White European Masters qualifiers
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Jimmy White among European Masters qualifiers

Jimmy White won his first Main Tour match in almost a year at the European Masters qualifiers in Leicester on Sunday.

The 10-time ranking event winner fought back from 4-2 down to deny Andrew Pagett in a 5-4 thriller at the Morningside Arena.

White compiled a run of 58 to reduce the arrears to one before a terrific 133 century contribution forced a scrappy decider, from which he prevailed thanks to sinking the final pink.

It avenged the 60 year-old’s defeat to the same opponent in the World Snooker Championship qualifiers at the end of the 2021/22 snooker season.

White will be among the European Masters qualifiers who will participate at the venue stages of the competition in Furth next month.

The second batch of preliminaries for the ranking tournament also saw the likes of Shaun Murphy, Luca Brecel, and Ricky Walden progress.

Murphy beat Dean Young 5-3, while Brecel and Walden earned easier triumphs against Andy Lee and Alfie Burden respectively.

There were a couple of notable upsets, however, with seeded contenders John Higgins and Mark Allen both bowing out at the first hurdle.

Higgins was downed 5-3 by fellow Scotsman Scott Donaldson, while Allen lost out by the same scoreline to Farakh Ajaib.

Former world champion Graeme Dott, ex-Crucible finalists Matthew Stevens and Ali Carter, and former Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown were a few of the others to make it through the initial test.

Jack Lisowski, Zhou Yuelong, Ryan Day, and Anthony McGill were also successful in their qualifying fixtures ahead of the trip to Germany.

Elsewhere, Michael White continued his strong start to the new season with a 5-0 hiding of Martin Gould while Gibraltar Open champion Robert Milkins also bagelled Lu Ning.

World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, defending champion Fan Zhengyi will play their qualifying matches at the venue in addition to Judd Trump and Mark Selby.

The tournament proper takes place from August 16-21.

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Featured photo credit: WST

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