Riga Masters qualifiers

Stephen Maguire Loses in Riga Masters Qualifiers

Stephen Maguire and Michael White were among the casualties as the Riga Masters qualifiers continued on Tuesday at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.

Maguire, runner-up two years ago in the Latvian tournament, got his 2019/20 campaign off to a disappointing start after suffering a 4-2 reverse against Liam Highfield.

With a weakened field lining up for the season’s opening ranking event, Maguire would have been hoping to take advantage in an attempt to safeguard his position within the elite top 16.

But Highfield, who is pushing for a berth inside the top 50 for the first time in his career, compiled breaks of 95, 83, and 60 in a measured display to see off the Scot.

Two-time ranking event winner White, meanwhile, failed to sufficiently dust off the cobwebs with Poland’s Adam Stefanow taking advantage for a 4-0 hammering of the Welshman.

Stefanow is in need of an improved season after not impressing on his debut term last year and will be looking for more ranking points in his attempt to safeguard his professional status.

Elsewhere in the Riga Masters qualifiers, there were close victories for the likes of former world champion Graeme Dott, Shoot Out king Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and world number 11 Jack Lisowski.

Dott and Un-Nooh, who compiled a brace of century breaks, were taken the distance before outlasting respective challenge from Robbie Williams and Eden Sharav.

Lisowski encountered David Lilley, the 42 year-old making his maiden bow at this level after graduating from Q School last month, and prevailed against his fellow Englishman thanks to runs of 83, 63, 57, and 55.

Three amateur players, competing as top-ups in the absence of some of the circuit regulars, successfully upset the odds to reach the venue stages.

Lukas Kleckers and Allan Taylor faced two other players who emerged from Q School in May, overcoming Riley Parsons and Lei Peifan respectively.

Parsons began his professional career with an impressive century break and subsequently went 2-0 in front, but couldn’t sustain it against his young German opponent.

Christopher Keogan was the day’s other amateur winner, holding off a late charge from Andy Lee to advance with a 4-3 scoreline.

Among the others to make it through were Xiao Guodong and Alexander Ursenbacher, who each triumphed with 4-1 results.

English quartet Stuart Carrington, Craig Steadman, Mark Joyce, and Brandon Sargeant joined them in the next round, in addition to Scott Donaldson who won a battle of the Scots with Fraser Patrick.

Live coverage of the Riga Masters qualifiers is on the Eurosport Player.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)

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