The final day of the qualifying competition for the British Open takes place on Saturday when the 16 players who are yet to battle it out for a place in the main draw do so inside the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
We have seen plenty of household names over the course of the week so far but there are a number of them that have been saved for last so we should get a decent day of action to conclude what has been a good week of snooker.
One of the more high profile matches takes place in the morning session when the multiple time women’s world champion Reanne Evans looks to follow up qualifying for the European Masters next week when she takes on the classy Thai player Thepchaiya Un-Nooh for a spot in the main draw. The other match in the morning session looks a pretty decent one too when the former European Masters champion Fan Zhengyi meets the veteran Mark Davis.
Early Afternoon Session
There is another fairly high profile match on offer in the first of the two afternoon sessions on Saturday as Marco Fu continues his bid to get back to the positions he once was in the game when he takes on the Chinese player Xiao Guodong. Over on the other table Jamie Jones will be looking to make progress into the main draw. He looks to have a much more comfortable task when he takes on the Egyptian player Mostafa Dorgham, who makes his professional debut in this match.
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Later Afternoon Session
Stuart Bingham has slid down the world rankings over the last season or so and he’ll look to begin the climb back into the top 16 in the second of the afternoon sessions on Saturday. Bingham will go up against John Astley, who started the season well at the Championship League and could be a danger. Matt Selt will be the higher ranked player looking to make progress over on the other table. He goes up against Liam Highfield who gets his season underway in this match after injury forced him to miss the first two events of the campaign.
We might save the best for last in terms of profile this week because Jimmy White will look to continue what has been a very good 2023 so far on the main table. He meets Stephen Maguire in what is a bit of a brutal draw for the Whirlwind if the Scot is anything close to his best. This will be the first match of the season for Maguire though and he might have some rust to shed. The other match sees the Shootout finalist Julien Leclerq taking on Dean Young in what is a great chance for both men to reach the main stages of the event.
I’ll go with one to finish the week off with and it comes in the morning session match between Fan Zhengyi and Mark Davis where I think the Chinese player is the one to be on. These two have had similar starts to the season with the exception that Davis has made it into the European Masters next week whereas Fan went down in the deciding frame of his qualifier to Lyu Haotian. I don’t think there is too much of a disgrace in that though.
I’ve said all week whenever I have done previews that I want to be on the scorers rather than the fading forces and that is very much the Chinese player here. Fan made 13 centuries last season but five of those came in World Championship qualifying so he ended the campaign in good scoring form and he has started in the same fashion this season having made three centuries in the 11 frames he has won this term. Davis has only made one break over 60 all season and if that doesn’t change here then I expect the Chinese player to have this all his own way.
Back F.Zhengyi to beat M.Davis for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Betway