1997 World Champion Ken Doherty admits he could bow out of the professional game this year if he reaches the World Championship in Sheffield. The Irishman has struggled over the last few years but he battled past compatriot Josh Boileau to reach the second round of qualifying. The 48-year-old was never behind during the match and did lead 5-1 at one point before Boileau battled back to 9-8.
However, Doherty fought hard in the 18th frame to secure the victory, winning 10-8 to set up a tie against Gerard Greene. They will play on Sunday but Doherty admits that he always wanted to bow out at the Crucible. He told World Snooker: “It would be nice walking out into the arena as a player rather than a pundit. “When I am coming near to retirement, I think one last time playing at the Crucible would probably be my final swansong. Whether it is this year or next year, I don’t know. I am still in the tournament, I’m still battling away and I love the competition.”
A number of players have yet to come through their first-round qualifying matches. Wales’ Ryan Day is expected to beat Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo, while Mitchell Mann faces a tougher contest. He will take on Peter Lines and the pair are both 17/20 to win their match on Saturday. Peter Ebdon is also back in action and he is priced at 4/11 to beat James Wattana.