Ken Doherty is one win away from reaching the last 32 of the UK Championship in York almost three decades since he first contested the final of the ranking event.
The evergreen 1997 world champion completed a 6-4 win over recent Northern Ireland Open finalist Chris Wakelin on Tuesday to advance to the final qualifying round at Leicester’s Morningside Arena.
Doherty’s highest break of the match was a modest 52 as he led 4-2 before he managed to eke out the final two frames to progress after Wakelin had levelled at 4-4.
The Irishman lost the 1994 UK final to Stephen Hendry (10-5) in Preston and also finished runner-up in 2001 to Ronnie O’Sullivan (10-1) and Mark Williams (10-9) a year later at the York Barbican.
He will meet Yuan Sijun on Thursday afternoon after Yuan completed a 6-5 win against Alexander Ursenbacher from 3-0 down with two century breaks.
“When Jimmy White qualified for York last year, I was commentating on that match and when he walked in the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, I got a bit emotional,” said Doherty, who first turned professional in 1990, after a 6-3 win against Duane Jones in the second round.
“So to have a moment like that myself would be wonderful.”
Elsewhere, world No. 19 Ryan Day suffered a surprise 6-2 defeat to Lukas Kleckers, who next faces Ben Woollaston, while world No. 20 Gary Wilson is also out after the Scottish Open champion lost 6-3 to Zak Surety with his opponent claiming the final five frames to secure a meeting with Jamie Jones on Wednesday night.
But 2004 UK champion Stephen Maguire is through to the final round of qualifying with a heavy-scoring 6-4 win against Ashley Hugill after trailing 3-1.
Maguire produced breaks of 124, 75, 140, 77 and 115 to advance to a match with Joe O’Connor on Thursday afternoon.
UK Championship: Round Three latest results
- Ken Doherty 6-4 Chris Wakelin
- Joe O’Connor 6-5 Oliver Lines
- Yuan Sijun 6-5 Alexander Ursenbacher
- Mark Joyce 6-2 Xiao Guodong
- Joe Perry 6-2 Andy Lee
- Lukas Kleckers 6-2 Ryan Day
- Jamie Clarke 6-4 Jordan Brown
- Stephen Maguire 6-4 Ashley Hugill
- Ben Woollaston 6-4 Cao Yupeng
- Anthony Hamilton 6-3 Dominic Dale
- Jamie Jones 6-4 Jiang Jun
- Lyu Haotian 6-2 Xu Si
- Zak Surety 6-3 Gary Wilson
- David Gilbert 6-1 Julien Leclercq
- Matthew Selt 6-4 Dylan Emery
- Anthony McGill 6-3 He Guoqiang
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