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Maltese Falcon flies highin Shanghai Masters qualifiers

Tony Drago (left) with Paul Mount.

Tony Drago (left) with Paul Mount.

Malta’s Tony Drago flew into the second round of the 2010 Shanghai Masters after beating China’s Xiao Guodong 5-2 at the EIS in Sheffield, yesterday.

Drago whistled into a 1-0 lead with a break of 73 and then followed it up with a sublime century, compiled in just five minutes 26 seconds.

The talented up and coming Chinese youngster made 38 and 67 to draw level at the interval.

On the resumption, Drago re-established his lead with a run of 46 and then dominated the sixth frame to go further ahead. A close seventh frame was resolved when the Maltese star took blue to black to secure victory.

Victory takes Drago into round three, just two wins from a trip to Shanghai in September. He will face the experienced Anthony Hamilton today.

Drago was delighted with his victory asserting that he played well and attributing his good early season form to the high quality match practice he gets at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, England.

Drago is managed by On Q Promotions and the brand news academy is the brain child of On Q boss Paul Mount. Over two million pounds have been invested in building the state-of-the-art facility to the highest specifications.

The Academy doubles up as both a top class venue, with eight World Snooker Star tables, a practice room with a further four tables and a superb purpose built 450-seater match arena, complete with television facilities, commentary boxes and tiered spectator seating.

Drago and his 18 fellow On Q Promotions players, including Jimmy White, Stephen Lee, Dominic Dale, and up and coming young star Jak Jones, who won the European U-19 championship in Qawra in March, all practise regularly at the Academy.

But it’s not just for those players, any player from anywhere in the world is able to book a day, week, month or a whole season’s residency at the academy.

Young players get the chance to practise with Drago or White and other up and coming youngsters who are honing their skills at the Gloucester facility.

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