Murphy Off To Winning Start
Shaun Murphy negotiated a hard fought battle with Sanderson Lam to clinch his place at the Kaspersky Riga Masters, winning 4-2 on the opening day of the World Snooker Tour season at qualifying in Preston.
Murphy enjoyed a successful campaign last season, reaching five finals and picking up silverware at the Champion of Champions in Coventry. The Magician will be looking to make himself an equally regular contender at the business end of tournaments again this term.
However, he was made to work hard to secure a trip to the Latvian capital. The 2005 World Champion trailed Lam 2-0, before stealing a tight third frame on the black and cut his arrears in half. From there he won a further three on the bounce with breaks of 50, 98 and 58.
Barry Hawkins was victorious in Riga in 2015 and he progressed thanks to a 4-0 win over Hong Kong’s Andy Lee, who recently earned his place on tour through 2018 Q School.
The Hawk ended the 2017/18 season by reaching his fifth World Championship semi-final in the last six years and the early signs are positive for a strong start to the new campaign. He dispatched his opponent without reply, making breaks of 76 and 91 along the way.
Zhou Yuelong overcame Michael Georgiou 4-3 in a high quality encounter. Both players had enjoyed landmark moments last season, with Chinese star Zhou reaching his first ranking semi-final at the European Masters and Cypriot Georgiou claiming his maiden ranking crown at the Shoot Out.
Georgiou compiled the highest break of the match with a contribution of 94. However, breaks of 88, 61 and 55 allowed Zhou to progress.
Ali Carter made light work of his qualifying clash, defeating Billy Castle 4-0 in just over an hour. While Liang Wenbo also secured a whitewash victory, defeating Adam Duffy 4-0.
For full results click here.