Zhao Xintong beat Jamie Clarke 10-2 at the Crucible in the first round of the World Championship.
The 25-year-old did most of the hard work on Saturday morning, where he established a convincing 7-2 lead over Clarke, inclusive of two centuries and five 70+ breaks in total. He finished the job off a day later in excellent style, blowing his opponent away in the first three frames without reply.
Clarke - who had a lot to do to turn the match on its head - came out and gave it a go, but he was far from clinical enough to have any chance of catching Zhao, who continued his fine form in just his second-ever World Championship appearance.
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The promising Chinese talent stretched his lead to six frames with an 88 break, unluckily failing to reach his third century of the tie when the pink rattled out of the bottom right.
In similar fashion Zhao managed to see out the 11th frame in second gear. He lost concentration slightly as he took his eye off a simple red to the bottom right to end his break on 82, but with just one more frame needed, he did not seem too bothered.
Clarke managed to get points on the board for the first time in the 12th frame, gambling everything on a long, slow red to the green pocket which dropped in. A break of 19 followed, before he left a thin cut on a red in the jaws of the bottom right. Zhao replied with eight before missing a pink to the right middle to leave the frame in the balance.
Clarke then left one of the three remaining reds over the left middle, and a swift 13 from Zhao meant Clarke needed a snooker. He potted red, black and yellow, and then laid a snooker on the green.
Zhao attempted to swerve and hit it, but missed the green, leaving the frame wide open. Clarke went close but left it in the jaws, setting up Zhao to drop it in, which meant Clarke needed another snooker. He left the brown over the bottom left though, which all but brought the tie to an end.
Zhao replied by sinking brown and blue, and for comical effect played the black before the pink, as the frame ended before the interval to confirm his place in the second round.
He will face either Shaun Murphy or Stephen Maguire, with Maguire currently leading 6-3 after the first nine frames. The pair will conclude their tie on Sunday evening.
Also in action on Sunday morning was Anthony McGill and Liam Highfield, as they began their first round battle. Highfield took the lead in the opening frame, before McGill replied well to take the following two.
McGill started to assert his quality and pull away from Highfield, as he also banked the third frame to lead 3-1 at the interval.
The Scottish player stretched his lead to three frames before Highfield replied to reduce the deficit, but McGill quickly restored his three-frame lead to make it 5-2.
Highfield scored a match-high of 94 to reduce McGill’s lead once more, only for the Scotsman to take the final frame of the round and take a 6-3 lead into Monday's second session.
Watch and stream all the action from the World Snooker Championship 2022 on Eurosport and discovery+.
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