Former World Champion Ken Doherty continues his quest for a Crucible return with a clash against Pang Junxu in the Third Qualifying Round on Monday.
Doherty is in the midst of his 33rd consecutive World Championship campaign and is targeting a 20th Crucible appearance – where he lifted the trophy 26 years ago, while also reaching the final in 1998 and 2003.
The veteran Dubliner has not graced the hallowed Crucible carpet since 2014, and he must upset the form book in order to end his wait.
The 53-year-old came into the qualifying stages having won just five of his 20 matches played this season, but has significantly improved that record with wins over Reanne Evans and Hammad Miah at the English Institute of Sport.
Doherty won five of the last seven frames to see off 12-time Women’s World Champion Evans in his opener, before producing a high break of 137 in 10-6 success over Miah.
He now faces a huge test against 23-year-old Pang – who reached his first ranking final less than a month ago at the WST Classic.
The Chinese youngster was denied glory by Mark Selby on that occasion, but has climbed to a career-high ranking of 35, having also reached the Semi-Finals of the Welsh Open and Quarter-Finals of the German Masters earlier this year.
Pang is eyeing a debut appearance in the sport’s show-piece event, having lost to another former World Champion in Graeme Dott in the penultimate qualifying round last year.
His only previous meeting with Doherty came as a 14-year-old in an Asian Tour event back in 2014, a match which the Irishman won 4-1.
Their latest encounter gets under way from 10am BST for a maximum of nine frames, before resuming to a finish over the best of 19 from 7pm.
Either Jamie Jones or Xu Si will await the winner in the final qualifying round on Wednesday.
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