Martin O'Donnell celebrated becoming a father for the second time by topping Group G at the new WST Pro Series ranking event in Milton Keynes.

The world number 49 sealed his place in the last 32 in March with a 2-0 win over Rory McLeod in his final group game as UK Championship semi-finalist Lu Ning edged out world number 20 Gary Wilson, who made the third 147 of his career in a 2-1 defeat to Liam Highfield.

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Wilson's effort is the 166th in the history of the sport and the 11th since last February when Kyren Wilson rolled in the 156th against Jackson Page at the Welsh Open.

The 2019 World Championship semi-finalist's brilliant break was not enough to progress and comes amid his revelation that he has been battling depression during the Championship League in early January when he apologised for throwing the cue at the white ball during a match with John Higgins.

"I’m just totally gone, including snooker. I can’t play at all. Feel the worst I’ve ever felt and can’t see a way back anymore. I let John back in and apologised for the foul as he was plumb in. All I could do," he said on Twitter.

Wilson told Eurosport in an exclusive interview that cowboy builders at his house in Tyneside had taken its toll on his snooker career.

Meanwhile, O'Donnell – who enjoyed five wins from seven matches and top scored with 116 in a 2-0 win over Highfield – admits he is thrilled with wife Anna giving birth before Christmas to Thomas after using the first lockdown last March to spend time with his other son Charlie.

"He was born on the 20th of December so Christmas was a nice distraction for us," said the 34-year-old Londoner. "We're buzzing and over the moon. Our family is complete now.

"The first lockdown gave me the chance to bond with my son because with this game you are away from home a lot.

"Those three months gave me and Charlie the time to bond. Lockdown is tricky for a lot of people, but I'm just fortunate I can forget about things a little bit."

Kyren Wilson and Sunny Akani progressed from Group B on Tuesday and also return to Milton Keynes for the last 32 when four more groups of eight are contested to decide who reaches the final group stage.

Joe Perry and Xiao Guodong booked their places in the second group phase by finishing in the top two places in Group M on Monday.

Scene setter

This will be the first edition of the WST Pro Series, which has arrived on the snooker scene for 2021.

The legendary Stephen Hendry was set to make his eagerly-anticipated comeback, but withdrew on Friday January 15 and was replaced by John Astley. Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Mark Selby are also in the draw.

The WST Pro Series will offer up total prize money of £420,500 and will take place at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.

What is the format?

The players have been split into 16 groups of eight for the initial round-robin phase. All matches are best-of-three frames, and the top two in each group will progress to the second group stage.

The second phase will feature 32 players split into four groups of eight, and the top two in each group will then progress.

The player who finishes top of the final group of eight players will be crowned the champion of the inaugural edition of the event.

Schedule

  • January 18-25: Groups 1-8
  • March 9-16: Groups 9-16
  • March 17-20: Second group stage
  • March 21: Final group
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