China crisis for tour pros

Updated: 2007-03-27 14:48

China's growing stature in snooker was underlined today as three of the four wild card players beat their professional opponents.

Only Joe Swail survived the home surge in the afternoon session at the Honghe Industrial 2007 World Snooker China Open in Beijing, and he had to come from 3-0 and 4-2 down to beat Jin Long 5-4.

Li Hang beat Ian Preece 5-4 on the black while Mei Xiwen saw off Alfie Burden 5-2 and Xiao Guodong (pictured giving his reaction to the local media) scored a 5-3 win over Tom Ford.

Mei admitted: "I did not think I could win. But I fought very hard," after a surprise victoty which could end Londoner Burden's hopes of keeping his place on the Tour.

A break of 64 in the first frame set the 24-year-old from the Hubei Province on the way to a 4-0 lead. Burden pulled two frames back before the Chinese player sealed victory in the seventh.

Xiao came from 2-1 down to lead Leicester's Ford 4-2 with a top run of 75. Ford won the next with a 69 before Xiao won the eighth on a respotted black.

Newport's Preece came from 4-2 down to 4-4 with 59 and 71 only for Li to win the decider 57-55 on the black.

Belfast's Swail got the better of his deciding frame against Jin, winning it 64-30.

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