Dubai: Stephen Hendry inflicted another painful defeat on his former foe Jimmy White with a 6-3 win in qualifying for the World Snooker Championship.
Hendry, 52, who made an eagerly anticipated return to the professional tour last month after nearly nine years away, had a famous rivalry with White in the early 1990s.
The pair contested four world finals in the space of five years in Sheffield and Hendry prevailed on each occasion on his way to becoming a seven-time winner.
England’s White, 58, has never been able to get his hands on snooker’s top prize, despite featuring in six finals. The ‘Whirlwind’ last reached the main draw in 2006.
Hendry’s one-sided triumph in Monday’s first qualifying round came after a gruelling affair in which the only bright spot was a 66 clearance by the Scot in the sixth frame.
Hendry, who faces China’s Xu Si in the second qualifying round, said: “It wasn’t pretty and I kind of thought it would go that way because there was so much hype on it. There were some plusses — I made a nice clearance to go 5-1 ahead and I won a frame needing a snooker, which was a collector’s item.”
Defeat for White is likely to mean he will fall off the tour and require either success at qualifying school or a wild card to keep his career alive.
Hendry needs to win three more matches at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield to seal an unlikely return to the nearby Crucible.
The eagerly awaited match descended into an error-strewn contest and the first three frames took more than 100 minutes to complete.
White won a scrappy opener but Hendry took the next two and made a break of 53 in the fourth frame to lead 3-1 at the interval.
Hendry won the next two frames to take a 5-1 lead before White pulled two back, but with the tension building the Scot took his third opportunity to win the match. The World Championship starts on April 17.