The European Masters 2017 – into the last 16.

The European Masters 2017 is underway in Lommel, Belgium, and very unfortunately I learned about it being held in my country well after I had committed to travel to Greece. So I’m missing it.

It’s a nice setup with only 4 tables, which is good. I, personally, don’t like the big arenas with 8 or more tables. They lack atmosphere, in my opinion. Also it makes the tournament easier to follow as it unfolds.

(pictures shared by Olivier Marteel on twitter)

We are already at the last 16 stage and this is the line-up:

EM2017Last16Line-up

The good news for the sponsors is that all three guys in the event poster are still in it! Three top 16 players, out of the 9 involved, lost in the first or second round: John Higgins, Kyren Wilson and Ryan Day. All of them lost to experienced veterans, and except for John, in a deciding frame.

The last 16 line-up above is a strong one, with most players involved being expected at this stage. Half of them are event winners. Ben Woollaston and David Gilbert have been ranking event finalists and are likely to win an event sooner than late. Mark Davis has been 4 times in ranking semi finals and has won the 6-reds World Championship twice, as well as the Championship League Snooker.  Zhou Yuelong has proven his value by reaching the top 32 before turning 20 and he’s a product of the very strong young Chinese crop, supported by a strong national body and excellent national structures. That leaves us with four “surprises”: Jack Lisowski, Peter Lines, Cao Yupeng and Billy Joe Castle. Jack has all the talent in the world but seemed to have lost his way, hopefully he’s getting back where he belongs. The same can be said from Cao Yupeng who really impressed when he first came on the tour then somehow faded away. As for Billy, he’s a rookie – albeit well-known on the amateur circuit – and his run here is quite remarkable. Take a bow Billy. Him and Cao play each other today.  Peter is the Seniors World Champion. He’s a hard nut to crack and the living proof that Snooker Legend’s promoter, Jason Francis, motto “dare to dream” is in fact reality!