The first round of the European Masters qualifiers caught a handful of snooker fans by surprise with a number of high-profile players getting early exits at the Barnsley Metrodome this week.
After both stages of the qualifying rounds are ended today, the qualifiers for the German Masters begins in earnest.
With a heavy lineup of games behind them and the holiday season kicking off very soon, it seems like most of these stars are already beginning to switch off as evident in their performances at the European Masters qualifiers.
World champion and world number one, Judd Trump was one of the sport’s biggest stars to get eliminated. Juddernaut was taken out by Ian Burns by a 5-3 scoreline.
Stephen Maguire who lost to Ding Junhui in the finals of the UK Championship, David Gilbert and Joe Perry not forgetting defending European Masters champion, Jimmy Robertson also stared elimination in the face during the week.
Some others however survived by the skins of the teeth. Scottish Open winner, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, Barry Hawkins and Jack Lisowski were all stretched through the frames but managed to edge past their opponents.
Neil Robertson, UK Championship winner, Ding Junhui, Stuart Bingham, Mark Allen and Shawn Murphy got relatively easy wins against their opponents. Putting things in perspective, they breezed past their opponents to move into the second round that and did so with impeccable performances.
Yan Bingtao, who is widely considered as Asia’s finest produced arguably the finest performance of the week. It might not have been a complete whitewash like some other wins in the opening round. In fact, it was a 5-2win over Sam Baird. However, what makes the performance really eye-catching is the fact that the Chinese Bingtao racked up four-century breaks to secure the win.
In the Thursday round of the qualifiers, Yan Bingtao, Marco Fu and Mark Selby all scaled through the qualifiers. Others like Jack Lisowski, Stuart Bingham, Mark Allen and Shawn Murphy. Allen’s was probably the most humiliating. He fell to an outstanding Lu Ning who took all five available frames and shoved him out the qualifiers.