Murphy heads big-name casualties
Tags: Shaun Murphy, European Masters,
Shaun Murphy suffered a surprise exit at the European Masters qualifying stage whilst three more marquee names failed to make the main stage of the ranking event. Englishman Murphy was expected to comfortably dispatch compatriot John Astley in qualification but the latter managed to get the better of his opponent in a scrappy contest. The 28-year-old from Gateshead pulled off a shock 4-2 victory and will now go into the main stage of the draw for the tournament in Belgium that runs from October 2-8.
World number eight Murphy, who is 21.00 to win a second world title next year, will now be heading to the practice table in a bid to get some form back after his disappointing performance. Elsewhere, there was also a shock defeat for Scot Stephen Maguire as he lost on the final black ball to China's Li Yuan, who had been 3-0 down in the match only to come back and win 4-3. The 36-year-old Glaswegian, a 51.00 chance to triumph in the world championship, had been on a good run of form going into the contest but that came to an abrupt end.
Ali Carter, who recently claimed a silver medal at the World Games in Poland, fell 4-1 to China's Mei Xiwen whilst Ricky Walden let a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 to fellow Englishman Alfie Burden. There were no such problems for world number two John Higgins as he defeated Chinese player Niu Zhuang 4-1 and the Scot is being tipped to challenge for glory in October. England's Oliver Lines also made it through after beating Scotland's Scott Donaldson 4-3 whilst Joe Perry won by the same scoreline against Thailand's Boonyarit Kaettikun.
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