The WSS reigning World Champion, Jimmy White, is playing in his 40th professional snooker World Championship. He needs to win four matches to reach the Crucible stage. The last time he reached that stage was in 2006.
Here are the reports by Eurosport on those two matches:
World Snooker Championship: Jimmy White makes winning start to qualifying
Jimmy White made a highest break of only 58, but was still good enough to complete a 6-3 win over Russian amateur Ivan Kakovskii in his opening qualifier in Sheffield.
The six-times world finalist – runner-up in 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – last played at the Crucible Theatre in 2006, but has not given up hope of returning to the sport’s biggest stage by coming through four qualifying rounds.
“My focus was in and out. I was expecting great things, but it didn’t happen. I’ve been practising hard and producing good stuff, but when you come to a tournament you want to win so bad and make so many unforced errors, it’s mind-blowing sometimes.
“But that’s why the game is so exciting. I’ve got a bit of conjunctivitis and I think that’s because I’m revved up and ready to go.”
White’s 21-year-old opponent was not even born when he lost 18-17 to Stephen Hendry in his last world final appearance 26 years ago, but he still had too much for his young rival at the English Institute of Sport.
Kakovskii made a break of 60 to level at 1-1 and a 76 to close to 4-3 behind, but the 1992 UK champion finished strongly with runs of 54 and 58 seeing him progress to a match with former Shoot-Out champion Michael Georgiou on Thursday afternoon.
“From 4-2 up, I stole a couple of frames, but when it went 4-3 I felt okay then and it is nice to know I have it in the armoury when I’m under pressure to feel okay,” added White.
“I’ve got to stay focused against Michael and can’t get too ahead of myself. Everybody wants to get to the World Championship and show your class over the longer distance.”
This is Jimmy speaking to WST after his first round win:
World Snooker Championship: Jimmy White keeps dream alive with tense win over Michael Georgiou.
Jimmy White fought back from trailing 3-1 to complete a 6-4 qualifying victory over world number 62 Michael Georgiou, who is set to lose his tour card after a tense defeat.
The six-times world finalist – runner-up in 1984, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 – used all his matchplay skills to progress to the third qualifying round despite struggling for any fluency in a nervy and often scrappy encounter at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
At the age of 58, White, the oldest player on the professional tour who competes via an invitational tour card, dominated the final frame of the match to secure a meeting with Robert Milkins in the penultimate round of qualifying, but will know he will have to score heavier with a 54 in the fifth frame his best contribution of the day.
“I was in out and out of focus. At 3-1 behind, I was dead and buried the way I played,” said White.
“In the fifth frame, Michael let me off a couple of times. I thought, ‘I’m going to have to make him win this’ and when it went to 3-3 I really fancied the job.
“During lockdown, it’s been really strange times, but about 10 weeks ago I was lucky enough to get into my club and I just practised solid.
“The last two weeks, I’ve played some good players and was competing against them so my game is there.
“Hopefully, I can gain a bit of confidence and get out the traps quickly against Rob Milkins because the standard is getting better and you have to win a lot more frames at one visit.
“I’m very confident in my game. I know it’s there, it is just finding it. When you are younger, it is easy to switch into the zone. I’ve got through today so I’ll kick on from there.”
‘The Whirlwind’ is only two wins away from his first visit to the Crucible Theatre for the first round of the sport’s biggest tournament since 2006 in what is astonishingly his 40th appearance at the World Championship.
It is a bitter pill to swallow for former Shoot Out winner Georgiou, who enjoyed breaks of 70, 53 and 121 yet still fell to defeat as he faces up returning to qualifying school to win back his tour card a year after himself reaching the Crucible.
Here is Jimmy’s interview after beating Michael Georgiou:
Tomorrow, next up for Jimmy is Robert Milkins.