Mark Selby beats Jimmy White

Qualifying Concludes in Riga Masters

The Riga Masters qualifying round came to a conclusion on Saturday as the week-long qualification for three events also came to an end at the Guild Hall.

Mark Selby Germany
Selby had a high break of 103 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

It was a final day of close encounter ands deciders, as many of the matches on a busy day in Preston went the full seven frames.

Again, like had been the case earlier in the week, shocks were at a premium but two Scots did find themselves suffering unexpected losses.

Stephen Maguire had failed to concede a single frame in his opening two matches of the campaign but came unstuck in a rematch with Chinese rookie Fang Xiongman.

Maguire whitewashed the 23 year-old to reach the World Open but Fang learned from his mistakes and sent the five-time ranking event winner crashing with three runs above 50.

Maguire’s countryman Alan McManus suffered a similar 4-2 defeat, the World Championship semi-finalist losing the last four frames to Jamie Cope.

Aside from that, the bigger names all progressed with Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham both easing past their challengers.

It was much more difficult for world champion Mark Selby, though, who in playing his first match of the campaign was pushed all the way to a decider by Thailand’s Akani Songsermsawad.

The world no.1 needed to win the last two frames, taking a nervy seventh frame on the last black to just about squeak through to Latvia, where he won in 2014.

There were last gasp victories too for Michael Holt and Mark Davis, while Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien survived a Sanderson Lam fight back to also prevail in the deciding frame.

Meanwhile, it was another good day for the large Chinese contingent as all six in action on Saturday made it through.

Joining Fang on the trip to eastern Europe will be Zhangs Anda and Yong, who each won 4-3, as well as Li Hang, Yan Bingtao and Chen Zhe.

The latter knocked out Josh Boileau to end a disappointing first week on the Main Tour for the Kildare cueist.

16 year-old Yan, a player who many hail as a star of the future and was one half of China’s World Cup winning team of 2015, whitewashed Mitchell Mann.

Elsewhere, Joe Perry edged Peter Ebdon 4-2 while Ali Carter and Martin Gould enjoyed comfortable 4-0 routs.

Birthday boy Martin O’Donnell celebrated a tight 4-3 triumph over Q-School finalist Daniel Womersley – some solace for the Englishman as he said goodbye to his twenties.

Elsewhere, Anthony McGill, Dechawat Poomjaeng, Lee Walker and Fraser Patrick all advanced, as did Englishmen Mark King, Jimmy Robertson, Andrew Higginson, Ian Burns, Sam Craigie, John Astley and Adam Duffy.

Click here to view the draw.

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