Shaun Murphy made a triumphant start to his season, with victories in all three matches at the BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The 2005 World Champion took Group 4 by storm, defeating Andrew Pagett 3-0, before a tense 3-1 win over Lukas Kleckers to close the first session.
A table-topping decider followed against China’s Tian Pengfei. Tian had accrued two victories himself over Pagett and Kleckers – meaning the winner of Wednesday’s final match would progress.
Murphy only required a draw and his fate was sealed in the third frame, following a break of 67 to move 2-1 up. He then claimed the last to make it three wins from three.
Sanderson Lam brought an impressive display to top Group 12 – finishing the day with seven points after wins Zhang Anda and Jamie O’Neill. Leeds native Lam had also drawn 2-2 with Table 2’s headliner Barry Hawkins.
Former World Grand Prix winner Hawkins required a 3-0 victory in his final group match over Zhang Anda, or a 3-1 win with a break over 98 or more, to stand a chance of beating Lam for qualification for Winners’ Week.
Leading 2-1, a break of at least 98 was required in the final frame for progression through the group. A sticky situation in a cluster of reds on 62 forced an attempted double into the middle pocket, but failure to pot meant Lam would be the man returning to Leicester next week.
The penultimate day of stage 1 sees David Gilbert fight for a place in Winners’ Week, commencing on July 17, against Yuan SiJun, Sean O’Sullivan and Ishpreet Singh Chadha. Group 31 will also be settled, with Cao Yupeng, Lyu Haotian, Ian Burns and Steven Hallworth fighting for supremacy.
Watch BetVictor Championship League Snooker – Ranking Edition on Viaplay Xtra – FreeView in the UK and Ireland. Those in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland can watch live on Viaplay whilst Matchroom.Live is available to those without a broadcaster. See where to watch here.
The BetVictor Championship League Snooker –Ranking Edition carries a first prize of £33,000 and the winner also securing aspot in the 2023 Champion of Champions set to take place in Bolton from November 13-19 live on ITV.
Secure your tickets for the 2023 Champion of Championsfrom £15 here with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, Mark Allen andMark Selby already qualified.