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Dream over for Doherty

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Ken Doherty was defeated by Mark King

Ken Doherty was defeated by Mark King

Ken Doherty was defeated by Mark King

Ken Doherty's hopes of reaching the Crucible for the first time in six years were ended by Mark King yesterday after a 6-3 defeat in the penultimate round of qualifying.

The 1997 world champion kept alive his professional snooker career with victory against Fraser Patrick on Friday, but this meeting with King proved a step too far for the 50-year-old.

Doherty was 3-1 down at the mid-session interval after a 125 break from his Romford rival, but the Dubliner fought back with a break of 80 in frame six before he won frame seven as well.

Class

King's class told in the end though and he came through to set up a meeting with Ian Burns tomorrow.

A win for King will book him a return to the World Championship for the first time since 2013.

For Doherty, it could be the end of the road for his professional career unless he is handed an invitational tour card.

He had hoped to make it back to the Crucible again after last appearing at the Sheffield venue in 2014 when he stunned Stuart Bingham in the opening round before losing to Alan McManus.

Doherty's greatest triumph came in 1997 when he beat Stephen Hendry to win the World Championship, but he will not be back there this year.

Earlier in the day it was confirmed of the 202 tests carried out on players, officials and staff at the qualifying event, they all returned negative for Covid-19.

On Saturday, Jimmy White fell short in his latest bid to return to the World Championship as he was beaten by Robert Milkins in the penultimate qualifying round.

The six-time finalist, who has not competed at the Crucible since 2006, lost 6-1 to Milkins at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport.

Moment

A crucial moment came when White, at 3-1 down, sunk the cue ball while potting a black that would have won him the frame.

The third qualifying round also saw last year's surprise semi-finalist Gary Wilson crash out after losing 6-3 to Switzerland's Alexander Ursenbacher.

Ursenbacher, bidding to become the first player from his country to play in the World Championship, fired his highest professional break of 141 in the opening frame and was never behind in the match.

Ali Carter, the 2008 and 2012 runner-up, was another to exit, being defeated 6-3 by Louis Heathcote.