Ross Muir, Ashley Carty, Steven Hallworth and Florian Nuessle all won a brace of matches on Saturday at the Q House Snooker Academy in Darlington to progress to Sunday’s final four and find themselves two further victories away from a place on the World Snooker Tour.
Following the completion of six regular Q Tour events earlier this season, the top 16 ranked eligible players from the final standings – below Tour number one Martin O’Donnell who gained automatic promotion – congregated for the end-of-season playoff to compete for another pro circuit berth.
Scotland’s Muir – who narrowly missed out on top spot at the final event and finished second – made a statement in his opening match as he hit breaks of 70 and 125 (the highest of the day) in defeating Peter Devlin 4-2. The 27-year-old then recovered from losing the first frame, crafting runs of 65, 61 and 72 to eliminate Harvey Chandler, 4-1.
Former Crucible Theatre qualifier Carty will face Muir in tomorrow’s semi-finals after the Englishman staged a remarkable comeback in the first round against Farakh Ajaib.
Down 3-0, Carty conjured up efforts of 91, 54 and 58 to help force a deciding frame where he completed the turnaround on the colours.
In the bottom half of the draw, Hallworth is also on course to return to the sport’s top tier after dropping just two frames during 4-1 victories against Billy Castle, and then Sydney Wilson.
Hallworth – who reached the last 16 of the British Open earlier this term – registered five half centuries throughout the day including a top run of 93.
Nuessle is the only player in the final four line-up not to have achieved professional status before, but the 21-year-old is within touching distance of making it into the big time.
The reigning six-time Austrian national champion wasn’t even in the draw yesterday, but accepted a very late invite after the withdrawal of Daniel Wells due to a medical issue. Nuessle grasped the unexpected opportunity as he dispatched Josh Thomond 4-0 before squeezing past promising 16-year-old Liam Davies 4-3, having watched his Welsh opponent rally from 3-1 down.
Both best-of-seven semi-finals will take place on Sunday morning from 11:00GMT with the best-of-nine final scheduled to break off at 14:00GMT.