Higgins, Selby And Murphy Reach Round Two
Big guns continued to fire at the WST Classic in Leicester as John Higgins, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy all took their place in a strong second round line up.
The world’s top eight players are all in the last 64 of the world ranking event, with the second round to start on Sunday afternoon. The tournament concludes on Wednesday with a top prize of £80,000 up for grabs.
Higgins won the recent BetVictor Championship League but has struggled this season in ranking events, so a 4-3 victory over Michael White gave the Scot a much-needed boost. White made an 82 clearance to level at 3-3, but Higgins got the better of the decider with a top run of 53.
Selby top scored with 95 in a 4-1 win over Robbie McGuigan, a result which boosts his chances of keeping his top-eight ranking on the one-year list and qualifying for the Duelbits Tour Championship in Hull – for more on that race click here.
In-form Murphy, winner of the recent Duelbits Players Championship, needed just 53 minutes to beat Oliver Brown 4-0 with runs of 78, 87, 83 and a 140 total clearance which leaves him tied with Mark Joyce on a tournament high-break chart.
Ding Junhui lost 4-3 to Xu Si, who made a 138 in the decider, and that could leave Ding in danger of missing out on both a place in Hull and a top 16 seeding for the Crucible – he will have to watch results over the coming days to discover his fate.
Matthew Selt came from 3-1 down to beat Michael Holt 4-3, winning an epic 75-minute deciding frame by potting the final brown and blue. Selt recently equalled the record for the most centuries made in a single tournament during the BetVictor Championship League, though in ranking events he has suffered five first round defeats this season.
The 2019 Indian Open champion said: “It’s a massive win in the context of my season, I would have stayed out there eight hours to try to win it. I have played a lot better than my results have shown this season. It hurts to lose in the first round because it’s hard to get any momentum. The Championship League has bailed me out in terms of money earned on the table. But the big one is still around the corner. When you have had a poor season results wise, there is no better tournament in terms of trying to rectify that than the World Championship. If I can win a few more matches here that will give me momentum. There is a lot of snooker to be played over the next few days.”
Stephen Maguire completed an even better fight-back as he recovered a 3-0 deficit to beat Alexander Ursenbacher 4-3 with a top break of 137, while BetVictor Shoot Out king Chris Wakelin top scored with 115 in a 4-1 defeat of Reanne Evans.