Ashley Hugill knocked out of snooker’s Northern Ireland Open

    ASHLEY HUGILL suffered a second straight qualifying defeat after losing 4-0 to Fan Zhengyi at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.

    The Melbourne snooker star lost each frame to the Chinese talent which saw him exit a ranking event before the main draw once again, following a 4-3 qualifying loss to Robbie Williams in the Cazoo British Open.

    The first frame was the most closely fought of the four at the Robin Park Leisure Center in Wigan, with Zhengyi edging it 70-63.

    Former BetVictor European Masters champion Zhengyi prevailed 59-31 to double his lead before a 68 break – the only half-century break of the match – led his 85-0 win to put him within one of victory.

    Hugill was unable to mount a remarkable comeback nor get a frame on the board as his 21-year-old opponent, who his the world ranked number 37, finished with a 58-13 frame victory.

    Earlier this season, world number 95 Hugill finished with two draws and a defeat in the group stages of the BetVictor Championship League.

    Later this term, the York ace defeated Belgium’s Julien Leclercq 5-1 to qualify for the main draw of the European Masters, before suffering a 5-3 first-round defeat to 2019 world champion and Triple Crown winner Judd Trump.

    Hugill is set to return to the table in the BetVictor Scottish Open qualifiers, which begin on Sunday, October 9 at Cannock.

    The 27-year-old has thrice previously made the main draw of the Scottish Open, with his 2017 run to the fourth round of the tournament his best showing in a current ranking event to date.

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