Ken Doherty produced a second high profile win of the week, defeating world number six Barry Hawkins 4-3 at European Masters qualifying in Preston.
1997 World Champion Doherty was given an invitational tour card at the start of this campaign, after dropping off the tour at the end of last season, and he has enjoyed a welcome return to form. Doherty reached the semi-finals at the Riga Masters in June, and the Irishman also produced a fine display to see off Ali Carter 4-2 and qualify for the Indian Open earlier this week.
There was never more than a frame between the pair today, but it was Doherty who managed to edge closest to the finish line at 3-2. World Grand Prix champion Hawkins showed his steel to force a decider, compiling a run of 93 in the sixth frame. However, Doherty responded with a fine break of 69 to close out the tie.
Neil Robertson booked his place in the final stages in Belgium by beating Jamie Curtis-Barrett 4-1. Breaks of 54, 106 and 85 helped Hong Kong Masters champion Robertson to a comfortable win.
World Games gold medalist Kyren Wilson bounced back from an unexpected loss against Boonyarit Keattikun at Indian Open qualifying, to defeat Xu Si 4-0. The Warrior looked to be far more at ease this afternoon, as he crafted runs of 54, 92 and 63 during the whitewash victory.
Sam Baird edged out Jimmy Robertson 4-3 in a high quality encounter. Robertson had led 2-1 thanks to a run of 71 in the third. However, the Blade hit back with breaks of 55 and 74 to take the lead. Robertson forced a decider with a century contribution of 130, but Baird got over the line with 77 in the final frame.
Chinese 20-year-old Zhao Xintong defeated the experienced Welshman Lee Walker 4-0 to book his place in Belgium. There were runs of 72 and 79 during the win.
1994 Masters Champion Alan McManus saw off Australia’s two-time World Billiards Championship finalist Matthew Bolton 4-0 to progress to the final stages.
For full results click here and for ticket details for the final stages in Lommel, Belgium click here