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Mark Williams edges last-frame decider as Ken Doherty and Reanne Evans suffer World Championship Qualifying heartbreak

Jamie Shaw in Qualifiers 10 Apr 2017
Evans falls at the penultimate hurdle (credit: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Mark Williams held his nerve to edge out Liam Highfield 10-9 for a place in the final qualifying round of the World Championship on Monday, while Ken Doherty and Reanne Evans saw their Crucible hopes dashed.

Two-time World Champion Williams battled back from 8-6 down to deny Highfield a memorable upset and move to within one win of a place in the sport's show-piece. 

Williams had established a slender 5-4 advantage following the first session, but it was Swindon's Highfield who came out firing in the evening with breaks of 80 and 83.

Recent China Open runner-up Williams produced a notable 90 break in frame 16 and went on to lead 9-8, but only for Highfield to crash in a terrific 132 clearance to force a decider.

Williams, though, utilised his vast experience to get over the line in the final frame and set up a meeting with Grimsby's Stuart Carrington on Tuesday.

Eleven-time Women's World Champion Evans saw her hopes of a dream Crucible debut curtailed after a 10-6 defeat to Welshman Lee Walker.

Evans, who had defeated Finland's Robin Hull in Round One, made a nightmare start to the contest by losing the opening six frames, but rallied back with breaks of 59 and 70 in reducing the deficit to 8-4 and 9-6.

Williams lives to fight another day (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Walker, though, ended any hopes of a famous scalp by edging frame 16 to progress to 'Judgement Day' at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

Doherty, the 1997 World Champion, suffered a double blow as his 10-4 defeat at the hands of Ben Woollaston confirmed his relegation from the professional tour.

Woollaston raced to the first six frames with high breaks of 129 and 63, and though the Dubliner rallied back, the Leicester man made no mistake in sealing the deal to end Doherty's 27-year stint as a professional tour card holder.

Like Jimmy White, Doherty will either have to rely on a wildcard from World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn or enter Qualifying School if he is to have any hope of returning to the tour next season.

Elsewhere, in-form Hossein Vafaei is just one win away from becoming the first Iranian ever to qualify for the World Championship after he defeated Matthew Selt 10-6.

Vafaei, the recent China Open semi-finalist, pressed home a 6-3 first session lead as he closed out a landmark victory with a high break of 135 along the way.

Two-time Crucible semi-finalist Stephen Maguire remains on course for an immediate return to the sport's spiritual home after a commanding 10-3 defeat of 1995 world finalist Nigel Bond.

Graeme Dott, the 2006 World Champion, made light work of 2013 qualifier Dechawat Poomjaeng as he ran out a 10-4 winner to consequently relegate the Thai from the main tour.

Gary Wilson, who made a 147 break in Round One, came from behind to see off World Seniors Champion Peter Lines 10-7 and remain in the running for a Crucible debut.

Betfred World Championship Qualifiers 2017 Results

Monday April 10

Round Two

Stuart Carrington 10-6 Andrew Higginson
Tom Ford 10-6 Chris Wakelin
Reanne Evans 6-10 Lee Walker
Li Hang 10-4 Mike Dunn
Mark King 10-4 Fang Xiongman
Xiao Guodong 10-4 Sam Baird
Mark Joyce 6-10 David Grace
Dominic Dale 10-6 Daniel Wells
Gary Wilson 10-7 Peter Lines
Ross Muir 4-10 Michael White

Mark Williams 10-9 Liam Highfield
Matthew Selt 6-10 Hossein Vafaei
Noppon Saengkham L-L Anthony Hamilton
Nigel Bond 3-10 Stephen Maguire
Ben Woollaston 10-4 Ken Doherty
Dechawat Poomjaeng 4-10 Graeme Dott
Tian Pengfei L-L Fergal O'Brien
Luca Brecel L-L Joe Swail
Rory McLeod L-L Sydney Wilson
Alan McManus L-L Rod Lawler
Jimmy Robertson 10-4 Oliver Lines



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Mark Williams edges last-frame decider as Ken Doherty and Reanne Evans suffer World Championship Qualifying heartbreak

Mark Williams held his nerve to edge out Liam Highfield 10-9 for a place in the final qualifying round of the World Championship on Monday, while Ken Doherty and Reanne Evans saw their Crucible hopes dashed.

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