Mark Selby Arrives

Mark Selby Arrives in Belgium with Win

A tired Mark Selby flew into Belgium barely a day after his China Championship success on the other side of the world and duly beat Sam Craigie 4-1 in the last 64 of the European Masters on Tuesday.

Mark Selby Arrives
Selby won his 15th ranking title in Guangzhou. Photo credit: World Snooker

The world number one overcame John Higgins, who was a late withdrawal from proceedings in Lommel, 10-9 to lift the fourth ranking title of the season in a showdown that went well beyond midnight on Sunday night.

But Selby maintained his commitment to playing and immediately returned to Europe to see off his fellow Englishman despite only boasting one break above 50.

Two-time defending champion Judd Trump looked in sharper fettle as compiled runs of 87, 72, and 60 in comfortably disposing of Liam Highfield thanks to a second whitewash win of the week.

Trump is bidding to become the first player in more than 20 years to win the same tournament in three consecutive campaigns.

The 29 year-old is beset with inconsistency troubles but one country where things have often gone right for him is in Belgium.

Not only did he reign again in the European Masters twelve months ago – following his initial success in the tournament when it was staged in Romania in 2016 – but he also triumphant in the 2011 Antwerp Open and scored his maiden 147 break in the same event two years later.

Home favourite Luca Brecel, meanwhile, also advanced to the last 32 after a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Luo Honghao.

Brecel has struggled for form since capturing his first ranking title in Guangzhou last year but will be hoping to take inspiration from playing in front of his faithful fans.

The 23 year-old trailed his Chinese opponent 2-1 but pinched a close fourth frame on the black before growing in confidence, with breaks of 69 and 109 sealing his place in the next round.

The major upsets saw Barry Hawkins suffer a rare bad day at the office, losing all four frames in a resounding 4-0 defeat to Craig Steadman, while Riga Masters champion Neil Robertson fell 4-2 to Andrew Higginson in a high-scoring battle.

World Open runner-up David Gilbert was involved in a tight affair with Elliot Slessor and appeared to grab control of their decider with a break of 62 but the challenger responded with a magnificent 68 clearance to win 4-3.

It was a mixed day for the large group of Chinese cueists in the draw with Yan Bingtao and the in-form Zhao Xintong – a semi-finalist in last week’s event – losing to veterans Alan McManus and Mark King respectively.

Zhang Yong also fell in a late reverse against Jimmy Robertson but Zhou Yuelong beat former world champion Ken Doherty and Liang Wenbo fought back from 3-1 down to deny Alfie Burden.

Elsewhere, Ali Carter overcame Peter Ebdon 4-1, a scoreline that was matched by Mark Allen as the Masters champion ousted Ashley Hugill and Ricky Walden in his victory over Rory McLeod.

Among the others to move into the next round were Mark Davis, Gary Wilson, Ross Muir, and Jak Jones.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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