SNOOKER: Hendry enters 21st century

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN HENDRY produced one of his trademark comebacks yesterday to stay in the running to win the China Open and reclaim the No 1 world ranking.

The Scot found himself on the verge of falling victim to Joe Perry when he trailed 4-3 and by 50 points midway through the eighth frame. But Hendry then conjured up yet another unlikely escape to secure a semi-final with Stephen Lee.

"There's no doubt Joe should have beaten me. To say I'm very relieved is an understatement," admitted Hendry. "Reputation is worth a lot to the top players. People start to get edgy against me when the winning line looms up. That's obviously a big advantage to have."

Breaks of 49, 66 and 44 helped Hendry build a 3-2 lead. However, when the world No 34 Perry countered with runs of 59 and 90 to lead 4-3 he looked on course to mark his debut in a world-ranking event quarter-final with a surprise victory.

Hendry plunged into even deeper trouble when Perry established a 50-point gap in the eighth frame. But the 25-year-old from Wisbech missed a red from short range, before a fortuitous snooker from Hendry allowed the world champion to tie the match. Hendry then finished it off in style by amassing a 103 break, his 21st century of the season.