The first round of the Scottish Open concludes on Wednesday and the second round gets underway inside the Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh as the last ranking event of 2023 continues to move towards the business end.
We have already seen a number of shocks in this tournament and there is a feeling that the draw could open up for someone. It will be interesting to see if that remains the case on Wednesday or the bigger names start to show their class.
We have just the three matches in the morning session and the pick of them is very much the one which sees two former winners of the Shootout going at each other when Thepchaiya Un-Nooh goes up against a Chris Wakelin, who is looking to launch a bid for a second Home Nations final in a row. The other two matches don’t appear to be too shabby either as the finalist of a year ago, Joe O’Connor, takes on a home player in Scott Donaldson. Si Jiahui is also on show in this session. Julien Leclercq is his opponent.
The defending champion Gary Wilson will be on show on the main table in the first part of the afternoon when he goes up against the Chinese player Xing Zihao while Dave Gilbert is another classy player taking to the baize first up in this session. He goes up against Robbie Williams but it could be the match between Yuan Sijun and Sam Craigie which is the pick of the games first up in the afternoon. Jamie Jones faces his Welsh compatriot Dominic Dale in the other early afternoon game.
Kyren Wilson will be the main man in the second part of the afternoon as he goes up against the former Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown. Stuart Bingham will also be looking to revive his best form when he goes up against Manasawin Phetmalaikul on one of the outside tables. Daniel Wells is also in action in this part of the afternoon when he faces Rory Thor and Mark Davis will look to reach the last 32 when he takes on a fellow player who needs the ranking points in the form of Andrew Higginson.
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The second round of the tournament gets underway in the evening session and it will be the world champion Luca Brecel who gets most of the attention over the course of the first part of proceedings. He meets Martin O’Donnell for a spot in the last 16. This is a good session though because Mark Selby is also on show and he meets Matthew Selt. Ali Carter has had to come through a couple of deciding frames already this week and he’ll be hoping to have a slightly easier time of it against Noppon Saengkham while the home man Anthony McGill goes up against Pang Junxu.
The home star John Higgins will be the centre of attention in the second part of the evening session. He faces a familiar adversary in Ricky Walden. There is a cracker of a match on table two as well as for a second proper ranking event in succession Tom Ford takes on the man who denied him a spot in The Masters in Ding Junhui. Two lower ranked players will also face off against each other when Liam Graham faces Sanderson Lam while two Chinese players will also go at it when Liu Hongyu faces off against Lyu Haotian.
I like a couple of bets over the course of the day and they both come in the afternoon session where we begin with Sam Craigie to see off Yuan Sijun. Sijun has been competitive in the Home Nations events this season without going further than a quarter final but he hasn’t been on the tables this week whereas Craigie has and I think that could be an advantage. Not only has Craigie played a match here but he played a very good one. He was 3-0 down to Mark Williams in the held over qualifying round before runs of 95, 64, 85 and 126 got him over the line and if he plays like that he is in with every chance here. Craigie hasn’t really done much this season but he has opened the door for a big week with his win over Williams and with the likes of Judd Trump, Robert Milkins, Jack Lisowski, Hossein Vafaei and Ryan Day all out of his half of the draw he should be looking to take full advantage of it. Sijun hasn’t pulled up many trees outside of the Home Nations events so the odds against on Craigie looks a fair bet to me too.
The other bet I like over the course of the day is for Jordan Brown to beat Kyren Wilson. These two met recently at the International Championship where Brown won and that might not be too much of a surprise because Wilson has been in wretched form this season, highlighted by when he led Jamie Clarke 5-1 in the first round of the UK Championship only to lose 6-5. Wilson lost in the qualifying round of the English Open and Northern Ireland Open and only overcame Mostafa Dorgham 4-2 to make the main draw here. In the last six weeks or so Brown has beaten Neil Robertson at the Northern Ireland Open and then David Gilbert, Wilson, John Higgins and Stephen Maguire at the International Championship. He is clearly in much better touch than Wilson and I think he’s a massive price to come through here.
Back S.Craigie to beat Y.Sijun for a 3/10 stake at 2.25 with Betfred
Back J.Brown to beat K.Wilson for a 3/10 stake at 2.88 with Spreadex