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Page last updated at 20:42 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 21:42 UK

Liang sends Doherty crashing out

888.com WORLD SNOOKER CHAMPIONSHIP
Dates:
Sat 19 April to Mon 5 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBCi and the BBC Sport website; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live
China's Liang Wenbo
Liang had a nervy end to the match on his Crucible debut

Ken Doherty became the third former Crucible winner to exit the World Championship at the first hurdle after losing 10-5 to China's Liang Wenbo.

The damage was mainly done in the first session when Liang, 21, knocked in six half centuries to take a 7-2 lead.

Doherty lost the first frame of the evening session, but took two of the next three to keep his faint hopes alive at 9-4 behind.

A nervy final frame saw both players miss chances before Liang sealed it.

Doherty follows former world champions Steve Davis and Graeme Dott in losing in the opening round in Sheffield.

The 38-year-old will now drop out of the top 16 in the world rankings for the first time in 15 years.

"It's hard to describe, it's very disappointing," said Doherty.

"I didn't play like I can and to drop out of the top 16 is the icing on the cake.

"I'm not afraid to go back to the qualifiers but it will be a lot tougher.

"There are players who have gone there and come back and my results will show I probably deserve to go out of the top 16.

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Replay: Doherty's re-spotted black blunder in the 12th frame

"It would be quite scary if this was my last Crucible but I've got my hands on the trophy once. Who knows whether I will be back or not?

"Liang played a lot like Mark Allen (who beat Doherty in the first round in 2007) against me last year. He did not look like he had any nerves and had been here more times than I had."

Ranked just 53rd in the provisional world rankings, Liang said his victory was the highlight of his life in snooker.

"It's the best win of my career," he said.

"I was not thinking about winning or losing, just trying my best, and beating Ken is a great boost to my confidence because this is the biggest event in snooker.

"I was very nervous and I have not thought about how far I can go. I just want to give my best."

Stephen Maguire sent out a warning to his title rivals as he took an emphatic 8-1 lead over Anthony Hamilton in their opening round.

Maguire made breaks of 118, 83, 82 and 76 as a demoralised Hamilton struggled to find any kind of form.

The match looked set to offer Maguire the chance to seal only the second-ever whitewash in Crucible history.

But Hamilton avoided that unwanted record as he took the final frame of the session in two visits.

Earlier, Shaun Murphy booked a Crucible last-16 tie against Ali Carter following a comfortable 10-3 win over Dave Harold.

Shaun Murphy
Murphy was in imperious form at The Crucible

The 2005 world champion started the second session with a 7-2 lead but saw that advantage reduced by his 41-year-old opponent in the 10th.

But Murphy, the provisional number one, was in no mood to give up any more frames and made it 8-3 with a 102 break before adding a 72 in the next.

And in the 13th frame, the 25-year-old made sure of the win with another 50.

Qualifier Joe Perry set up a second-round tie against Stuart Bingham with a 10-7 victory over 2006 world champion Graeme Dott.

Londoner Perry, who now looks set to return to the top 16 next season, went into the final session with a 5-4 lead, which became 6-4 after a break of 104.

But Dott won a close 11th before making 126 in the next to level the match.

Perry then reeled off 132, 82 and 88 breaks, and although Dott won the next, he held his nerve in the 17th to seal the win.

Scottish player Dott, who suffered his 16th straight defeat, explained that he came close to not competing because of his depression problem.

606: DEBATE

"I had withdrawn from the tournament a few weeks ago," said the 30-year-old.

"The press release had been written and I told my manager to release it but he wanted to wait a week.

"He then introduced me to psychologist Bob Burns. He said he didn't want me to come and I wasn't in the frame of mind to play until I picked up my cue last week.

"I am surprised at how I played, I felt great, really back to normal. Joe just beat me. I thought he played unbelievably well. He made four centuries and could easily have had six."

Perry added: "I played really good stuff to get 9-6 ahead but after that the tension was getting bigger and bigger by the minute.

"You try to stay positive but it's only human nature to have that little bit of doubt so I'm relieved to get over the line."



see also
World Championship draw
20 Apr 08 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
23 Apr 08 |  Snooker
Crucible champions
14 Apr 08 |  Snooker


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