Belgium gets ready to host the European Masters – its first major event in more than 20 years – and the champions get to lay their hands on £75,000 in prize money. The European Masters was held in Romania just over a year ago and it now switches to Lommel. This is the sixth ranking event which will be taking place in several other countries like Latvia, Germany, India, and China. The first ranking event on UK soil is scheduled for next week, as the English Open begins an attractive Home Nations series.
The European Masters will witness a line-up of 67 names competing for the title. The last full ranking event to be held in Belgium was during the early 1990s. Back then, the nation states to the European Open. Even though there were the likes of the Antwerp Opens, Belgium is getting its first test of a major event now.
The 2017 European Masters sees Judd Trump, and as the defending champion. He was able to overcome Ronnie O’Sullivan in one of the three Antwerp Open tournaments held in Belgium. The duo will once again face off each other as they did in the European Masters 2016. Among the top 16 players coming into the tournament, Trump is one of the three to have had the qualification rounds held at the main arena. Luca Brecel, who enjoys plenty of home support, and Mark Selby, who has won the world championship title, are the other two players.
Every match until the semi-final will be contested in the short format. In the last stages, it increases to 11 frames and the final witnesses a best of 17. Ding Junhui and Ronnie O’Sullivan are some of the stars not taking part in the event. Some of the intriguing clashes are the game between Mark Williams and Yan Bingtao, while Zhou Yuelong goes up against Oliver Lines.