March 26, 2017

China Open Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:11 pm

Hoping to trick The Snooker Gods

Just one more event to go before the big one gets underway and it’s off to Beijing this week as the last 64 plus the pointless wildcards decide who is going to carry ‘The Curse of the China Open’ with them back to Sheffield.

Let’s start off by stating that as well as the wildcards who shouldn’t be there that there are far too many players in this from the beginning. I’m not a fan of these sardine-like events that seek to cram in as many players as physically possible into an over-crowded venue, I’d much prefer a maximum of 32 players making the trip.

Of course a lot of these players will leave for back home before they have had time to unpack to start their preparation for the World Championship qualifiers next week no doubt wondering why they bothered with this in the first place, which is a shame as it’s usually a decent event and is well-established on the calendar, but it was much better when it started with less players.

Most of the big names are here though Neil Robertson decided not to bother entering and is instead working on his preparation for The Crucible, which of course is up to him. Somewhat eyebrow-raising is the fact the Ronnie O’Sullivan has chosen to continue with his tournament preparation by entering and qualifying, so let’s see if he is looking any sharper than he has been lately.

It’s pretty nip and tuck in the race for favouritism for the World Championship. O’Sullivan has been favourite all year but even the bookies are now beginning to doubt that he has that sixth title in him with some firms now favouring Mark Selby and others not being able to decide between those two and the in-form Judd Trump who defends the title he won 12 months ago here, meaning that there is a very real possibility that once the opening ball is struck at The Crucible, we’ll have co-favourites.

I know I should be talking about this event but I can’t help but see this as mere preparation for the main event of the year, the fact we won’t see more than half the players puts me off it a bit so it’s minimal stakes as the order of the day. I think we might see a big priced winner this week and quite like the look of Liang Wenbo, who would be a hugely popular champion if he could do it, so he’d probably be my main pick at 50/1 to rule himself out of being World Champion.

The Snooker Gods have chosen not to induce The Crucible Curse this year as Selby defends for the second time so you can be damn sure as eggs is eggs that they will decree that once more, whoever wins here won’t be lifting the trophy in early May, those pesky snooker gods.

Recommended Outright Bets: Liang Wenbo 50/1, Ali Carter 50/1, Ding Junhui 12/1. Each Way: Dave Gilbert 100/1 and Xiao Guodong 175/1. For Match Bets on a daily basis see Twitter. 

Quarter 1

Judd Trump/Jason Weston v Ashley Hugill

Ross Muir v Eden Sharav

Anthony McGill v Tian Pengfei 

Martin Gould v Fan Zhengyi

Mike Dunn v Andy Hicks

Liang Wenbo/Itaro Santos v Rory McLeod 

Ben Woollaston v Kurt Maflin

Joe Perry v Hossein Vafei Ayouri 


Quarter 2

Shaun Murphy v Allan Taylor 

Graeme Dott v Gary Wilson

Michael White v Yu De Lu

Ali Carter v Stuart Carrington 

Michael Holt v Jimmy White/Li Yuan

Mark Williams v Zhang Anda

Dark Mavis v Rhys Clark 

John Higgins v Ian Burns


Quarter 3

Stuart Bingham v Scott Donaldson

Robert Milkins v Noppon Saengkham 

Mark King v Sanderson Lam

Kyren Wilson v Xiao Guodong

Mark Joyce v Fraser Patrick 

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Gareth Allen 

Matt Selt v Ghou Yolonge

Ding Junhui/Sean O’Sullivan v Paul Davison


Quarter 4

Daniel Wells v Jamie Cope

Alan McManus v Matthew Stevens

Stephen Maguire v Fergal O’Brien 

Li Hang/Luo Honghao v Aditya Mehta

Ricky Walden v Alex Borg/Niu Zhuang

David Gilbert v Andrew Higginson 

Jimmy Robertson v Martin O’Donnell 

Mark Selby/Adam Stefanow v Alfie Burden 



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