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Mark Selby Keeps Pace in BetVictor European Series Race

It’s the last event before the £150,000 bonus is awarded.

Mark Selby beat Sam Craigie 4-1 in the Gibraltar Open on Tuesday to maintain his aspirations of claiming the BetVictor European Series bonus.

The Englishman is chasing down current order of merit leader Judd Trump in what is the final leg of six in the rankings race.

The player who accumulates the most money across the six tournaments will receive the lucrative jackpot.

Trump, who beat Robbie Williams on Monday, is bidding to make it back-to-back successes in the mid-season series and boasts a £6,500 lead over Selby on the provisional BetVictor European Series list.

The pair could face off against one another in a winner-takes-all semi-final bout later in the competition.

European Masters and Scottish Open champion Selby was in good form during his first-round fixture, compiling a brace of century breaks to reach the last 64.

Meanwhile, all eyes were on Stephen Hendry as the seven-time world champion made his eagerly anticipated comeback to the professional Main Tour.

The Scot didn’t disappoint, compiling a trademark ton to level the scores with Matthew Selt early on, but the latter delivered a strong display of his own to see off the veteran’s challenge.

While more match practice is needed, there is definitely some reason to hope that Hendry can have an impact during his second stint on the circuit.

The 52 year-old’s former sparring partner Jimmy White secured a morale-boosting win earlier on day, fighting his way back from 3-0 behind with breaks of 75, 74, 54, and 90 to pip Joe O’Connor in a decider.

Ken Doherty was another 4-3 winner as the Dubliner denied Matthew Stevens in what was a repeat of the Masters final from 21 years ago.

Kyren Wilson, Mark Williams, Jack Lisowski, and Barry Hawkins were among the other marquee names who progressed beyond the opening hurdle.

For Lisowski and Hawkins in particular, any win at the moment is vital in their scrap to be inside the world’s top 16 ahead of the World Championship next month.

Welshman Jamie Jones compiled the tournament’s highest break so far – a magnificent 145 – to beat Steven Hallworth and Martin Gould overcame David Grace by the same 4-2 margin.

Zhao Xintong, Andrew Higginson, Elliot Slessor, and amateur Leo Fernandez were a few of the others to advance unscathed.

On Wednesday, the round of 128 continues with Neil Robertson in action in addition to former Gibraltar Open champions Ryan Day and Stuart Bingham.

Live coverage is on Eurosport and various other platforms around the world.

Click here to view the full draw. (Scheduled times in CET)

Featured photo credit: WST

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