By Stephen Kent.
Ding Junhui made a strong start to his Haikou World Open campaign with a comfortable 5-1 victory over Li Yan in the last 64 on Hainan Island, China.
World No 3 Ding next faces a tough test against India's Pankaj Advani, who yesterday recorded a terrific 5-4 victory over Xiao Guodong with a break of 80 in the deciding frame.
China’s top snooker player lost the first frame on the black, but recovered well to win the next five in a row, including a 128 clearance in the fifth, on route to victory against Li.
It is a great start to the tournament for former UK & Masters champion Ding, who is aiming to equal Stephen Hendry's 20-year-old record of winning five ranking titles in the same season.
“I played ok,” said Ding, who has already won two titles in China this season. “Li played good safety so it was tough for me at the start. I will try and concentrate and do better in the next round.
“The venue and the hotel are both close to the sea and it's nice to be able to relax between matches. The tournament is making good progress each year, it's getting better and better,” he added.
Former World Champion Mark Williams will face defending champion Mark Allen next, after making a top break of 78 in winning the last three frames to beat wildcard Yuan Sijun 5-1.
Another former World Champion, Shaun Murphy was in top form against Jimmy White, beating the Whirlwind 5-1 with the help of a 128 clearance in the first frame.
Alongside fellow legend Steve Davis, White could face the task of having to win at least one match at the World Championship qualifiers next month to keep his place on the World Snooker tour.
Last year’s beaten finalist Matthew Stevens eased through against Yu Delu, whitewashing him 5-0 with a top run of 55.
Shoot-Out Champion Dominic Dale was pushed all the way against young Michael Leslie, recovering from 4-2 behind to win the match 5-4 on the final black.
All of the results from the Haikou World Open can be found at Snooker.org.
Photo by Monique Limbos.