The WST Classic in Leicester continued with some big names in snooker delivering impressive performances to advance to the second round. Among them were John Higgins, Mark Selby, and Shaun Murphy, all of whom secured their spots in the next round of the world ranking event.
With the world’s top eight players in the last 64, the tournament promises to be an exciting one. The second round is set to begin on Sunday afternoon, with the competition concluding on Wednesday and a top prize of £80,000 up for grabs.
Higgins, who recently won the BetVictor Championship League, has been struggling in ranking events this season, but his 4-3 victory over Michael White gave him the much-needed boost he was looking for. White had made an 82 clearance to level the score at 3-3, but Higgins prevailed in the decider with a top run of 53.
Selby, on the other hand, top-scored with 95 in his 4-1 win over Robbie McGuigan, which greatly improved his chances of maintaining his top-eight ranking on the one-year list and qualifying for the Duelbits Tour Championship in Hull.
Murphy, the winner of the recent Duelbits Players Championship, put on an impressive display, needing just 53 minutes to beat Oliver Brown 4-0. He had runs of 78, 87, 83, and a 140 total clearance, which tied him with Mark Joyce on a tournament high-break chart.
Ding Junhui, however, was not as fortunate, losing 4-3 to Xu Si, who made a 138 in the decider. This loss puts Ding in danger of missing out on both a place in Hull and a top 16 seeding for the Crucible. He will have to wait for the results over the coming days to discover his fate.
Matthew Selt delivered an epic performance, coming from 3-1 down to beat Michael Holt 4-3. He won the 75-minute deciding frame by potting the final brown and blue. Selt recently equaled the record for the most centuries made in a single tournament during the BetVictor Championship League. However, he has suffered five first-round defeats this season in ranking events.
Stephen Maguire completed an even better fight-back as he recovered from a 3-0 deficit to beat Alexander Ursenbacher 4-3 with a top break of 137, while BetVictor Shoot Out king Chris Wakelin top scored with 115 in his 4-1 defeat of Reanne Evans.
Selt, reflecting on his win, said, “It’s a massive win in the context of my season. I have played a lot better than my results have shown this season. It hurts to lose in the first round because it’s hard to get any momentum. The Championship League has bailed me out in terms of money earned on the table. But the big one is still around the corner.
When you have had a poor season results-wise, there is no better tournament in terms of trying to rectify that than the World Championship. If I can win a few more matches here, that will give me momentum. There is a lot of snooker to be played over the next few days.”