The first round of the English Open concludes on what is another busy day of action in Crawley on Tuesday and by the end of the day we will be down to 64 players remaining in the opening Home Nations event of the year.
Monday saw a raft of big names in action and they all won relatively comfortably. The standout players on the card on Tuesday will be looking to do likewise as they get their campaigns underway across the three sessions of action.
Jack Lisowski gets the chance to thrill the home crowds on one of the TV tables in the morning session of action. He might not have it all his own way though with Fergal O’Brien a more than handy opponent. Stephen Maguire will be competing on the other live table when he goes up against the amateur James Cahill.
There is a full round of matches in this session so the outside tables will be full. Mei Xi Wen takes on James Wattana on one of them while Luke Simmonds faces Zhang Jiankang on one of the others. John Astley goes up against Lukas Kleckers while Soheil Vahedi meets Thepchaiya Un-Nooh for a place in the second round. Thor Chuan Leong plays Hamza Akbar and the other match sees Zhang Anda facing Matt Selt.
The opening set of matches in the afternoon is headed by John Higgins. He will be on one of the TV tables when he faces the Chinese player Li Yuan while the other table will be occupied by a pair of tournament winners in the not too distant past when the current Masters champion Mark Allen faces the former German Masters winner Anthony Hamilton.
The outside tables are loaded again first up with Jimmy White meeting Lu Haotian in an appealing match. Sam Baird faces Liam Highfield away from the spotlight while there is an all-Welsh clash as Lee Walker takes on Jak Jones. Rod Lawler will look to get the better of Sam Craigie and Lu Ning will look to pick up another win over Robert Milkins. Elliot Slessor goes up against Sean O’Sullivan in the other match.
The second set of afternoon games will be headlined by Stuart Bingham. He goes up against Duane Jones on one of the main tables while Kyren Wilson takes on Akani Songsermsawad on the other. Ricky Walden is on the outside tables when he meets Hammad Miah while Alexander Ursenbacher goes up against Kishan Hirani. The other two matches in the session are scheduled for the main tables if there is time. Luca Brecel will be on the TV tables when he meets Niu Zhuang while Gerard Greene and David Gilbert collide on the stream.
The ever popular Judd Trump will be first up on the TV table on Tuesday evening. He goes up against the former Shootout winner Robin Hull in a good looking match. European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson will be on the streamed table when he takes on Michael Holt. The outside tables will be full in this session too. Farakh Ajaib takes on Yuan Sijun on one of them while Harvey Chandler meets Noppon Saengkham on another. Xiao Guodong plays Steven Hallworth further down the hall and Andrew Higginson plays Jordan Brown. Paul Davison meets Zhou Yuelong and Xu Si faces Chris Totten in the other matches.
Two matches are held back for second games on the main tables. Barry Hawkins will open his campaign up on the TV table when he takes on Peter Lines while Mark King will go up against Ashley Carty on the table available on the various streams.
I’ll go with three bets across the card on Tuesday. I mentioned last week how Sean O’Sullivan was struggling this season and he duly lost 6-0 to Matt Selt in no time at all and I’ve got to think Elliot Slessor can put him to the sword here too. Slessor has good form in these Home Nations events and the format seems to suit him. I’m not sure any format suits O’Sullivan at the minute such is his struggles. We’ve seen Slessor lay it down to much bigger names in these things over the last couple of years. He can earn a shot at another with a comfortable win here.
I must admit I didn’t get to watch as many International Championship qualifiers as I wanted to last week but one that I did see was Judd Trump’s match against Lu Ning. The Chinese player lost 6-4 in that match but he wasn’t overawed at all and made a couple of flashy tons. He just happened to run into Trump on the wrong day. He has also pushed Jack Lisowski close this season too. Earlier in the season he thrashed Robert Milkins 4-0 and I think he is great value to repeat that win on Tuesday. Milkins hasn’t got much going at all this season. To his credit he has beaten players he should beat in the main but I think Ning is being underestimated here. If he can produce the level he did against Trump he can take out the Milkman.
Another player I highlighted was struggling last week was Paul Davison and he also lost 6-0 albeit to Mark Allen. That is now one frame in four matches for Davison so to say he will be having a crisis of confidence is an understatement. He now faces the confident Chinese player Zhou Yuelong who is going about his business nicely and is ready for a breakout week in my eyes. That may or may not be here but I think he’ll begin his campaign with a cosy win.
Back E.Slessor (-2.5 frames) to beat S.O’Sullivan for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfair
Back him here:
Back L.Ning to beat J.White for a 3/10 stake at 3.50 with Coral
Back Z.Yuelong (-2.5 frames) to beat P.Davison for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with BetVictor