Ding Junhui beaten by Xu Si at WST Classic to dent hopes of qualifying for Tour Championship, Mark Selby wins

Ding Junhui was sent tumbling out of the WST Classic at the first hurdle by Xu Si, leaving his Tour Championship hopes hanging in the balance.

The Chinese superstar, who returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2019 with victory at the Six Red World Championship in Thailand earlier in the month, arrived at the Morningside Arena in Leicester as seventh on the one-year list for qualification for the eight-player Tour Championship .

Ding’s exit has opened the door for a host of players, notably Jack Lisowski, to book a place in the field in Hull at the end of this month.

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He looked well placed to qualify as breaks of 133 and 59 enabled him to force a decider, but Ding was left cold in the final frame a Xu clinched the win with a fantastic 138.

Shuan Murphy’s form is peaking towards the business end of the season, and he breezed to a 4-0 win over Oliver Brown, with a brilliant 140 – the highest break of the tournament to date – in the second frame the highlight.

John Higgins’ form is a long way short of where he would like it to be, but he battled his way to a 4-3 win over Michael White. The Scot will face Mark Joyce in round two following his 4-1 win over Gerard Greene.

Mark Selby lost the opening frame, but hit back to win four on the spin to secure victory over Robbie McGuigan.

Stephen Maguire has had a torrid season, but he fought off a possible shock by rallying from three frames down to beat Alexander Ursenbacher 4-3.

Dechawat Poomjaeng made a century but it was his only contribution of note as Ali Carter secured a 4-1 win, while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh was a 4-2 winner over Asjad Iqbal and Liam Highfield saw off Marco Fu 4-1.

Muhammad Asif secured a walkover win, as Mark King was withdrawn by World Snooker amid an investigation into irregular betting patterns.

Chris Wakelin wrapped up a 4-1 win over Reanne Evans with a century in the concluding frame, Matthew Selt fought back to beat Michael Holt 4-3 and Andrew Pagett saw off Tom Ford by the same scoreline. Defeat ended Ford’s slim hopes of making the Tour Championship.

Anthony Hamilton continues to play to a decent standard at the age of 51, and he produced a battling display to claim a 4-3 win over Farakh Ajaib. His opponent in round two will be Matttew Selt.

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