Stephen Hendry steps up his quest for a Crucible return with a clash against emerging star Xu Si in Round Two of the World Championship qualifiers.
Hendry is competing in the sport’s most prestigious tournament for the first time since 2012, having come out of retirement this season.
The seven-time World Champion secured the first win of his comeback campaign at the expense of his long time rival Jimmy White in the opening round at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Monday.
A cagey encounter which failed to live up to its billing saw both players struggle to find their range, but it was the Scot who dug deep to prevail 6-3 with a high break of 66.
His only previous competitive match this season saw him lose 4-1 to Matthew Selt in the Gibraltar Open, but making his 776th career century in the process.
Hendry is three wins away from a return to the venue in which he enjoyed unrivalled success in the 90s, but is poised for a tough test against the highly-rated Chinese youngster.
Xu is in the midst of his fourth consecutive season on the main tour, having initially qualified by winning the 2016 IBSF World Under-21 Championship.
The 23-year-old dropped off the tour in 2019 but secured an immediate return via Qualifying School and has made gradual progress since.
His best performance to date came at the 2017 Indian Open – where he reached the Semi-Finals with victories over the likes of Ricky Walden and David Gilbert along the way.
Xu has reached the Third Round of the English Open and UK Championship this season but has never made it beyond the Second Qualifying Round of the World Championship.
The first meeting between these two players gets under way from 7.30pm GMT on Wednesday April 7 and will be contested over the best of 11 frames.
Zhou Yuelong, the highest ranked played in qualifying action, will await the winner in the Third Round later in the week.
The match will be available to watch live on desktop, mobile or tablet devices in the UK and various other regions worldwide.
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