Barry Hawkins booked his place in the final stages of the 2017 Riga Masters following a 4-2 victory over Michael Holt in a high-scoring contest at the Preston Guild Hall, while Kyren Wilson and Stephen Maguire enjoyed comprehensive whitewashes on Thursday.
Hawkins, who won this title in 2015, began his quest for a second triumph in Riga with four breaks over 50, as he recovered from losing the opening frame by winning four of the next five to see off last year’s finalist.
Holt took the opener with a break of 76, but Hawkins responded with runs of 56, 53 and 96 to move to the brink of victory which, despite the Hitman replying with 87, he completed with a contribution of 60.
Meanwhile, world number 13 Wilson had runs of 70 and 61 on the way to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Alfie Burden, as breaks of 78, 57 and 68 saw Maguire repeat the feat against Ian Burns.
Chinese prodigy Zhou Yuelong also reeled off four frames without reply against Kurt Dunham, while Joe Perry’s tasty clash with Graeme Dott went right down to the wire with the Masters finalist prevailing a 4-3 winner on the colours.
Oliver Lines and Christopher Keogan were also final-frame winners against Yuan SiJun and Sean O’Sullivan respectively, but German Masters champion Anthony Hamilton was ousted in a decider by Hossein Vafaei, who recovered from 3-2 down to eventually edge through.
Elsewhere, despite losing the opening frame, Ryan Day made breaks of 63, 91, 79 and 78 on the way to a 4-1 win over David John, as runs of 78 and 74 saw Robert Milkins overcome Aditya Mehta by the same scoreline.
Ben Woollaston made a brilliant break of 123 to close a comfortable 4-1 victory against Mitchell Mann, while Craig Steadman had a top run of 101 in a 4-1 triumph over Lyu Haotian.
Mark Joyce and Gerard Greene also enjoyed wins by that margin against Fang Xiongman and Zhang Yong respectively, as did Welsh amateur Ben Jones against Mike Dunn, while Tian Pengfei and Chen Zifan were 4-2 victors over Scott Donaldson and Ross Muir.
Riga Masters Qualifiers 2017 Results
Thursday June 1
Oliver Lines 4-3 Yuan SiJun
Sean O’Sullivan 3-4 Christopher Keogan
Stephen Maguire 4-0 Ian Burns
Gerard Greene 4-1 Zhang Yong
Anthony Hamilton 3-4 Hossein Vafaei
Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Kurt Dunham
Graeme Dott 3-4 Joe Perry
Tian Pengfei 4-2 Scott Donaldson
Ben Jones 4-1 Mike Dunn
Robert Milkins 4-1 Aditya Mehta
Barry Hawkins 4-2 Michael Holt
Craig Steadman 4-1 Lyu Haotian
David John 1-4 Ryan Day
Chen Zifan 4-2 Ross Muir
Mitchell Mann 1-4 Ben Woollaston
Alfie Burden 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Mark Joyce 4-1 Fang Xiongman