Ken Doherty sealed his place in the last-32 of the Championship league after toppling the likes of Neil Robertson in Milton Keynes. The Irishman finished at the summit of Group 17 having beaten Robertson along the way, posting a 3-1 score line in the process.
From that game, you’d know that the veteran Welshman had in it to go far in this competition. Although a big win, Doherty didn’t want to go pop champagne to the victory. The veteran admitted that there were still a lot of improvements he had to do.
“I’m delighted to get through, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement”, he said.
A humble admission I’d say because soon after, he shoved off another challenge, this time from Andrew Higginson, completing the battle in only three frames. A 3-0 win was enough to seal the fate of Higginson. In fact, Doherty compiled a century break of 109 in that game.
This score line was enough to help him win all the games in the final round of fixtures. However, Doherty made sure of his qualification by drawing his last tie with Eden Sharav for an extra point.
Doherty has been at the top of the game recently and could have easily won the world seniors champion for the first time in his career, only to let it slip from his fingers. It was Jimmy White who eventually won the title, bouncing back from 4-0 behind to record a well-deserved win over Doherty.
Doherty, fondly known as the Darling of Dublin has proven time and time again that he is capable of still rubbing shoulders with some of the best competitors the Main Tour has on the floor.
Elsewhere, it was Alexander Ursenbacher who made light work of his opponents to seal his place in the next round. The Swiss finished in seventh place, ahead of the likes of Lukas Kleckers, Riley Parsons, and World Championship semi-finalist, Anthony McGill.
Both Doherty and Alexander are the 17th and 18th players respectively to seal a place in the Championship league’s final week.
World number one, Judd Trump, world number four, Mark Selby and fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy are a few of the top echelon of snooker professionals who have already made it through.
Written by: Roland Arum