakelin and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh secure dream World Snooker Championship debuts

Chris Wakelin and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will make their debuts in the 2018 World Championship after coming through the qualifying rounds at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Wednesday afternoon.

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