European Masters qualifiers
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Selby and Ding Escape European Masters Qualifiers

The European Masters qualifiers concluded on Thursday with recent tour winners Mark Selby and Ding Junhui confirming their spots at the venue stages in Austria next month.

Last weekend’s Scottish Open champion Selby came from 2-1 down to beat Jimmy White while Ding, the UK champion from the start of this month, edged another all-time great in Peter Ebdon 5-3.

The first ranking event in Austria will be a mixed bag of players right up and down the rankings list after several more stars fell by the wayside in the second round of the qualifiers.

Mark Allen was thrashed 5-0 by Lu Ning, Shaun Murphy fell in a 5-2 reverse to Alfie Burden, while Stuart Bingham was pipped in a decider against Liang Wenbo.

Jack Lisowski, a runner-up in Glasgow on Sunday, suffered a similar fate as he fought back from 4-0 behind to Jackson Page only to lose the deciding frame.

Ryan Day, Tom Ford, Matthew Selt, and Noppon Saengkham were other higher ranked players to exit in the preliminaries at the Barnsley Metrodome.

However, there was joy for former world champion Mark Williams, Neil Robertson, and Graeme Dott.

Williams has taken a lot of time away from the game of late, skipping three tournaments in the last few weeks, and his patience was rewarded with a 5-0 drubbing of Eden Sharav.

Dott matched that scoreline with a convincing victory over Kurt Maflin while Robertson held off a late revival against Gerard Greene to eventually prevail 5-3.

John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Gary Wilson, Barry Hawkins, and Ali Carter all kept their hopes alive of a first ranking event triumph of the season as well.

Among some of the other names to advance were Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Lyu Haotian after defeating Luo Honghao and Li Hang in respective 5-4 thrillers.

More than a quarter of the field will be made up of Chinese competitors with Riga Masters champion Yan Bingtao, Xiao Guodong, Zhou Yuelong, and Tian Pengfei making it through too.

Elsewhere in the qualifiers, Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien boosted his tour survival hopes with a 5-3 success against the struggling Fraser Patrick.

Marco Fu, Luca Brecel, Robert Milkins, Michael Holt, and Daniel Wells are others who will be booking flights to the continent.

Alongside the German Masters, Shoot Out, and Gibraltar Open, the European Masters is included in a new European Series that offers a £150,000 bonus to the player who performs the best across the four tournaments in the series.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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