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World Snooker Championships: Chinese newcomer Xiao thrills Crucible

London: Chinese debutant Xiao Guodong came close to pulling off a major upset in his first round match against two-time runner-up Ali Carter at the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield on Sunday.

At 8-8, the 25-year-old qualifier was on the brink of a famous victory, only for Carter to take control of the next frame with a break of 80 before capitalising on a mistake by Xiao to complete victory.

“He played well and solid and doesn’t look like he’s under pressure,” Carter said of his beaten opponent.

“All credit to me for making an 80 break and playing a granite last frame there.

“Every time I was on the floor, I picked myself up and did it. I seem to be able to do that and that’s good.”

Carter, who overcame testicular cancer last year, will play either Mark Selby or Michael White in round two.

Xiao’s compatriot Ding Junhui established a 6-3 lead over English qualifier Michael Wasley in his first round match, which concludes on Monday.

Ding made a total clearance of 136 in the seventh frame, putting him in the lead in the tournament’s high-break prize.

Earlier, Ken Doherty came from 5-3 down to beat Stuart Bingham 10-5 and win his first match at the Crucible since 2006.

The 44-year-old Irishman, a world champion in 1997, had failed to qualify in three of the previous five years.

“I’m here to enjoy myself, but I’m not here to make up the numbers,” he said.

“I’ve had a lot of special memories out there and they come flooding back when you’re out there in the heat of the battle.

“Sometimes they can inspire you, so I’m trying to draw on all that great experience and just try to stay in the moment and be as calm as possible.”


World championship results on Sunday:

1st rd (best of 19 frames)

Ryan Day (WAL) bt Stephen Maguire (SCO) 10-9

Allister Carter (ENG) bt Xiao Guodong (CHN) 10-8

Shaun Murphy (ENG) bt Jamie Cope (ENG) 10-9