Stuart Bingham booked his place in the final group stage of the Championship League as he remained unbeaten on Tuesday to top Group C in Leicester.
The 2015 world champion enjoyed wins over Ben Woollaston (3-0) and Jamie Jones (3-1) before earning the 2-2 draw he needed against former Welsh Open holder Jordan Brown to progress on seven points, three clear of runner-up Jones.
Bingham enjoyed six 50-plus breaks and a 120 against Brown – who enjoyed a classy 117 run in the second frame – to secure his spot in Friday's final day of the season's first ranking event.
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The winner of the two eight-man groups will contest the final at the Morningside Arena with Bingham joining Lu Ning in Group 1.
Bingham is happy with how his form is improving due to hard work over the summer after losing 13-8 to Judd Trump from 8-5 clear in the World Championship last eight in April.
“It’s important to get off to a good start and the 3-0 over Ben put me in good stead for the rest of the group. I didn’t really put my cue down," said the former Masters holder.
"The longest I put it down for was six days. I had a few exhibitions. I’ve hit the ground running. It’s a very good start. Getting through the European Masters and the next stage of this. I am taking it game by game.
"My game is getting stronger. I just need to relax and calm down and get a bit of confidence. I didn’t have the best of years last year. The World (Championship) saved me.”
David Gilbert's defence of the trophy is over after he finished bottom of Group H with a 2-2 draw against Robert Milkins his solitary point from a largely forgettable day.
Michael White set the early pace with a 3-1 win over Gilbert with breaks of 130 and 131 and a 3-0 victory against Milkins that included a 108, but a 3-1 defeat to group winner Xiao Guodong killed off his hopes of progress as the Welshman finished second.
White edged the opening frame before Xiao assumed command with classy contributions of 78, 68 and 66 running his opponent out of contention.
Xiao earlier defeated Gilbert 3-1 with breaks of 127 and 69 after a 2-2 draw with Milkins.
World No. 38 Xiao will face Lyu Haotian in Group 2.
World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan returns to action at 12pm (BST) on Wednesday against Yuan Sijun, Pang Junxu and Ali Carter in Group A.
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