WST has just published the draw and format for the 2022 European Masters to be played in Fürth end August, at the venue and, (nearly) the spot in the calendar of the biggest and best pro-am snooker ever had, the Paul Hunter Classic.
BetVictor European Masters Draw
Fan Zhengyi will begin the defence of his BetVictor European Masters title against Michael Judge when the world ranking event takes place in August in Germany.
Last season, China’s Fan caused one of snooker’s biggest ever upsets when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 in the final in Milton Keynes. This time the 21-year-old will be up against experienced Irishman Judge in the opening round.
The tournament runs from August 16 to 21 at the fantastic Stadhalle venue in Fuerth, Germany. Tickets are on sale now, for details CLICK HERE
World Champion O’Sullivan will be up against his (unrelated) namesake Sean O’Sullivan in the opening round. Judd Trump will face Noppon Saengkham while Mark Selby will take on Yuan Sijun.
Those four matches have been held over to the venue in Fuerth, while all other first round ties will take place during the qualifying round, to be staged at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on July 15-17 and July 22-25.
Matches to look out for in the qualifying round include:
John Higgins v Scott Donaldson, Sunday July 24 at 7pm
Ali Carter v Reanne Evans, Friday July 22 at 7pm
Mark Williams v Liam Highfield, Friday July 15 at 2.30pm
Stephen Hendry v Mark Joyce, Saturday, July 23 at 7pm
The winner of Hendry against Joyce will meet the winner of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Sean O’Sullivan in round two, raising the possibility of snooker’s two seven-time World Champions going head to head.
Details on how to watch the qualifiers and the main event will be announced soon.
Number of frames:
Up to and including QFs best of 9 frames
SFs best of 11 frames
Final best of 17 frames (8/9)
Seeds 1-32 placed in specific positions in the draw so if top seeds win in Round 2, seed 1 meets seed 32 in Round 3, seed 2 meets seed 31, and so on. Seeds 33-128 Drawn at random in Round 1
Well … I’m glad that Ronnie has entered this event. I wasn’t sure he would. He has a very winnable opening match. He could face Yan Bingtao in the last 16 .though …
The defending Champion, Fan Zhengyi, also has a winnable match provided he doesn’t allow his opponent to dictate the style of the match. Michael Judge can play and is very experienced.
Stephen Hendry has also entered the event, which, hopefully, is an indication that he will actually make good use of his invitational tour card in the coming two seasons.
The other two top players whose matches are held over, Mark Selby and Judd Trump, have not got particularly easy openers. Noppon Saengkham is no slouch and we have just seen Yuan SiJun in action this week at the 2022 ranking CLS; he played really well en route to winning his group.
Ding isn’t there. That was to be expected. He’s due to play in a Team Event in China and currently covid measures are still in place, most notably a long isolation period upon return from abroad trips. That make it impossible for him to play in the qualifiers even if the dates do not conflict. Fan Zhengyi is also in China, but, being the defending champion, his match is held-over to the main venue.
My selection of “qualifiers matches to watch” is, as you would expect, different from WST “choices”:
- Ross Muir v Lyu Haotian
- Kyren Wilson v Sam Craigie
- Wu Yize v Jenson Kendrick
- David Grace v Ben Mertens (definitely split loyalties in this one!)
- Ashleigh Hugill v Julien Leclercq
- Chen Zifan v Aaron Hill
- Florian Nüssle v Matthew Stevens