The third day of action in the World Open qualifying competition sees the latest set of players looking to book their flight back to China at the end of the month, when they take to the green baize to attempt to win the one match which guarantees their ticket into the main draw.
We saw our first big shock on Thursday when Gary Wilson was beaten but in the main the bigger names and the higher ranked players made it safely through the draw and into the main event out in Yushan.
The European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson will occupy one of the main tables on Friday morning. He will look to book his place in the main draw when he takes on Duane Jones while on the other streamed table the former world champion Graeme Dott goes up against Hammad Miah. Two youngsters meet on one of the outside tables as Ross Bulman faces Jackson Page while Mark Davis meets Sam Baird in potentially the pick of the morning matches. Mike Dunn takes on Craig Steadman in the other match on show in the session.
The big Scottish pair of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire come to the party in the second session of the three on the day as they look to book their spot in the final stages of another event. Higgins will have to beat Chen Zifan to make the main draw while Maguire faces the trickier test of Oliver Lines for his passage through to the next stage. Three Chinese players will look to make a home tournament on the outside tables as Zhao Xintong takes on Andy Hicks, Li Hang meets Soheil Vahedi and Zhang Anda faces up to Mark King.
Two more pretty big names take to the tables in the evening session with Neil Robertson the biggest of them both. He has a clash with Ian Burns to navigate if he is going to be out in Yushan while the other main table will be occupied by Ryan Day. He takes on Elliot Slessor for a place in the main draw. Two matches take place on the outside tables. They see Anthony McGill going up against Riley Parsons and the China Championship semi-finalist Hossein Vafaei takes on Mitchell Mann.
There isn’t a huge amount that stands out to me on Friday if I’m honest. It has been a decent week so far though off the back of a nice outright winner last week so I’m going to allow myself one bet at a decent price which I don’t think is a forlorn hope my any stretch of the imagination. It comes in the evening session where Ryan Day takes on Elliot Slessor.
Ryan Day isn’t having a particularly convincing season and I wonder if he will be there for the taking for Slessor. I get the impression we are going to see something from Slessor over the next few weeks. He was recently quite vocal about the lack of opportunities for players around his ranking so with that in mind he will be looking to take advantage of competitive action over the next few weeks. Day hasn’t won a match that hasn’t involved a deciding frame in the 15 red game this season and Slessor has been competitive enough to suggest he’s overpriced for this one.
WON – Back E.Slessor to beat R.Day for a 3/10 stake at 3.25 with Betfair
Back him here: