Live Snooker on Saturday April 13: World Championship Qualifiers 2019 Day Four preview and order of play

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Ebdon, Un-Nooh and Bingtao coast into Second Qualifying Round as O’Connor seals Swail’s relegation

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McManus survives On Yee scare as Honghao defeats Fu in World Championship Qualifiers

Jimmy 'The Whirlwind' White in action (credit:Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images)

Jimmy ‘The Whirlwind’ White in action (credit:Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive/PA Images)

Two former World Champions begin their quests to return to The Crucible on Saturday as the First Round qualifying action continues in Sheffield.

The higher-ranked players have largely come through unscathed in the opening round so far and a host of decorated stars will look to continue that trend on Day Four at the English Institute of Sport.

Graeme Dott, World Champion in 2006 and runner-up in 2004 and 2010, is aiming to reach his 20th Betfred World Championship and starts out against Pakistan’s Hamza Akbar.

Twice a ranking finalist last season, Dott has endured a torrid campaign this time around, reaching just one ranking Quarter-Final – that coming in the first event of the season at the Riga Masters last July.

Akbar, world ranked 106, has never been beyond the Last 64 of a ranking tournament and has amassed just £8,500 in prize money this season.

Ken Doherty, who became the first Republic of Ireland cueman to win the world title back in 1997, launches his pursuit of a return to the hallowed Crucible carpet with a tie against Hong Kong’s Andy Lee.

Doherty, who was also runner-up in 1998 and 2003, last featured in the sport’s show-piece in 2014 and will be eyeing a strong start against an opponent who has just three wins to his name during the entire season.

Dublin veteran Ken Doherty in action (Photo by World Snooker)

Dublin veteran Ken Doherty in action (Photo by World Snooker)

Matthew Stevens, a two-time beaten world finalist, looks to hit the ground running when he faces Thor Chuan Leong of Malaysia, with the winner of that tie taking on either Chris Wakelin, a debut qualifier 12 months ago, or Fan Zhengyi.

World number 17 Ryan Day, the highest ranked player involved in qualifying, looks to get off and running by dispatching Leeds ace Oliver Lines in what promises to be a high quality contest.

Day, runner-up in this year’s Gibraltar Open, was ousted for 16th spot by David Gilbert but will aim to draw upon his class against a player who is yet to showcase his true potential at the top level.

China’s Tian Pengfei aims to fend off the challenge or Iran’s number two Soheil Vahedi, while last week’s China Open semi-finalist Scott Donaldson looks to continue his superb run of form when he faces 2015 qualifier Craig Steadman.

Norway’s Kurt Maflin, whose sole Crucible appearance also came in 2015, opens up against 2016 debutant Mitchell Mann.

The afternoon session features the conclusion of the ties which commenced on Friday afternoon as a host of seeded players aim to press home their overnight leads.

Six-time world finalist Jimmy White, who last graced the Crucible Theatre in 2006, recovered from 2-0 down to open up a healthy 6-3 lead over Irish youngster Ross Bulman – the European Under-21 runner-up.

Former Northern Ireland champion Mark King raced into a 7-2 lead over Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo, while former Paul Hunter Classic winner Michael White holds a commanding 7-2 advantage over veteran Andy Hicks.

Two-time world finalist Ali Carter, who defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan at The Crucible last year, needs just two more frames to see off Yorkshire’s Paul Davison, while John Astley battled his way into a narrow 5-4 lead over highly-rated Chinese prospect Yuan Sijun.

The action gets underway from 10am BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 19 frames. First sessions will consist of a maximum of nine frames.

World Snooker Championship Qualifiers 2019 Schedule

*Denotes second session

Saturday April 13

Round One

10am & 7pm

Ryan Day v Oliver Lines

Tian Pengfei v Soheil Vahedi

Matthew Stevens v Thor Chuan Leong

Chris Wakelin v Fan Zhengyi

Graeme Dott v Hamza Akbar

Xu Si v Sean O’Sullivan

Stuart Carrington v Pang Junxu

Kurt Maflin v Mitchell Mann

Lu Ning v Allan Taylor

Scott Donaldson v Craig Steadman

Ken Doherty v Andy Lee

2.30pm

Li Hang 5-4 Niu Zhuang

Ian Burns 6-3 Farakh Ajaib

Ben Woollaston 5-4 Elliot Slessor

Mike Dunn 3-4 Nigel Bond

Ali Carter 8-1 Paul Davison

Jimmy White 6-3 Ross Bulman

Michael White 7-2 Andy Hicks

Yuan SiJun 4-5 John Astley

Lyu Haotian 6-3 Ashley Carty

Mark King 7-2 Igor Figueiredo