Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh were among the first eight players to clinch a place at the 2022 World Snooker Championship via the qualifiers on Tuesday.
Part One of ‘Judgement Day’ saw seven players secure a return to the sport’s spiritual home, while Ashley Hugill sealed a dream debut on home soil in Sheffield.
Former world finalist Ding, who is also based in Sheffield, clinched a 16th consecutive World Championship appearance with a superb comeback win over David Lilley.
World Seniors Champion Lilley looked to be on course for a major upset after opening up a 7-4 lead, but only for Ding to reel off six consecutive frames for a place in Thursday’s First Round draw.
Ding began the match with a break of 137 in the opening frame and doubled his lead with a 76 break, before hit back with breaks of 61, 60, 68, 85, 64 and 71 en route to a 7-4 lead.
Ding, however, dominated from there on in as he compiled breaks of 59, 62, 76 and 56 in completing the comeback.
The 14-time ranking event winner will be joined in the main event by Chinese compatriot Lyu Haotian – who thrashed veteran Dominic Dale 10-4 to seal a third World Championship appearance.
Meanwhile, two-time Crucible semi-finalist Stephen Maguire booked his place in a 19th World Championship courtesy of a hard-fought 10-7 win over two-time ranking finalist Zhou Yuelong.
Former Tour Championship winner Maguire, who has dropped to 40th in the world rankings, produced high breaks of 104 and 137 and took three of the last four frames to get himself over the line.
Thai star Un-Nooh reached the main stages of the World Championship for the fourth time in five years after an impressive 10-7 victory over Matthew Selt.
The 2019 Shoot Out champion pulled clear from seven apiece with breaks of 71, 101 and 116 to round off a clinical display which also included a further two centuries (145 and 138) in the first session.
World number 77 Hugill became the first debutant to reach this year’s Betfred World Championship after he overcame Leicester’s Joe O’Connor 10-7 in a marathon battle.
Hugill opened up a 7-3 advantage before O’Connor replied with breaks of 78, 64 and 99 to get back to within one.
Hugill stopped the rot by taking the next two frames, and though O’Connor won frame 16 on a re-spotted black, he then watched his opponent sink an audacious double on the decisive black in the following frame to seal victory in style.
What a way to seal your Crucible debut ?
— Live Snooker (@Livesnooker) April 12, 2022
Former quarter-finalist Michael White clinched a first Crucible appearance since 2016 courtesy of a 10-8 victory over former Welsh Open winner Jordan Brown.
White, a non-Tour Card holder, secured five of the last seven frames to seal an emotional Crucible return with breaks of 66, 71 and 87 along the way.
White will be joined in the draw by his fellow Welsh cueist Jamie Jones, after the 2012 quarter-finalist swept aside Tom Ford 10-5.
Jones had stormed into a 7-0 lead before Ford took the last two frames of the first session to remain in outside contention.
Ford then made a break of 123 as he claimed three of the first five frames in the evening to trail 9-5, but Jones ended any hopes of a miraculous comeback with a 66 break to get over the line.
Scott Donaldson was the most emphatic winner on the opening day of the Fourth Round as he demolished Allan Taylor 10-1 with top breaks of 132, 68, 96, 55 and 55.
Part Two of ‘Judgement Day’ on Wednesday features the remaining eight Fourth Round ties, with the likes of Ali Carter, Graeme Dott, Matthew Stevens and Hossein Vafaei in action.
World Championship Qualifiers – Judgement Day Part I Results
Tuesday April 12
Allan Taylor 1-10 Scott Donaldson
Dominic Dale 4-10 Lyu Haotian
Stephen Maguire 10-7 Zhou Yuelong
Michael White 10-8 Jordan Brown
Matthew Selt 7-10 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Tom Ford 5-10 Jamie Jones
David Lilley 7-10 Ding Junhui
Joe O’Connor 7-10 Ashley Hugill