Stephen Hendry’s Crucible comeback dream dashed as seven-time champion is thrashed by world No 82 Xu Si

2 weeks ago 8

STEPHEN HENDRY saw his comeback Crucible dream dashed as he was thrashed by China’s Xu Si. 

The snooker legend and record seven-time world champion was humbled 6-1 by China’s world No82 Xu in the second round of qualifying. 

Stephen Hendry’s hopes of a Crucible return were ended by China’s Xu Si

Scot Hendry, 52, was playing just a third match since emerging from nine years of retirement, and as well as looking well off the pace got no luck yesterday. 

A big turning point came in the second frame when needing just the final red to secure a 2-0 lead missed it allowing an opponent 29 years his junior to level at 1-1. 

And from there Xu’s confidence soared and fluent breaks of 75, 79, 51, 66 and 72 eased him over the line. 

Hendry, 52, said: “If you don’t put your opponents under pressure, then they can relax and play their natural game. 

“I had good chances to go 2-0 ahead and after that I didn’t contribute anything to the game. My game has got to improve, it doesn’t matter where the other player is ranked. 

“I made it far too easy for him tonight. I have to bring my practice table cue action to the match table. I hit the ball dreadfully, and that drains your confidence. 

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“The pink I missed right at the end was just like one I missed against Jimmy White, and I was thinking about it. Every shot becomes a test. 

“When you miss easy shots, you start to resign yourself that the night may not go well. I didn’t expect to win four matches, but hoped I might relax more tonight.” 

For Xu it was also a huge match, and the victory a big step for his hopes of salvaging his place on tour.

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