Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Joe Perry’s Crucible hopes are over after they crashed out of the World Championship third qualifying round, while Ryan Day survived a scare at the English Institute of Sport on Sunday.
Un-Nooh and Perry – ranked 19th and 20th in the world respectively – were the highest-profile casualties on day seven in Sheffield.
The Thai Rocket was edged out in a deciding frame by Brazilian Igor Figueiredo, while former semi-finalist Perry came unstuck at the hands of Jamie Clarke for the second successive year.
Shootout champion Day came close to suffering an early exit, but recovered from 2-0 and 4-3 down to scrape past Louis Heathcote.
Aiming to reach the Crucible for a fourth consecutive year, world number 19 Un-Nooh came from behind on three occasions to lead 5-4 against Figueiredo.
But the Brazilian – seeking only a second appearance in the final qualifying round – produced a timely break of 84 to force a decider, in which a run of 59 proved enough to see him over line.
Standing in his way of a Crucible debut is former UK Championship quarter-finalist Mark Joyce, who overcame Anthony Hamilton 6-3.
Perry – a World Championship semi-finalist in 2008 – also bowed out at the penultimate hurdle, as Welshman Clarke made breaks of 84 and 67 to move to within a victory of returning to the Crucible for a second straight year.
Clarke, who stunned Mark Allen in the first round of last year’s event, will take on Mark Davis after the former English Open finalist hit a top break of 143 – the highest of the week so far – in his 6-4 win over Stuart Carrington.
Meanwhile, three-time ranking event winner Day needed a decider to see off Heathcote in a real seesaw battle.
The world number 67 opened with breaks of 100 and 52, but the Welshman hit back with 58 and 77 to go 3-2 up.
Runs of 56 and 75 saw Heathcote regain the lead, only for Day to level on the black before moving 5-4 ahead with a 76 contribution.
The Leicester cueist responded well by taking frame 10 on the black to force a decider, but his opponent’s experience prevailed as he eventually secured a narrow victory on the final blue.
Day subsequently set up what promises to be an intriguing contest with former Crucible semi-finalist Ricky Walden, who hit breaks of 109 and 93 in a commanding 6-1 rout of Peter Lines.
China’s Lu Ning also advanced in a deciding frame; demonstrating tremendous character to hold his nerve against ex-European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson after he was pegged back from 5-1 up.
Elsewhere, 2006 World champion Graeme Dott will play Tian Pengfei on Judgement Day following a 6-3 win over Eden Sharav, while the same scoreline saw former quarter-finalists Liang Wenbo and Jamie Jones overcome Rod Lawler and Michael Holt respectively.
World Snooker Championship Qualifiers 2021 Schedule
Sunday April 11
73 Graeme Dott 6-3 Eden Sharav
74 Sunny Akani 4-6 Tian Pengfei
75 Michael Holt 3-6 Jamie Jones
76 Li Hang 6-2 Andrew Higginson
77 Lu Ning 6-5 Jimmy Robertson
78 Liang Wenbo 6-3 Rod Lawler
79 Mark Davis 6-4 Stuart Carrington
80 Joe Perry 2-6 Jamie Clarke
81 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-6 Igor Figueiredo
82 Mark Joyce 6-3 Anthony Hamilton
83 Ryan Day 6-5 Louis Heathcote
84 Ricky Walden 6-1 Peter Lines