Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Mark Mann-Bryans, PA

Moldovan teenager Vladislav Gradinari went from a country with just “three or four” snooker tables to becoming the youngest player to win a televised match.

The 14-year-old beat three-time women’s world champion Ng On-yee in the first round of the one-frame BetVictor Snooker Shootout in Leicester.

The momentous victory sees Gradinari, who lives in Leeds, advance into the next round at the Morningside Arena as he explained snooker is not the most accessible sport in his homeland.

“It is not really popular, we have three or four tables in the whole country,” the reigning England under-14 champion told World Snooker Tour.

“It (the win) feels amazing. I played my best game, at the table I felt calm. At the age of seven I started playing snooker and we moved here two years ago.”

World number seven Mark Williams, beaten finalist in the Shootout last year, also made it through to round two by racking up 98 points in victory over Craig Steadman.

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei beat Williams last year but will not retain his title after losing to former world champion Shaun Murphy.

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