European Masters qualifiers
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Two 147 breaks in European Masters qualifiers

The first batch of European Masters qualifiers over the weekend saw two players compile their first 147 breaks.

On Saturday, Zhang Anda orchestrated the perfect break in a 5-1 defeat of Ukraine’s Anton Kazakov, while Hossein Vafaei repeated the trick on Sunday against Ng On Yee.

It brought the total number of maximum breaks made in competitive play to 178 and marked the first two from the new 2022/23 snooker season.

Zhang and Hossein are set to share the £5,000 prize on offer for achieving the feat in the preliminary competition.

It was a busy three days of action, meanwhile, as the European Masters qualifiers commenced at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

There were wins for Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham, and Zhao Xintong – each booking their spots in the main draw of the tournament in Furth next month.

Williams was involved in a particularly tricky tie, fighting back from 4-2 down to Liam Highfield to pip the Englishman in a decider on the final black.

It was somewhat more routine for the other three, albeit Bingham was made to work for his 5-3 success over Michael Holt, the latter participating as an amateur top-up.

Yan Bingtao and Barry Hawkins were two other members from the top 16 to safely advance to the last 64.

Elsewhere, three-time former ranking event winner Marco Fu produced his best result since making his comeback to the sport.

The Hong Kong cueist compiled breaks of 115, 69, and 67 in a comprehensive 5-1 triumph over David Gilbert.

Stephen Maguire was among the higher profile casualties with the Scot being downed in a 5-4 thriller by Oliver Brown.

Arguably the result of the first batch of qualifiers came on Sunday when Jimmy Robertson clawed his way back from 4-0 behind to deny Zhao Jianbo in a deciding frame.

Three players with amateur status also progressed, with Rory McLeod ousting Elliot Slessor and Daniel Wells and Haydon Pinhey beating Peter Lines and Matthew Selt respectively.

Among some of the others to qualify were Chinese youngsters Si Jiahui, Lyu Haotian, and Chang Bingyu.

Veterans Anthony Hamilton, Andy Hicks, and Dominic Dale won their opening matches as well – Dale with a 5-3 victory against Welsh Open champion Joe Perry.

There will be three more days of European Masters qualifiers action next weekend in Leicester.

Click here to view the European Masters draw (times: CET)

Featured photo credit: WST

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