Stephen Hendry suffered a miserable 5-0 defeat to old rival Matthew Stevens on Thursday in the first round of German Masters qualifying at Leicester's Morningside Arena.
The pair first met at the 1996 Grand Prix with Hendry defeating the Welshman 13-5 in the quarter-finals of the 1999 World Championship, scene of Hendry's seventh and final world title triumph at the Crucible Theatre.
Stevens also edged out Hendry 10-8 in the 2003 UK Championship final, but their latest duel was never in doubt as world No. 49 Stevens made breaks of 61 and 78 in easing through to the last 64 and a meeting with UK finalist Ding Junhui on Saturday morning.
Five more players suspended from competing on the WST with immediate effect
Hendry's latest defeat sees him continue to struggle for wins among the sport's elite.
He retired after losing 13-2 to fellow Scot Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals of the 2012 World Championship due to a decline in consistency, but decided to return in 2021 after being handed a wildcard to compete on the main tour by former WST chairman Barry Hearn in 2020.
He made his 776th career century in a 4-1 defeat to Matthew Selt at the Gibraltar Open, but has toiled to recapture the peak form of his halcyon days when he lifted seven world titles between 1990 and 1999.
Hendry has so far won only three out of 14 matches, including a 6-3 World Championship qualifying victory over Jimmy 'Whirlwind' White, the man he famously defeated in four world finals.
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Ding saw Mark Allen recover from 6-1 behind to complete a 10-7 win in the UK Championship final on Sunday, but quickly returned to the winning habit with a 5-1 dismissal of former Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown.
Ding made breaks of 59 and 90 on his way to leading 3-0. Brown won the fourth frame with a 55 but lost the sixth frame despite contributing 53 before Ding finished with a majestic 143 to move within one win of a place in Berlin.
The last 32 qualify for the finals venue in Berlin between February 1-5, 2023, live on discovery+ and Eurosport.
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Thursday's German Masters qualifying results
- Si Jiahui 5-3 Xu Si
- Ben Woollaston 5-2 Stuart Bingham
- Ryan Thomerson 5-1 Dylan Emery
- Joe Perry 5-3 Oliver Lines
- Chris Wakelin 5-2 John Astley
- Andy Hicks 5-2 David Gilbert (Gilbert conceded trailing 2-3 and 1-56)
- Matthew Stevens 5-0 Stephen Hendry
- Luca Brecel 5-2 Chang Bingyu
- Ding Junhui 5-1 Jordan Brown
- Barry Pinches 5-4 Ben Mertens
- Lukas Kleckers 5-1 Himanshu Jain
- Robert Milkins 5-3 Graeme Dott
- Luca Brecel 5-2 Chang Bingyu
- Jack Lisowski 5-3 Jackson Page
- Ali Carter 5-2 Robbie Williams
- Elliot Slessor 5-4 Sanderson Lam
- Ross Muir 5-3 Liam Highfield
- Xiao Guodong 5-4 Hossein Vafaei
- Zhang Anda 5-2 James Cahill
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