Former 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty has booked his place into the last 64 of the European Masters in Belgium in October.

Snooker's 'Darling of Dublin', Doherty, 47, has been riding the crest of a wave in recent times after his relegation from the tour last season, but he was given a lifeline in the form of an invitational tour card and since then has been on a great run of form.

The Irishman scraped through a tough battle with 'The Hawk' Barry Hawkins and won in a decider 4 - 3 with a break of 69 to book a place into the last 64 to travel to Lommel in Belgium, which will be holding a ranking event in that country for the first time since Antwerp in 1994.

In the first round of qualifying for the Indian Open, Doherty also came up against a tough opponent in 'The Captain' Ali Carter - but passed with flying colours as he saw off the 38-year-old Essex man 4 - 2 for a spot in India.

Doherty was a frame away from reaching the final of the Riga Masters back in June when he narrowly lost to Scotland's Stephen Maguire 5 - 4.

He has won six ranking titles, but his last major win was back in 2006 when he won the Malta Cup. Nonetheless, prior to 2010, ranking events were wafer thin.

Doherty will face another tough opponent in the China Championship in the middle of this month where he will face 'The Magician' Shaun Murphy in China.

In the final qualifying rounds for three ranking events, the Irishman will face Robbie Williams for the World Open qualifiers for China over the weekend.

Other Qualifying Round News

Tour debutant Matthew Bolton from Australia, the third player from the country to join the tour has lost his first two qualifying rounds for the Indian Open and the European Masters as he failed to book a place for India and Belgium.

Bolton, who came onto the tour with a series of Amateur wins in Australia, lost to Alan McManus 4 - 0 in the European Masters qualifying and was whitewashed by Liam Highfield as the qualifiers continue down in Preston until Sunday.

World Games Gold Medalist Kyren Wilson failed to qualify for the Indian Open, but put that disappointment behind him and managed a 4 - 0 whitewash of Chinese Xu Si and will be competing in Lommel.

Wilson reached the final of the Indian Open last season but lost out to Anthony McGill, who won his first ranking title in Hyderabad.

Two Welshmen Dominic Dale and the two-time World Champion Mark Williams had a walkover so will be competing for real in Belgium in October.

At 47, Doherty is one of a handful of older players on the tour who are experiencing a resurgence in form.

Ryan Day, ten years younger than Doherty, won his first ranker in Riga - this season, but prior to that Anthony Hamilton and Mark King, both in their forties also picked up silverware last season for the first time.

Judd Trump is the defending European Masters champion and McGill is the defending Indian Open champ.

The winner of the European Masters will pocket a useful £75,000 of ranking points and in India the first prize is a modest £50,000.

The Indian Open proper gets underway mid September 12 - 16th.