China’s Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao opened their Beverly World Cup campaign with a 4-1 defeat of Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg and Lukas Kleckers in their group stage encounter in Wuxi.
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Both Ding and Yan are former World Cup winners and hold strong pedigree in the event. Two-time champion Ding is defending his title this week, having been victorious in the most recent running of the event in 2017 alongside Liang Wenbo. Yan sensationally won the event as part of China’s B team in 2015 with Zhou Yuelong.
This afternoon’s group A match saw an impressive performance from 13-time ranking event winner Ding, who is competing for the first time this season. Ding fired in breaks of 73, 104 and 83 as he and Yan saw off the German duo with relative ease.
Elsewhere in the group, Norway’s team of Kurt Maflin and amateur Christopher Watts secured a shock 3-2 comeback win over Thailand to open their account with a victory. The Norwegians had trailed 2-0 before surging back to victory by taking the doubles and the remaining two singles frames.
The group also provided another surprise as Austria’s amateur duo Andreas Ploner and Florian Neussle defeated Poland’s Kacper Filipiak and Adam Stefanow 3-2.
In group B England’s Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski survived a scare against Hong Kong in their opening match, coming through 3-2. While Northern Ireland’s team of Mark Allen and Jordan Brown beat Saudi Arabia 4-1.
Mark Williams extended his impressive World Cup group stage record, as he and Ryan Day secured a 4-1 win for Wales over India in group D. 2018 World Champion Williams has lost just one group stage match in five World Cups. Meanwhile China’s B team whitewashed Australia 5-0 and Switzerland edged past Malta 3-2.
Scotland’s John Higgins and Stephen Maguire got themselves up and running with a 4-1 defeat of Cyprus in group C. They are in a three-way tie for top spot after Belgium also secured a 4-1 win against the UAE. Israel were the other comfortable winners in the group, they defeated Malaysia 4-1.