The first batch of qualifiers for the 2023/24 snooker season takes place this week with the preliminary round for the European Masters draw.
Following the conclusion of the Championship League last week, the action continues at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
Shaun Murphy emerged triumphantly from a four-week long slog of a campaign-launching tournament on Friday, capturing a 12th career ranking title.
The Magician remains number seven in the official world rankings list but has aspirations of challenging for the world number one position this term.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility either, with Murphy having to defend a very low tally of points on the two-year rolling system.
Murphy will be among the betting favourites for the European Masters, which takes place next month from August 22nd to 27th in Nuremberg.
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The 40 year-old, however, is one of eight marquee names who have their qualifying matches held over to the venue stages.
World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan and world champion Luca Brecel also won’t feature in this week’s European Masters qualifying stage.
Neither will Mark Allen, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, or Kyren Wilson.
The latter is the reigning European Masters champion, winning the title in Germany around this time last year with a 9-3 defeat of Barry Hawkins in the final.
That proved to be the height of what transpired to be a disappointing season for Hawkins, who ended it by dropping outside the world’s top 16.
The Englishman plays Sean O’Sullivan in his qualifying fixture on Friday.
Some of the other bigger names who will be entering the fray in the cubicles are John Higgins, Mark Williams, and Stuart Bingham.
Matches will be contested over nine frames, which will be a welcome return to a more traditional format after the sprint ties that were in operation for Championship League Snooker.
The European Masters qualifiers begin on Tuesday and last for five days, with the draw and schedule below.
Live coverage will be available on discovery+ in Europe and Matchroom.Live in other territories (other than China).
European Masters qualifiers draw and schedule
Tuesday, July 25
Aaron Hill vs Jimmy White
Yuan Sijun vs Jamie Jones
Asjad Iqbal vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Sydney Wilson vs Xiao Guodong
Liam Graham vs Duane Jones
Jak Jones vs Michael White
Noppon Saengkham vs Ian Burns
Ryan Day vs Zak Surety
John Higgins vs Martin Gould
Joe Perry vs Muhammad Asif
Oliver Brown vs Liam Pullen
Stan Moody vs Elliot Slessor
Wednesday, July 26th
Andrew Higginson vs Cao Yupeng
Zhou Yuelong vs Stuart Carrington
Andres Petrov vs Daniel Wells
Pang Junxu vs Mink Nutcharut
Si Jiahui vs Julien Leclercq
Robert Milkins vs Ben Woollaston
Matthew Stevens vs Iulian Boiko
Andrew Pagett vs Jiang Jun
Ken Doherty vs David Lilley
Anthony McGill vs Dominic Dale
Ricky Walden vs Lukas Kleckers
Martin O’Donnell vs Ashley Carty
Thursday, July 27th
He Guoqiang vs Ross Muir
Louis Heathcote vs Andy Lee
Ahmed Aly Elsayed vs Mark Davis
James Cahill vs Baipat Siripaporn
Allan Taylor vs Tian Pengfei
Reanne Evans vs Jenson Kendrick
Hammad Miah vs Liu Hongyu
Jimmy Robertson vs Himanshu Jain
Haydon Pinhey vs Alfie Burden
Jack Lisowski vs Sam Craigie
Gary Wilson vs Ben Mertens
Sanderson Lam vs Mark Joyce
Friday, July 28th
Ma Hailong vs Jordan Brown
Chris Wakelin vs Thor Chuan Leong
Tom Ford vs Victor Sarkis
Long Zehuang vs Ashley Hugill
Mark Williams vs Zhang Anda
Barry Hawkins vs Sean O’Sullivan
Robbie Williams vs John Astley
Ryan Thomerson vs Ishpreet Singh
David Gilbert vs Oliver Lines
Ali Carter vs Alfie Davies
Matthew Selt vs Anthony Hamilton
David Grace vs Scott Donaldson
Saturday, July 29th
Barry Pinches vs Dylan Emery
Xu Si vs Alexander Ursenbacher
Joe O’Connor vs Rebecca Kenna
Xing Zihao vs Peng Yisong
Hossein Vafaei vs Rod Lawler
Fan Zhengyi vs Lyu Haotian
Stuart Bingham vs Jamie Clarke
Adam Duffy vs Marco Fu
Kyren Wilson vs Dean Young
Luca Brecel vs Jackson Page
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Andy Hicks
Mark Allen vs Anton Kazakov
Mark Selby vs Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Judd Trump vs Mohamed Ibrahim
Neil Robertson vs Wu Yize
Shaun Murphy vs Graeme Dott
Featured photo credit: WST