A Funny Exchange On The Pink | 2022/23 European Masters
Magician Sweeps Aside the Hitman
Shaun Murphy started the defence of his Ladbrokes World Grand Prix title with a 4-1 defeat of Michael Holt at the Guild Hall in Preston.
The Magician clinched his sixth ranking title at last year’s event thanks to a thrilling 10-9 defeat of Stuart Bingham in the final.
Holt reached his maiden ranking final earlier this season at the 2016 Riga Masters, where he was denied silverware by Neil Robertson.
With the scores locked at 1-1, it was the 2015 World Champion who turned on the heat to pull away from the Hitman. Consecutive breaks of 73, 60 and 73 saw him charge to a 4-1 victory.
“It’s a beautiful old trophy and to finally get my name on it last year was a great thrill. If you come back as defending champion everyone is shooting for you. I’ve prepared well and practised hard,” said last year’s champion. “The Guild Hall is synonymous with the game, it’s like the Crucible or the Wembley Conference Centre. I’ve played here a few times and it is a great venue for snooker.”
Ryan Day ended world number two Stuart Bingham’s Guild Hall campaign with an impressive 4-2 victory.
Going into the match the 2015 World Champion Bingham had won nine of their 13 previous meetings, but it was the Welshman who took control in the opening exchanges, securing the first frame with a run of 67.
Bingham cut a frustrated figure as he struggled to find his best form. However, he did produce a break of 86 in the fourth frame to level at 2-2. From that point the world number 23 charged to the finish, clinching the win with a break of 58.
Mark King edged out 2004 UK Champion Stephen Maguire 4-3 in a nerve jangling last 32 encounter. There was never more than a single frame between the pair. With the scores locked at 3-3 the 2016 Northern Ireland Open Champion King produced a gutsy clearance on the colours which included a pressure pink to book a clash with either Ali Carter or Zhou Yuelong in the next round.
Joe Perry continued his form which saw him reach the recent Masters final to defeat two-time World Champion Mark Williams 4-2. The Gentleman made breaks of 52, 54 and 84 on his way to the win. He faces either Mark Selby or Martin Gould in round two.