We are two qualifying tournaments down and one left to go in this lengthy run of events to determine who will go to the next few ranking tournaments. The qualifiers for the Indian Open and the European Masters have been sorted and now it is time for the China Championship to begin on Sunday.
We are up to the best of nine frames for this competition which means we are down to three sessions of play across the day in Preston. It might be the first day of four qualifying days for the Chinese event but that doesn’t mean we are devoid of some real big names.
We lead off with Neil Robertson in the morning session of play on Sunday and he’ll be on one of the main tables. He goes up against Ross Muir while on the other streamed tables Marco Fu will face Sam Baird. There are three matches away from the cameras in the morning with Martin O’Donnell taking on Elliot Slessor, Tom Ford facing Paul Davison and Michael Holt going up against Nigel Bond.
Shaun Murphy is the headline act in the afternoon session. He failed to make it to the European Masters so he will be eager to see off Jordan Brown. That is on one of the main tables with Ryan Day meeting Jak Jones on the other one. Shootout champion Michael Georgiou goes up against John Astley on one of the outside tables with Jack Lisowski facing Ian Burns. Akani Songsermsawad meets Robin Hull in the other match.
It is all about The Masters champion Mark Allen in the evening session. The Northern Irishman takes on Sean O’Sullivan while Joe Perry plays Ashley Hugill. They will be on the live tables while on the outside ones there is an all-Chinese battle between Lu Haotian and Li Yuan, Mark Davis meets Hamza Akbar and Kurt Maflin goes up against Sanderson Lam.
I’ll take two bets over the course of Sunday and they both come in the afternoon session. Akani Songsermsawad has played in both qualifying events so far this week and he is yet to win a frame let alone a match. He has to be taken on with Robin Hull. Hull lost to Anthony Hamilton in European Masters qualifying but he did little wrong other than find the Sheriff on the wrong day. He is through to the Indian Open main draw though so he is playing some decent enough stuff and can profit from the poor form and low confidence of the Thai.
Jack Lisowski has been one of the best players of the campaign so far and I expect him to have far too much for Ian Burns. He already has a 4-2 win over Burns in the early rounds of the Riga Masters this season and I’m expecting an even more comfortable win here. Burns is competent but he isn’t going to reel off big breaks to win a batch of frames like Lisowski can. Lisowski is becoming more patient and giving himself more chances as a result at present and the way he is playing I expect him to win no worse than 5-2.
Back R.Hull to beat A.Songsermsawad for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Coral
Back J.Lisowski (-2.5 frames) to beat I.Burns for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Boylesports
Back him here: