Yesterday was the last day of the 2022 European Masters qualifiers and it yielded a few surprises. Here is the report by WST:
Whirlwind Set For Furth
Jimmy White rallied from 4-2 down to beat Andrew Pagett 5-4 at BetVictor European Masters qualifying in Leicester and earn a place in the final stages.
The ten-time ranking event winner struggled for large parts of last season and today’s victory is a first match win since the British Open last August.
With Pagett needing just one frame for victory, the Whirlwind fired in breaks of 58 and 133 on his way to three on the bounce to secure the win.
Scott Donaldson scored his first ever win over Scottish compatriot and four-time World Champion John Higgins, battling to a 5-3 victory. The Perth cueman crafted contributions of 51, 52 and 60 on his way to the win.
Belgium’s Luca Brecel put on a break building blitz to brush aside Andy Lee 5-1 and book his place in Furth. Trailing 1-0, Brecel proceeded to compose breaks of 65, 59, 87, 69 and 53 to take five on the bounce and secure the win.
Aaron Hill top scored with a break of 103 during his 5-1 defeat of Chen Zifan, while Graeme Dott stormed to an impressive 5-0 whitewash win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
Yes, Jimmy White did play very well to come back and beat Pagett. At 60 he still has it, albeit not consistently. When on form he remains a fantastic player and entertainer.
Graeme Dott played well also but he was helped by a very out-of-sorts Theppy, who was struggling AND got several slices of bad luck too.
I didn’t watch the Donaldson v Higgins. It was an extremely slow match, at least before the MSI. That probably means that either it was very scrappy or Donaldson dictated the pace, or both.
Again some matches are not mentioned at all.
Li Hang came back fro 2-0 down to beat Craig Steadman by 5-3. That’s not an easy thing to do against such an experienced opponent.
Ricky Walden beat Alfie Burden by 5-1. I only saw the end of the match. At that stage it was clear that Alfie had lost hope and wanted to be out of there.
Matthew Stevens had to battle hard to defeat Florian Nüssle by 5-4. Florian is clearly getting better with every match but seems to struggle a bit to get over the line. One good win however could change that, and when it comes, he will be a serious contender to get and stay on tour.
Oliver Lines beat Tom Ford by 5-3. When Oli got first on tour there was a lot of hype around him, but it didn’t quite happen for him. I have a strong feeling though that this year migth well be the year of his breakthrough.