Mark King ends Ken Doherty’s Crucible hopes

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Ken Doherty’s hopes of reaching the Crucible for the first time in six years were ended by Mark King on Sunday 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 Irishman fought back with a break of 80 in frame six before he won frame seven as well.

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

Mark King reached the last 16 of the World Championships in 2013
Mark King reached the last 16 of the World Championships in 2013 (Mike Egerton/PA)

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.

Graeme Dott, the 2006 world champion, took another step towards a Crucible return with a 6-0 win over David Grace.

The Scot is looking to appear at the tournament for the 20th time in the last 21 years.

After his whitewash, Dott will face Martin Gould in a battle to decide who qualifies for the first round.

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.

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