Stephen Hendry: ‘I made it too easy for my opponent’

The seven-time world champion won’t be returning to the Crucible Theatre this year.

The 2021 World Snooker Championship is over for Stephen Hendry after a one-sided 6-1 defeat to Xu Si in Sheffield on Wednesday.

The Scot won a scrappy opening fixture against old foe Jimmy White in the first round but wasn’t able to build on that momentum with an improved performance at the English Institute of Sport.

Hendry won the opening frame and had a good opportunity to take the second as well, but after Xu pinched it on the black it was one-way traffic.

“I had two or three chances to go 2-0 up and from then on I didn’t really offer any resistance to my opponent,” Stephen Hendry said in his post-match press conference with the World Snooker Tour.

“He basically capitalised on all my mistakes and it doesn’t matter how low a player is ranked, if you make it easy for them they are still going to pot balls and win the frames.”

“I wasn’t able to put him under any pressure at all. (In the second frame) I got in and made 49, played a terrible positional shot, and in the old days that would have been 2-0.

“He gained in confidence because I made it very easy for him – some of my safety play was okay, but if I ever thought that I’d be saying my safety play was the best part of my game that’s a nightmare really.

“I just made it too easy for my opponent tonight, he’s a good solid player, he’s got talent, and he has a nice cue action. It remains to be seen how far he goes this week, but I wish him luck.

“I’ll certainly play in more events next year, but if I’m still not able to bring my practice cue action into a match situation then there’s no point really.

“The whole point is to see if I can play my natural game out there – so far I haven’t managed to do it – we’ll give it a go next year and see what happens.”

Elsewhere on day three at the qualifiers, former World Championship runner-up Nigel Bond reached the penultimate round with a 6-4 victory against Lee Walker.

The 55 year-old was a beaten finalist against Hendry 26 years ago, and following the triumph Bond now looks certain to finish the campaign ranked among the top 64, thus guaranteeing tour safety.

Dominic Dale and Liam Highfield were the other two competitors to advance to the third round with respective victories over Oliver Lines and Fan Zhengyi.

Live coverage of the World Championship qualifiers is available on the Eurosport App and Matchroom.Live.

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