Stephen Hendry beats Jimmy White in World Championship qualifying

Hendry (right) retired in 2012 after losing at the World Championships

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry beat old rival Jimmy White in the first round of qualifying for this year’s World Championship.

The Scot, playing just his second match since coming out of retirement, came through 6-3 in Sheffield.

The 52-year-old must win another three rounds in qualifying to reach the World Championship, which begins on 17 April.

Defeat for White, 58, means he is likely to lose his place on the tour next season.

Hendry and White have one of the most famous rivalries in the sport – Hendry having won their four world finals at the Crucible between 1990 and 1994 – and were practising together before the draw was made.

The standard was far below their previous 60 matches but Hendry, who retired after his last appearance at the Crucible in 2012, came through an edgy encounter riddled with mistakes by both players.

He showed his familiar fighting qualities in the third frame, which he clinched despite needing a snooker with only pink and black remaining.

He punished White again in the sixth when, after the Londoner missed a red when leading 62-0, he cleared the table for a 5-1 lead.

Both players struggled in subsequent frames as White cut the deficit but Hendry closed out the win with a break of 52 shortly before midnight.

Hendry, who lost to Matthew Selt in his only previous match since his comeback, will face China’s Xu Si next.

White may now have to return to Q School to keep his place on the tour, or rely on a wild card.

Earlier, Andy Hicks reached the second qualifying round by beating 12-time women’s world champion Reanne Evans 6-2.

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