No joke as world number one Mark Selby eases through Guangzhou snooker qualifier

The “Jester” records 5-1 win over China’s Luo Honghao at China Championship to set up first round meeting with Thailand’s world number 64 Noppon Saengkham

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 1:18pm

World number one Mark Selby advanced to the first round of the China Championship in Guangzhou after recording a 5-1 win over China’s Luo Honghao.

The “Jester” wasn’t at his best in Wednesday's qualifier, but still had enough to make it through to the main draw where he will meet Thailand’s world number 64 Noppon Saengkham on Thursday afternoon.

Defending champion John Higgins was also forced to come through a qualifying match to claim his place in the first round, but did so with ease as he overwhelmed China’s Lu Haotin 5-0 in less than an hour.

The Scot secured victory with a series of 50-plus breaks and one of 129 on his way to the main draw, where he will face England’s Chris Wakelin on Thursday evening.

Chinese ace Ding Junhui overcame countryman Niu Zhuang 5-1 after losing the opening frame, and he will meet England’s Alfie Burden in round one.

There were, though, several big-name casualties on day one of the £700,000 (HK$7 million) event as Chinese number two Liang Wenbo was stunned 5-3 by Ian Burns.

Hong Kong Masters champion Neil Robertson was another high-profile faller as he went down 5-4 to China’s Li Hang.

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Stuart Bingham also made an early exit as he lost 5-3 to mercurial Chinese talent Yan Bingtao.

Maverick Englishman Ronnie O’Sullivan will make his much-anticpated start to the competition on Thursday afternoon when he faces fellow Englishman Sam Baird.

Watch: Interview with Ian Burns after his win over Liang Wenbo