International Championship Snooker 2023 – Day 1 Tips and Betting Preview

The opening day of the International Championship is a bumper one on Sunday as three full sessions of play take place out in China as the biggest ranking event of the season so far gets up and running in style.

With qualifying matches held over and the early stages of the tournament having to be completed a day earlier than the European events we have big names taking to the baize right from the off on a sizzling looking Sunday.

Morning Session

All eight tables are in use in the morning session on Sunday and on the main table will be the held over qualifying match between Anthony Hamilton and the female wildcard Bai Yulu while over on table two the first round of the main draw will take place when Jack Lisowski looks to move into the second round at the expense of Scott Donaldson. Two Chinese wildcards will meet on table three when Gong Chenzhi faces Wang Xinzhong for a place in the second qualifying round while Mark Allen will look to go through to the second round of the main draw when he takes on Oliver Lines. Four other matches take place in this session. They see Barry Hawkins taking on Tian Pengfei, Dave Gilbert meeting Jordan Brown and Stephen Maguire facing Joe O’Connor. There is also the held over qualifying match between Ben Woollaston and Wang Xinbo.

Afternoon Session

Three more held over qualifying matches take place in the second session of the day where the home star Ding Junhui will look to make it into the main draw when he takes on Ian Burns. The world champion Luca Brecel will look to follow him into the event proper when he faces the amateur Daniel Womersley who was a late call up to the competition. Zhou Yuelong is the other player looking to make it through when he meets Martin O’Donnell. Five main draw matches also take place in this session with Kyren Wilson on show when he goes up against Elliot Slessor while we have a Welsh derby when Ryan Day meets Jackson Page. The other matches see Marco Fu meeting Sanderson Lam, Matthew Stevens facing Stuart Bingham and Chris Wakelin taking on Lyu Haotian.

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Evening Session

Arguably the two biggest stars of the game grace the main tables in the evening session on Sunday when Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump are on show. O’Sullivan battles the veteran Ken Doherty for a place in the main draw while Judd Trump meets the winner of the morning match between Gong Chenzhi and Wang Xinzhong in what will be a tough ask for whichever one it is. That leaves six matches from the main draw with John Higgins and Ali Carter the higher ranked players competing. The former faces David Grace while the latter has a crack at John Astley. There is a good looking match between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Matt Selt while Jamie Jones goes up against Ricky Walden, Tom Ford meets Cao Yupeng and Hossein Vafaei takes on Ross Muir.


I like a couple of bets over the course of the day on Sunday. In the afternoon session I expect Zhou Yuelong to be too good for Martin O’Donnell in these conditions. O’Donnell had a good run at the English Open but he is a level or two below Yuelong. Zhou has had a quiet start to the season by his standards but he did reach the quarter final of the English Open and last week in the Scottish Open qualifying he thrashed Anthony Hamilton 4-0 and made a couple of centuries in the process so there are signs that he is getting into a nice groove and back on home soil I expect him to be inspired here. O’Donnell has been up and down since the English Open and I think he gets sent packing here.

Moving into the later session and I think that Matt Selt can see off Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. There is something about playing the Thai that agrees with Selt because they have met on nine previous occasions and Selt has won eight of them, the latest of which was in the Wuhan Open a few weeks ago. Selt has generally looked in good touch this term. Since the European Masters, Selt has only lost four matches and they have all been to Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski, with the former the player of the season so far and the latter having an insane run of the ball against him at the Northern Ireland Open recently. I think Selt is playing well and while Un-Nooh can be dangerous on his day, Selt clearly relishes that challenge. Un-Nooh walloped Mark Allen 5-0 at the European Masters when he didn’t miss a ball but that is the only player he has beaten inside the top 80 in the world since the Championship League. I think Selt should be shorter than he is and will take him here.


Back Z.Yuelong (-1.5 frames) to beat M.O’Donnell for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with William Hill

Back M.Selt to beat T.Un-Nooh for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill

Back them here: