European Masters
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John Higgins reaches last 16 in European Masters

John Higgins became the first player through to the last 16 of the European Masters on Wednesday at the Kia Metropol Arena.

The Scot beat Zhou Yuelong 5-2 in Nuremberg to safely book his place in the fourth round of the competition.

Breaks of 79 and 76 helped Higgins march on in what is the second ranking event of the fledgling 2023/24 snooker season.

Not long after, amateur Duane Jones joined Higgins in the last 16 with a 5-3 defeat of Allan Taylor.

Aside from those results, the other play on day two in Germany revolved around the conclusion of the round of 64.

Among those to advance further were world champion Luca Brecel and reigning European Masters winner Kyren Wilson.

The latter recorded a high break of 109 in overcoming Alfie Burden 5-2 while Brecel held off a late charge from tour rookie Ishpreet Singh to prevail 5-3.

Following Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal earlier this week, Brecel now has the opportunity to claim the world number one ranking for the first time.

A trip to the semi-finals for the Belgian Bullet would prove enough to see him usurp O’Sullivan and into the top spot.

Mark Allen also had the chance to challenge for that status, but the Northern Irishman suffered a one-sided loss to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in round two.

The unpredictable but immensely talented Thai star compiled breaks of 128, 92, 85, and 81 to thrash Allen 5-0 in trademark rapid fashion.

Judd Trump, Mark Selby, and Mark Williams were some of the other marquee names to safely negotiate their latest obstacles in the tournament.

Barry Hawkins, the runner-up from the last edition of the European Masters, beat James Cahill 5-3 while 2018 champion Jimmy Robertson whitewashed Scott Donaldson.

Among the others to maintain their aspirations of landing the £80,000 top prize were recent Championship League winner Shaun Murphy, David Gilbert, and Noppon Saengkham.

Meanwhile, the comeback of the day saw Zak Surety fight back from 4-0 down to deny Jiang Jun in a decider.

Two other upsets saw Ashley Hugill surprise Ali Carter 5-4 and Xiao Guodong oust Stuart Bingham.

Anthony Hamilton, Ben Mertens, Robbie Williams, and Andy Hicks – taking advantage of O’Sullivan’s withdrawal – each made the last 32 as well.

Another busy day on Thursday will see the field whittled down further and several players scheduled to compete twice.

Indeed, the four quarter-finalists from the top half of the draw will be determined by the end of play on Thursday.

European Masters draw and results

Kyren Wilson 5-2 Alfie Burden
Si Jiahui 5-3 Ken Doherty
Hossein Vafaei 0-5 Allan Taylor
Dominic Dale 5-2 Duane Jones
Andrew Higginson 1-5 Zhou Yuelong
Dylan Emery 1-5 John Higgins
Ross Muir 5-3 Joe Perry
Daniel Wells 2-5 Shaun Murphy

Judd Trump 5-0 Jordan Brown
Chris Wakelin 5-0 Aaron Hill
Ben Woollaston 5-1 Xu Si
Tom Ford 5-2 Oliver Brown
Jamie Jones 3-5 Ricky Walden
Michael White 5-4 Jack Lisowski
Ashley Carty 5-4 Joe O’Connor
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-0 Mark Allen

Andy Hicks 5-2 Peng Yisong
Lyu Haotian 5-4 Elliot Slessor
Ben Mertens 5-3 Sanderson Lam
David Gilbert 5-1 Reanne Evans
Xiao Guodong 5-3 Stuart Bingham
Ashley Hugill 5-4 Ali Carter
Louis Heathcote 1-5 Anthony Hamilton
Adam Duffy 1-5 Mark Selby

Wu Yize w/o Liu Hongyu
Noppon Saengkham 5-2 Mark Davis
Mark Williams 5-3 Matthew Stevens
Jimmy Robertson 5-0 Scott Donaldson
James Cahill 3-5 Barry Hawkins
Jiang Jun 4-5 Zak Surety
Robbie Williams 5-1 Pang Junxu
Ishpreet Singh 3-5 Luca Brecel

K. Wilson 5-0 Si
Taylor 3-5 D. Jones
Zhou 2-5 Higgins
Muir 0-5 Murphy

Trump 5-4 Wakelin
Woollaston 5-4 Ford
Walden 5-4 M. White
Carty 5-1 Un-Nooh

Hicks 4-5 Lyu
Mertens 4-5 Gilbert
Xiao 4-5 Hugill
Hamilton 1-5 Selby

Wu 2-5 Saengkham
M. Williams 4-5 J. Robertson
Hawkins 5-1 Surety
R. Williams 4-5 Brecel

K. Wilson 5-0 D. Jones
Higgins 5-2 Murphy
Trump 5-0 Woollaston
Walden 3-5 Carty
Lyu 5-1 Gilbert
Hugill 2-5 Selby
Saengkham 5-4 J. Robertson
Hawkins 5-4 Brecel

K. Wilson 3-5 Higgins
Trump 5-1 Carty
Lyu 2-5 Selby
Saengkham 2-5 Hawkins

Higgins 5-6 Trump
Selby 4-6 Hawkins

Trump 6-9 Hawkins

Featured photo credit: WST

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